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At-home food sensitivity tests are an option for people who suspect they are experiencing symptoms due to consuming certain foods. However, such tests cannot provide a reliable clinical diagnosis.
A quick look at the best at-home food sensitivity tests
- Best for free doctor consultations: MyLAB Box
- Best breath test: FoodMarble
- Best for easy-to-read results: Vitagene
- Best for meal planning assistance: DNAfit
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), approximately 32 million people have food allergies in the U.S.
At-home food sensitivity tests can help a person gain insight into which foods may be causing uncomfortable digestive symptoms or allergic reactions.
However, an at-home food sensitivity test does not replace clinical diagnosis or treatment. There is no scientific evidence that suggests these tests have clinical value.
This article discusses food sensitivities, when to take a test, how these work, and four of the best at-home tests available online.
Three commonly used terms describing reactions to food are:
Food allergy usually leads to the most severe reaction to a specific food, caused by the body’s immune system reacting to a substance. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology lists the most common trigger foods as:
Sensitivity and intolerance refer to the body’s inability to process or digest certain foods. This can cause a mild immune reaction and potentially lead to a wide range of symptoms, including:
Food sensitivities may change over time as a person’s immune system and gut microbiome change.
What are common food sensitivities?
Some commonly reported food sensitivities include:
- Gluten: Gluten is present in many grains and foods such as pasta, bread, baked goods, and condiments.
- Lactose: This is present in milk and dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt, and butter.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate.
- Salicylates: These are present in a range of foods, including some fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, spices, honey, and nuts.
- Histamine: Histamine is the most common trigger, which occurs in fermented foods, cured meats, dried fruit, citrus fruit, and avocado.
- FODMAP foods: FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. It refers to food containing a certain carbohydrate group. It includes milk, soft cheeses, bread, beans, lentils, honey, apples, and beer.
Studies have not proven the reliability of at-home food sensitivity tests. Some research suggests that they do not receive endorsement until scientific studies support their use.
People may take an at-home test as a precursor to visiting a healthcare professional for reliable confirmation of food sensitivities. However, they may save time and money by going directly to a professional for diagnosis.
When to contact a doctor
A person should consult a doctor if they regularly experience:
- stomach pain
- skin rashes
A doctor might be able to diagnose the problem from a person’s symptoms and medical history. If not, they can order further tests to investigate the cause.
An at-home test is not a replacement for a clinical diagnosis and doctor-recommended treatments.
A person should see a doctor if they suspect they have a food allergy or are experiencing severe and ongoing symptoms, as medical attention is necessary.
Avoiding certain foods because a person mistakenly believes they have food sensitivities or allergies can cause harm to their overall health. A clinical diagnosis is the most useful for making safe dietary choices.
At-home food sensitivity testing kits require a person to submit a sample, which could be:
- blood from a skin prick test
- strands of hair
- a mouth swab
- a breath test
Blood, hair, and swab tests can take a few weeks for results.
A few things a person should consider to help choose a food sensitivity test are:
- Results: Some products generate results instantly. Some companies may take a few weeks to send the results to a person.
- What they test for: Some tests test for more food sensitivities than others. A person may wish to choose a comprehensive test that identifies more intolerances.
- Reviews: Users should always check that the brand they purchase from is legitimate and has positive reviews on external websites. Trustworthy review websites include Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau.
- Sample collection: Some people may not feel comfortable performing a finger prick blood test. There are alternative tests that require a saliva or breath sample.
How we update our articles
Medical News Today regularly updates articles to ensure all the information is up-to-date. While all of the products in our articles have already received vetting, part of the updates process involves the MNT medical team looking at whether brands and products are still suitable for people’s needs.
The MNT medical team
MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria:
- Laboratories: Where possible, MNT will choose companies that process test samples in
CLIA-certifiedlabs. This means they follow state and federal regulations.
- Budget: MNT chooses at-home tests that suit a wide range of budgets.
- Privacy: MNT includes companies that offer robust and transparent privacy measures, such as data protection and discreet packaging.
- Test result speed: MNT selects companies that inform customers when they will receive their test results and whether they will receive them via email, app, or phone.
- Further support: MNT will indicate whether a company offers further support, such as a follow-up phone consultation with a doctor to discuss test results.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Below are some of the best at-home food sensitivity tests a person can find online.
Best for free doctor consultations: MyLAB Box
- What it tests for: This product tests for 96 foods items
- Collection method: The test uses a finger-prick blood sample.
- Results time: Results are available 2-5 days from receiving the sample
- Price: The product costs $149.
This test looks at the body’s immune response to 96 foods. Additionally, the company offers free consultations with a doctor.
