I use Cyrex Labs for food sensitivity testing because their tests are highly accurate, consistent, and based on the latest research and development. What’s more, they test for multiple forms of foods (raw, cooked, processed, and combined foods), versus outdated tests that test only one form of the food.
This is important because food proteins change when cooked or processed. A person might react to a food only when it’s cooked but not raw, or vice versa. Or they may react to a food only when it’s in combination with other foods.
The Cyrex food sensitivity testing helps identify foods that challenge your immune system so you can reduce the load on your immune system by minimizing exposure to those foods.
Make sure your immune system is healthy enough to warrant testing
While it may be tempting to dive into immune testing right away, you can save time and money by first making sure your immune system is healthy enough to produce antibodies in response to an antigen (antigens are any compound that provokes an immune response).
What if my results are almost all negative but I have symptoms? If your immune system is depleted from chronic overwork, it may not create enough antibodies to measure on a lab test. This can produce all or nearly all negative results — even though you clearly react to certain foods. This is frustrating for both patient and practitioner.
You can test for low immune function prior to your Cyrex test by ordering a total immunoglobulin test (IgG, IgA, and IgM). If these are low, shoring up your immune system using functional medicine strategies can help restore immune function. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for this. It’s a comprehensive approach that must consider the stressors unique to your system.
What if my results are all positive? If you test positive for all or most of the factors on Array 10, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to avoid all those foods. Instead, it means you have lost oral tolerance and your immune system has become over reactive.
When patients test positive for immune sensitivity to many foods, I have them remove only the ones they react most to, and begin a protocol to restore oral tolerance. After a time, we test again; if fewer foods come back positive, it’s a sign you are on the right track with treatment. What I look for isn’t a total removal of positive foods on the results, but a but a trend of improvement.*
Oral tolerance often improves in response to functional medicine strategies, which include supporting SIgA levels so you can not only have more accurate test results, but also tolerate more foods.
Like many aspects of true functional medicine, restoring oral tolerance is a comprehensive approach that must consider each person’s unique challenges.
*A note on cross-reactive foods, such as gluten and dairy
It’s often necessary to eliminate certain foods from your diet, particularly gluten and dairy, that cross-react with tissue in the body. These foods trigger an immune reaction to the food, but also a specific tissue in the body. For instance, gluten cross reacts with neurological tissue in some people, thyroid tissue in others, and so on.
For people with a gluten sensitivity for whom gluten also triggers cross-reactivity in the body, it’s important to remove gluten. Other foods, such as dairy, also cause cross reactivity. You can learn more about cross reactivity here or in my brain book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working?
However, you may be developing food sensitivities to foods that are not cross-reactive due to immune imbalances.
It’s important to understand why you are reacting to almost everything you’re eating. The problem often isn’t the food but instead a hyper sensitive immune system.
In order to get to the root of your multiple food sensitivities, you must understand the concept of oral tolerance
What are “normal,” “equivocal,” and “out of range” results?
Many people ask about the difference between the results “normal,” “equivocal,” and “out of range” on Cyrex test results:
- “Normal” is within the accepted reference range.
- “Equivocal” is one standard deviation away from a normal result.
- “Out of range” is two points of deviation from normal.
But what does this mean for you? Although every treatment protocol depends on individual needs and responses, we consider any equivocal result to be clinically positive and worth addressing. “Out of range” also means that food is provoking an immune response.
Elevated antibody levels can be clinically significant — while the antibodies themselves don’t destroy anything, they do trigger an inflammatory response that can cause significant destruction of tissue and resulting symptoms. This response is not necessarily dependent on antibody levels. For instance, low antibody levels can mean symptoms are a slight nuisance in one person and debilitating in another.
However, an equivocal result may mean you are just beginning to exhibit an immune reaction, so this is an important time to take measures to support the body in damping immune reactivity.
Cyrex Labs Multiple Food Immune Reactivity Screens: Array 10, Array 10-90, Array 10-90X, and Array 10 Bundles
Cyrex Labs’ Array 10 tests are part of their Reactivity Triggers Screens that help identify markers that may play a role in autoimmunity. Depending on your goals, your budget, and your symptoms, your practitioner can help you determine which screen is best for you. Cyrex tests must be ordered by a licensed health care practitioner.
Array 10 – Multiple Food Immune Reactivity Screen™ measures reactivity to 180 food antigens. This lab tests for reactions to foods in cooked, raw, and/or modified forms. The early detection of diet-related triggers of autoimmunity can help you customize an anti-inflammatory diet.
Array 10-90 measures reactivity to 90 of the most commonly consumed food antigens from Array 10 that constitute the typical diet in cooked, raw, modified or processed forms.
Array 10-90X – Add-on Panel is available as an add-on test only to Array 10-90. It includes the remaining 90 food antigens from Array 10 that Array 10-90 does not cover.
Array 10 Bundles:
Array 10-90P Bundle – Premier Food Immune Reactivity Panel is a combination of Cyrex Array 3X, Array 4 and Array 10-90.
Array 10C Bundle – Comprehensive Food Immune Reactivity Panel is a combination of Cyrex Array 3X, Array 4 and Array 10. It offers the most comprehensive panel for food immune reactivity, assessing food proteins the way most Americans consume them including raw, cooked and modified.
For more information about how to prepare testing, please see the Cyrex FAQ page and talk to your health care practitioner. For a list of the antigens tested in each panel, see the list of Cyrex Arrays.