Today’s post is different to anything else I’ve done before, but I’ve been really excited to write it but I wanted to warn you that this post is going to be long one as I want to include as much information as possible. I was very kindly offered the chance to try the LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test by the LifeLab team and I was absolutely thrilled but this post is not sponsored. The LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test is an at home blood test which tests for 40 different allergies as well as 80 intolerances.
I’ve had ongoing health issues for years now and there are certain foods which have made me poorly or made me breakout but I never knew for definite which foods were problematic for me so the test really appealed to me, as a way of getting an insight into what foods are actually causing me problems instead of just assumptions.
I was diagnosed as having IBS at 14 and many health issues I’ve experiences since then, have been put down to the IBS without testing for intolerances or allergies, as I felt like I was being ignored but I can now go back to my doctor with my results and I hope, will now be taken seriously as I do have a number of allergies and intolerances.
Nutritional testing is so important as it allows you to take control of your health, and see where you could be deficient or flag up areas you perhaps need to discuss with your doctor. I’m now a massive advocate of using these testing kits, as you can go directly to the lab without seeing your doctor. I’ve generously been given a 15% promotional code for HealthLabs.com should you want to try a nutrition test yourself, and you’re US based right here using code 15offgemma.
Who are LifeLab Testing and what tests are available?
LifeLab Testing have 15 years experience, have 120 health experts globally, have tested over 20 million items with a testing accuracy of 99.8% in their lab. I have had the LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test, but they also offer; the Basic Allergy Test, Basic Intolerance Test, Complete Intolerance Test and you can choose which test will suit your needs.
The LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test is £229 and they do have other tests available on their website, plus I have a discount code at the end of my post should you want to purchase one of their tests.
The LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test
“Our Complete Body Test is an exclusive comprehensive view of your allergies and intolerances giving you a broad insight into possible causes to your symptoms. effectively.
The blood allergy analysis includes: Wheat, Peanut, Egg White, Rice, birch and grasses, Potato, Cod, Shrimp, Tomato and Meat.
The blood intolerance analysis includes: Gluten, Wheat, Peanut, Egg, Rice, Garlic, Onion, Banana, Cod, Salmon, Chicken, Potato. A full list of the 120 food & inhalant items can be found in the details box further down.
You’ll receive: A sample kit in the post, a prepaid return envelope, a summary of your results on an easy to understand dashboard, a downloadable full report, a comprehensive guide and a 30-minute consultation with one of our BANT-registered nutritional therapists. (Please note: Packaging may not be as pictured).
To gain the maximum understanding of your health, the Complete Body Test includes the most common food and non-food items, which cause allergic reactions and intolerance symptoms. There are two distinct areas of testing we carry out in our laboratory; IgE, for allergies and IgG4, for intolerances.”
What arrives in the post?
The whole process was a lot easier than I expected it to be so please don’t put off, if you feel like it would be too complicated as it really isn’t and the LifeLab Testing team have been so friendly and helpful. Once you’ve ordered your chosen test, a box arrives in the post by first class with a selection of different items alongside a pre- paid first class envelope to send your blood sample to them.
The pack includes information on how to activate your test through their LifeLab section where a Lifelab buddy is available online to provide unlimited help and support should you need it. The lab can only test the blood once the kit’s been activated online. Inside the LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test kit you’ll find:
- 1 x alcohol wipe
- 1 x plaster
- 1 x gauze / absorbent pad
- 1 x transport tube
- 1 x microvette 300 QL sampling tube
- 2 x lancets
- 1 return pre-paid envelope
- 1 x activation card with adhesive label.
Taking my blood sample
This was the part I was least looking forward to, as I’m not great with needles but even as a needle-phobe, I didn’t find the process too difficult or stressful. LifeLab Testing recommend taking your blood sample where possible, on a Monday to Tuesday and post it on the same day you collect your sample for best results.
The pack contains a booklet with helpful tips with information such as them not recommending you take your blood sample after strenuous exercise, and you can contact their customer service team should you have issues with collecting your sample.
The booklet contains easy to follow steps from cleaning your chosen finger (either your index or middle finger) to collect your sample with the alcohol wipe, to standing up and swinging your arm in a circular motion 5-10 times to stimulate blood circulation. I would definitely recommend standing if possible during the collection of your blood sample.
