Unproven Diagnostic Tests for Adverse Reactions to Foods

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2018 Mar-Apr;6(2):362-365. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2017.08.021.


Patients often seek opinions from allergists regarding unconventional testing for adverse reactions to foods. These tests include flow cytometry to measure the change in white blood cell volumes after incubation with foods, measurement of serum IgG or IgG4 antibodies directed against foods, intradermal provocation-neutralization with food allergens, hair analysis, electrodermal testing, and applied kinesiology. In some cases, although the laboratory methods may be valid, there are no studies showing correlation with disease. In other cases, blinded, controlled studies have shown a lack of reproducibility and a lack of correlation with disease. Most of the tests lack biologic plausibility. By understanding the methodology of these tests and the lack of evidence supporting their utility, allergists can provide knowledgeable, evidence-based information to patients who inquire about them.

Keywords: Controversial; Disproven; Food allergy tests; Unproven.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Galvanic Skin Response
  • Hair / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunologic Tests / methods*
  • Kinesiology, Applied


  • Immunoglobulin G