food intolerance testing

Food Intolerance Testing

Did you know that Health Food and More offer food intolerance testing by appointment? It’s our Food Detective test.

Food intolerance testing is a way to identify what foods might be blighting your life. Right now, they’re on hold because of Covid restrictions, but we continue to receive lots of enquiries.

So, you might be wondering how this service could help you. First, let me explain the difference between food intolerance and food allergy.

Food intolerance arises when the body is unable to handle certain food groups, and this can happen for a variety of reasons. Reactions tend to be slower and less aggressive than true allergies but still debilitating. Typically, symptoms centre around the gut and other mucus membranes and are not life-threatening.

A true food allergy brings with it a potent immune response, which causes a faster and more serious reaction to foods. Allergies are more serious and more immediate than intolerance. They can be life-threatening if severe.

Intolerance symptoms

In general, people who have a food intolerance tend to experience the following symptoms:

Tummy pain, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation, nasal congestion, migraine, fatigue, skin irritations and/or rashes.

These symptoms normally come on hours after eating, but in some cases, can be random and take much longer to appear. And it is not always obvious what the culprit may be.

Often a client will come to our clinic thinking that they may have an intolerance to wheat. But food detective testing might highlight that they are intolerant to something else.

They might say they always feel bad after eating their lunchtime sandwich, but we find that wheat isn’t the culprit after all! It might be yeast or dairy rather than the bread itself that is causing problems.

It’s easy to forget about the contents of the sandwich, the butter or cheese. In fact, we forget all too often about the ingredients in the foods we eat.

Intolerance can strike at any time. It’s often brought on by a change of lifestyle, stress or illness, and age is no barrier. Sometimes, there appears to be no reason at all. In any case, we can regain our health with good management, through dietary changes and some remedial digestive work.

How we do the test

For our Food Detective test, we take a sample of blood through a simple finger prick. This blood is then run through screening solutions and onto a dimple tray with 59 different foods.

We screen for several IgG antibodies, looking at both immediate and delayed response to foods. These antibodies are different from those associated with allergies and indicate that the immune system has responded to different food proteins.

When we look at these results within the context of your past and present symptoms, as well as your diet, we can advise you on the best way forward.

There is no upper age limit on food detective testing, but we don’t recommend it for children under two years old. Their developing immune systems are too reactive to test accurately. We suggest working with a nutritional therapist instead to address any food-related issues.

Immuno-suppressive therapies such as steroids or chemotherapy may also affect results. We would advise checking whether you are on any potent medicines that affect your immune system before you book.


Over the years, we have received so much positive feedback from our clients. For many, it’s been a life-changer. Clients who have struggled with debilitating symptoms for a long time have reported an almost immediate reduction or total elimination of their issues and are now enjoying life to the full.

Here are just a few of some of the more common comments we receive…

“I no longer need to worry about running to the toilet when I am out with my friends.”

“For the first time in ages, my skin is clear and free from itching.”

“My clothes fit me again, no more bloating and I feel full of energy.”

For now, we have opened a waiting list for clients keen to have food intolerance testing done once lockdown restrictions lift. As soon as we get the go-ahead we’ll be in touch to arrange an appointment.

In the meantime, if you think you may have food-related issues we can still offer you advice and make dietary recommendations that may help you.

Find out more here and please get in touch with us at Health Food and More on 01592 566446 for more help.

Liz Harris, Testing Technician


Vitamin capsules

Freedom to Choose

The Government have been very good at putting out the message about social distancing, hand washing and mask-wearing are to try to minimise the spread of Covid 19. What we haven’t heard from them or from the mainstream media are the steps we can take to look after our immune systems so that we can improve our own resilience and minimise the impact of the virus on our health.

It seems that anything written about natural remedies and Covid19 is being heavily censored and unless it has been proven by science and approved by the powers that be then it’s simply not up for discussion. I’ve had several wrist-slaps from FaceBook about posts that I have shared as they are not part of the scientific or governmental rhetoric – even though they contained sensible and appropriate advice about how to support immune health.

Government U-turn

It’s only now, in the autumn, that we are beginning to have positive messages from the Government about using vitamin D to improve outcomes with Covid 19. Yet information has been circulating for months about it minimising the severity of symptoms.

We already know that taking vitamin D increases our resilience to viral infections, so why should it be any different with Covid19?

Do we always need scientists or the Government to approve the obvious? And should we believe everything they tell us anyway?

The UK government recently did a U-turn after it came to light that they hadn’t actually carried out the study they quoted about vitamin D not being of benefit. Really?

Taking responsibility

If we are to learn anything from this pandemic it should be that we not only need to take collective responsibility as a society for our health through public health measures, but we also need to take individual responsibility for our health, too. Period!

I passionately believe that herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and a healthy diet have an important, if not an essential role to play, in supporting robust immune health in these challenging times.

Why wouldn’t you want to take some extra vitamin C, or some extra zinc or some echinacea or olive leaf or elderberry to improve your chances with Covid19?

What’s wrong with taking omega 3 or supplementing with black seed oil or turmeric or boswellia to reduce inflammatory cascade in the body?

Immune system support

I’m not for a minute saying that any of the above treats Covid19 or improve outcomes. But for me, personally, it strengthens the faith I have in my immune system and makes me feel better if I eat well, sleep well and supplement my diet.  It’s simple.  If I feel healthier, I am healthier.

Most of us are quite capable of discerning the difference between snake oil and bona fide remedies. But if you are in any doubt, there are amazing independent health food stores up and down the country with experienced staff. They can safely advise you about over the counter remedies. And for more complex and serious health concerns there is literally a health army of medical herbalists, nutritionists, naturopaths and other therapists working in complementary medicine who have undergone rigorous training in their specialty.

I’ve no doubt that ultimately science will provide us with the answers to this pandemic and, of course, the Government has to take robust public health measures.

In the meantime, keep taking vitamin D and any other supplements or remedies that you feel improve your immune health.  Whether mainstream media agrees or not, what matters ultimately is what feels right to you and me.

Keren Brynes MacLean is a Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and has been in practice since 1996.