As I’m not great with needles, I got my other half to use the lancet on my middle finger and it was so quick, simple and easy. Obviously you feel it as it’s a needle in your fingertip but it’s not at all painful, the click of the lancet is more startling than the needle itself.
Once the needle has been inserted into your finger, they recommend keeping your arm at hip height so standing next to a table or counter top and then massaging your pricked finger from the palm to the fingertip until blood droplets begin to form.
You have to stand the little blood collection tube upwards and then scrape the blood droplets from the end of your finger into the collection tube. For the first minute or so it took a while to get the blood going, but the massage of my palm and finger definitely helped and the collection tube soon filled up.
The blood collection process from the lancet to screwing the lid on the filled collection tube took no more than five minutes and as I said, was a lot easier than I’d anticipated. It’s important to note that the blood collection tube must be filled upto the 30μL mark.
I found that the blood drops didn’t trickle down the side of the tube very well but the book recommends gently tapping the tube on an hard surface and that did the trick very well, and encouraged the drops to move down the sides.
Once the sample was collected, I pressed the gauze swab on my finger to slow the bleeding and you can then apply the plaster. Once the sample has been taken, and the lid closed, you then apply the QR code sticker to the blood collection tube (not the transport tube) which comes in the pack so the lab know it’s your sample. The last step is to then place the blood collection tube inside the transport tube and seal it up, before putting it into the pre-paid envelope. That’s it!
The LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test Next Steps..
After sending the blood off in the post, I had to wait for an email to tell me when my results were ready to view within the LifeLab. Once the results were ready, I could log in and see them within the LifeLab dashboard and also view the results as a PDF file, so you can save them and print them off should you wish to.
I know I sound sad, but I really couldn’t wait to get my results as I wanted to see which foods truly caused me issues, and to see if any of my suspected problem foods were right. When the results came through, I was really surprised by some of them but then again some of them made total sense.
I’m going to include some screenshots of my results so you can see what it’d look like if you were doing the test as the results are so easy to read and understand, and LifeLab Testing even offer their customers the ability to talk to a nutritionist to discuss their results which is such good service. The results delivered in PDF form are in a twenty page document breaking them down into two sections – Allergies and Intolerances.
The back nine pages are more informational with tips on how to adapt an elimination diet where in a nutshell, you try to remove your problem foods from your diet and recommendations LifeLab have, based on your results. I like that it is in PDF form as you could take the results to your doctor and keep them for your personal records.
For each of the items tested within the LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test, they’re scored out of six ‘bulbs’ in a traffic light fashion – green means no reaction, orange means a medium reaction whilst red means an high reaction. It’s a lot more complex than I could ever do justice to explain the different between an allergy and an intolerance but LifeLab have this very helpful guide here, which helps to explain the difference. Here’s a summary of the description:
An allergy is the body’s immune system responding to what would normally be considered a harmless substance. But what are these substances? These substances include many things which we come across on a daily basis, including pollen, food, mould, pet’s hair, medicines and insects.
One thing to particularly watch out for are house dust mites. If you don’t keep your apartment clean, then these dust mites can be life altering. The body thinks that this substance can be a threat, and therefore produce an inappropriate response, in the form of symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. What should you know? These symptoms often occur within a few minutes, but can also last up to two hours later.
So, now you know what the symptoms are of a food allergy. However, you now need to learn what the symptoms are of a food sensitivity? Knowing the difference means you know how to treat it and you may not have to say goodbye to that hamburger forever, as you can help your body to cope. Why? This is because a sensitivity can simply be when you are having difficulty digesting certain foods, and you then experience those physical symptoms as a result of eating them. One big difference is that symptoms of a food sensitivity can emerge up to 72 hours later!
At the top of the document there’s this summary with how many of the 40 items are green and how many are red out of the 40 items for food and inhalant allergy section, and then how many are green, orange and red out of the 80 items for intolerances. Remember you can be allergic to an item but not be intolerant which is something I’ve found really interesting. Now onto the charts..
From the first page of allergies items, there’s just one item that I’ve got showing as an allergy and that’s Meat with two red bulbs out of six. I am so shocked by this one as I didn’t know you could have a meat allergy.
