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ALCAT Testing

{Once upon a time there was a girl with pain in her stomach and a funny rash on the back of her right arm only. She was under a bit of stress, no doubt, with medical school and residency, but the pain and the rash just wouldn't seem to go away. Medications made it better for a little while, but it always came back. She rubbed steroid cream on the rash and swallowed Nexium, Prilosec, Zantac, Tums, Rolaids, a Miracle Pill, and about a bottle of Maalox a week. Finally, our heroine went to see a conventionally trained gastroenterologist and was talked into an "upper endoscopy." After much coaxing, she agreed to sedation and let the doctor have a look in her stomach with a tiny camera. (She was being a very, very brave girl, as any sort of loss of control didn't work well for her.) The doctor said that the monster was called "mild chronic gastritis," and that he didn't know why it had taken up residence in her belly. He told her to keep taking her Nexium and to come visit him again next year.

At this point our heroine became annoyed and frustrated and went out and bought a sword in order to slay the fiery dragon herself. Well, maybe not a sword, but she did go out and buy some books about a vegan diet. For a while she refused to eat anything except for brown rice, legumes, and vegetables she had cooked herself. No spices and no seasonings until the stomach pain slowly resolved. Then she stopped taking her medications one by one, and lo, the symptoms still didn't come back. One at a time she started to add back single whole foods until she identified by trial and error the ones that made her feel sick: onions, garlic, bell peppers, cane sugar, and lettuce. Who would have guessed?}

Five years ago, I did my own version of testing for food intolerances, but I'm now pleased to say that a much simpler test is available. ALCAT testing was created by Cell Science Systems and with one blood draw it can test up to 200 foods, 50 functional foods and medicinal herbs, 10 food additives, 10 food colorings, 10 environmental chemicals, 20 molds, and 20 antibiotics/anti-inflammatory agents. This FDA-registered test is not an allergy test (That is, it won't tell you if you're going to have hives or trouble breathing if you eat peanuts...), rather it tests for sensitivities to common substances. A sensitivity is when your immune system is reacting abnormally by attacking an otherwise benign substance, leading to chonic inflammation. Months and years of ongoing, unchecked low-grade inflammation can lead to skin eruptions, digestive disorders (such as irritable bowel syndrome), chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, migraines, aching joints, obesity, thyroid imbalances, trouble concentrating, and generally just not feeling well.

Once you know your specific triggers, you can avoid them for several months, and then some people are able to carefully reintroduce these foods in a rotation no more often than every 4 days. In fact, a controlled study from Baylor Medical College reported a 98% success rate for weight loss and/or improvement in body composition in patients who followed their recommended ALCAT rotation plans.

I am now offering ALCAT testing in my office because I believe that this test can be life changing!


14 comments (Add your own)

1. Lindsey wrote:
Hi! Do you know if ALCAT is covered by insurance? I have Blue Cross Blue Shield. Thanks! ~Lindsey

Fri, February 21, 2014 @ 2:52 PM

2. Heidi Gilchrist MD wrote:
Hi Lindsey, the ALCAT test is not covered by insurance, because it is a naturopathic test. The prices are quite reasonable, though. Please contact Elizabeth at 760-230-2537 and she can explain the cost to you and help you figure out which items are best to test for you.

Fri, February 21, 2014 @ 4:13 PM

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