Some examples of the food sensitivities it tests for include:
- Dairy: yogurt, cow’s milk, cheddar, cottage, and mozzarella cheese
- Eggs: white and yolk
- Vegetables: 20 different varieties, including corn, celery, and mushroom
MyLAB Box accepts a flexible spending account (FSA) and a health savings account (HSA) as payment. Additionally, the company offers free shipping.
Best breath test: FoodMarble
- What it tests for: This product tests for levels of hydrogen in the breath.
- Collection method: The test uses a breath tracker device.
- Results time: Results are available immediately on the company’s app.
- Price: This product starts from $179.
FoodMarble tests for levels of hydrogen in the breath through a breath tracker device. This indicates how much undigested food is in the gut.
Some examples of the food sensitivities this tests for include:
- Inulin: Foods containing this include garlic, onion, and artichoke
- Lactose: Found in dairy products
The device connects with the FoodMarble app. To use the test, a person must log their food in the app and breathe into the breath tracker. The results are available immediately.
Best for easy-to-read results: Vitagene
- What it tests for: This product tests for 96 food items.
- Collection method: The test requires a finger-prick blood sample.
- Results time: Test results are available 4–6 weeks from receiving the sample.
- Price: The product costs $149.
This test screens for sensitivities to 96 food items. Each test undergoes review by an independent board certified doctor, and the results are available online through a secure portal in an easy-to-read format.
A few food sensitivities that the Vitagene test searches for include:
- Dairy: Including cow and goat milk, cheddar cheese, casein, and whey
- Grains: Including buckwheat, barley, and corn
- Nuts: Including chestnut, almond, and peanut
Vitagene offers free shipping and accepts FSA and HSA payments.
Best for meal planning assistance: DNAfit
- What it tests for: This product tests for food sensitivities and lactose intolerance and includes reports for vitamins and minerals.
- Collection method: The test requires a saliva swab.
- Results time: Results are available 10–15 business days after receiving the sample.
- Price: This product costs $189.
The test offers 11 diet insights and 13 nutrition insights.
This tests for sensitivities to various food groups, including:
The company also claims that it screens a person’s DNA to offer each person a unique meal plan that may help reduce symptoms such as bloating and diarrhea.
The following table compares some of the best food sensitivity tests.
|What it tests for||96 food items||hydrogen levels in the breath||96 food items||food sensitivities and lactose intolerance|
|Results time||2-5 days||immediately||within 4–6 weeks||within 10–15 business days|
|Collection sample||finger-prick blood sample||food logging in the app and breathing into the breath tracker||finger-prick blood sample||saliva swab|
|Price||$149||starts from $179||$149||$189|
People may wish to consider the following when choosing an at-home test:
- Collection method: Many at-home tests require finger-prick blood samples, which may not suit those who find it uncomfortable to take blood samples at home. These people may prefer to use a test that asks for a saliva or breath sample.
- Results time: Most companies take up to several weeks to provide test results. A person may wish to choose a test with a shorter turnaround time if they require the results sooner.
- What the test screens for: It is important to note that food sensitivity tests cannot diagnose a food allergy. However, people who receive a positive test result for a food sensitivity may wish to follow up with a doctor for more testing.
Below are answers to some of the top frequently asked questions about at-home food sensitivity tests.
Does insurance cover at-home food sensitivity tests?
Most insurance companies do not offer financial help for at-home food sensitivity tests.
However, some insurance providers may cover the cost of a food test at a doctor’s office. If a person has insurance, they should contact their insurance provider to check which tests they cover.
Can an at-home food sensitivity test diagnose a food allergy?
Currently, no at-home food sensitivity tests can diagnose food allergies.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology states that at-home food allergy tests may not provide accurate results. A person should follow up on any positive test results with a doctor.
Is a food sensitivity the same as a food allergy?
Food sensitivities or intolerances are different from food allergies.
Food sensitivities are not life threatening. Moreover, the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom explains that sensitivity to specific foods causes bloating, nausea, wind, and abdominal pain after a person eats the food.
By contrast, food allergy occurs when the immune system treats certain food as an infection. This causes allergy symptoms, such as wheezing, itching, and skin rashes, and it can be life threatening. If someone experiences a food allergy, they should seek immediate medical advice.
Can you reverse food sensitivities?
Food sensitivities are reversible. People can eliminate the food they are sensitive to and reintroduce it to their diet once the body has had time to heal.
Food allergies result from the body producing antibodies, whereas food sensitivities result in inflammation. This inflammation is reversible, but antibody production is not.
At-home food sensitivity tests are not scientifically proven to pinpoint food sensitivities. A person should not change their diet in line with at-home food sensitivity results without seeking medical advice first, as they may be cutting out food groups that keep the diet balanced.
However, some people may prefer to try an at-home test before seeking a professional diagnosis and guidance.