I am going to have to look into this one via my doctor or further tests as I really need to find out what meat if possible so I can then eliminate it from my diet. I don’t eat a lot of meat as it is, purely down to preference and tend to just eat beef or chicken so I’d love to know more about this one. I’m so happy I didn’t flag up for seafood as I’m a massive lover of seafood.
This is the last page of items which show the other of my ‘red’ reaction items for allergies and that is Hazelnuts. This is another item which shocked me as I love hazelnuts and Guylian Seashells are my absolute favourite chocolates so I’m pretty gutted about this one, and it’s crazy how many things contain hazelnuts. Now onto intolerances….
The first page of my intolerances are the first items I expected to show up and boy did they turn up. I always thought my IBS was down to gluten and I was probably right looking at all of those red bulbs. These are all gluten containing grains, and they’re all ‘High’ readings except for Oat which is ‘Low’.
Barley, Durum Wheat, Spelt and Wheat all have six out of six red bulbs with a score of 100. Gluten and Rye are both five bulb readings, and Oat has just two. I’ve always known gluten to be problematic for me so I try and cut out as many gluten containing foods as possible and now I’ve had these results, I’ll definitely try to do even more eliminating.
My next intolerance was Green Beans with an high reading of five bulbs which is such a surprise as green beans are one of my favourite vegetables; so much so, we grow them in our garden every year.
I had no idea you could be intolerant to a green bean but I’m a little sad that I won’t be able to have them as much as I want going forward, but it’ll be worth it to help with the symptoms I’ve been experiencing.
When I was looking through my results, I had to take a double take when looking at the Poultry section as my results have shown six out of six red bulbs and a 100 reading for Egg White, and a four out of six bulbs with a 41.52 reading for Egg Yolk.
I love eggs so much and I love mayonnaise even more but it’s so interesting now I know egg is problematic for me as it makes sense looking back at incidents where I’ve been ill after eating eggs. I’ve not been able to eat cake for a couple of years which I put down to the suspected gluten issues, but it looks like it’s probably gluten and egg.
One item I did expect (alongside the gluten) prior to doing this test was dairy. I had a massive inkling that dairy was problematic for my skin and through the process of elimination, I realised that dairy caused me really painful breakouts so I’ve removed dairy from my diet already almost completely for two years.
The readings show three out of six bulbs for Sheep’s Milk, and two out of six for Cow’s Milk. I’m really pleased my suspicions have been confirmed and I’ll definitely avoid sheep’s and cow’s milk like I have so far.
The final part of my results show Nuts & Seeds Intolerance and that’s Peanut with a ‘medium’ reading of 10.52. I think it’s funny that this has come up on here as I’m obsessed with Reese’s, so I feel like this is so cruel with Hazelnuts as they’re my favourite kind of chocolate but at least I’m not intolerant to chocolate full stop as I’d be so gutted.
The last section of the results is a miscellaneous section and something flagged up as high, and that’s Mustard which I never expected to see but it’s an high reading of 51.43 with five red bulbs. I love mustard so this is disappointing and since getting my results, I’ve been shocked by how many foods contain mustard but I’m making sure I check the ingredients on products more often to try and become a little more savvy.
I cannot rave about the LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test enough. It’s amazing to suspect you have intolerances, for them to be confirmed as I felt like my doctor didn’t believe me. I’ve had to do food diaries quite often, but as there wasn’t an obvious pattern of what was causing me issues, it was hard to know what the triggers were.
I am dying to get more at home allergy tests done now to pinpoint more problematic items so I can really try to eliminate what’s causing me issues and find out which meats I’m allergic to.
If my GP agreed to refer me to an allergist within the NHS, it would take months so to send my bloods off and get results within a fortnight is incredible. The price is high but you have to consider it’s testing 40 things for allergies and 80 for intolerances, and the service is so quick and easy. The LifeLab Testing Complete Body Test will now enable me to improve my health by eliminating my problem foods and you can’t put money on that.
LifeLab Testing have given me a code which will give you 35% discount on their great tests with the code NEWME19.
I’d love to know if you’ve ever used an at home or intolerance test before? Would you like to try one? Let me know in the comments below…
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