Elisa Food Intolerance Blood Test

As you all know, trying to determine which foods trigger migraines can be very difficult. I recently found out about the ELISA Food Intolerance Blood Test that supposedly helps you determine what your triggers are. It sounds too good to be true. Has anybody taken this test and if so, did it help you? Does anybody have any insight on this test?!



As far as I know there is no test that can detect a migraine trigger food – an allergy yes – but not a trigger per se. The only way to really know is through trial and error, writing things down, or by using an elimination diet. Sometimes it’s dead obvious too. If I sat here now and ate a block of parmesan I’d look like I was withdrawing from heroin all night.

Scott 8)

I’m a research scientist, in the nutrition field, and would happily check it out for you, if you can/want to post a link to the product you are considering. However, off the top of my head, I can’t think how an ELISA could accurately test for food intolerance. Food intolerance is not really ‘testable’ in the way an allergy is, despite the claims of many alternative practitioners.
Happy to go into the difference between allergy and intolerance if that’s of any interest to anyone, and the ways they can be tested, but don’t want to bore you all…

Scott and Beechleaf, thanks for your responses. This is what the following website (foodallergytest.com/migraines.html) claims regarding food sensitivities and migraines:
"Migraines can be traced to an overactive nervous system some research suggests, while others believe that migraines involve an overactive immune response to food. Migraine headaches occur in people with a hyperactive immune system which is a result of excessive stimulation caused by food sensitivity.ith a hyperactive immune system which is a result of excessive stimulation caused by food sensitivity.

We are talking about the body’s serious reaction to delayed food sensitivities. The words food intolerance and food allergies are alternative terminology to describe this phenomenon.

Some people believe that in addition to foods, stress or muscle tension trigger migraines. Others believe that sensory triggers like light, smells or motion bring on the migraine headaches. Of course, to some the weather brings on a migraine and to others it’s a Chinese restaurant syndrome (MSG). Whatever you believe, a cause of migraine headaches still boils down to an overactive immune system burdened by the patient’s delayed food sensitivities. The underlying cause of migraines can be determined by a test like the Sage Complement Antigen Test.

If our migraine treatment concept makes sense to you then you should consider having your doctor order this test for you. Treatment is simple - identify the reactive foods and change your diet."

I have seen several labs and websites make the same claims as Sage. So do you think these claims are valid regarding Antigen tests helping you find food senstivities and subsequently minimize migraines? Is it possible that we all have food sensitivies that trigger migraines and therefore the tests can help? I guess I just don’t understand the difference between food sensitivies and allergies. Is there a difference?


Hi Ryan,

There’s some red flags on that site to be aware of – no doubt to drum up their business. They say things like:

— Begin quote from ____

“Most primary care physicians don’t understand natural migraine treatment.”

— End quote

While not every GP is on the ball with migraine management which is in itself a specialty as far as I’m concerned, most good GPs should know about trigger avoidance if that’s what they mean by “natural” treatment. I have no idea why these sorts of websites are always so in love with the word “natural”. It’s so over-used and they do it because they know it sounds warm and fuzzy to anyone that hears it. All it is, is avoiding triggers. To me it’s like saying avoid stuffing your head inside a wasps nest to stop being stung the natural way. :roll:

— Begin quote from ____

“45 percent of family physicians did not properly diagnose migraines.”

— End quote

This may very well be true because migraine masquerades as so many different ailments. It can be very hard to uncover (took me over 2 years). I don’t think this is a valid criticism if that’s what they meant.

— Begin quote from ____

“Migraine headaches are simply a result of an inflammatory response in the brain to the presence of food sensitivities.”

— End quote

A bit of a large generalisation there. There are hundreds of triggers NOT related to foods.

— Begin quote from ____

“Migraine headaches are often caused or triggered by delayed food allergies or sensitivities.”

— End quote

Incorrect. They may be triggered in this way but the cause lies in the genes – it’s an inherited genetic condition.

Anyhow, I think you can get the drift here that they gear the site for testing which is what their business is about so no surprises there.

Best … Scott 8)


I actually agree with most of your dissection of their claims. I am just one of those people that wish everything could be solved with a simple blood test.:slight_smile: By the way, speaking of grasping at straws, I went and got a bunch of my hormones checked this week, still waitng to hear the results. I talked with you a little while back about my low testosterone and am still wanting to see if getting my hormones in balance (like testosterone injections) will reduce my migraines. Not a cure, but maybe reduce the frequency. Again grasping at straws, grasping, grasping…ugh.


Hey Ryan,

If you can find something that stops this crap from being triggered then go for it I say. There’s just not a whole bunch of evidence for a lot of the claims made and so people like us who are desperado will go to great lengths thinking something will work. I’ve been scammed already quite nicely and understand all too well the ease with which conditions like this leave us all vulnerable to smooth talking sales people and well-written, bling websites.

Let us know how it goes if you go for the tests or the shots.

S :slight_smile:

I may be getting a little (OK quite a lot) off topic here but I find it hard to take seriously any discussion of migraine which persists in calling it ‘migraine headache’. As one who rarely has any headaches as a feature of my migraine this makes me roll my eyes about the same time as they start to glaze over. The condition is ‘migraine’. Just call it ‘migraine’. No need to add the word ‘headache’. It’s redundant and it perpetuates the myth that ‘migraine’ and ‘nasty headache’ are one and the same thing. In the same way that koalas aren’t bears, migraines aren’t headaches.

The second thing that sets my eyes rolling and glazing is the use of the word ‘cause’ when what is meant is ‘trigger’. The only ‘cause’ of migraine is dodgy genes.

Grrrr. Done. Rant over. Sorry folks.


P.S Ryan none of that was directed at you, just the literature.

Ok, where do I start?

— Begin quote from ____

We are talking about the body’s serious reaction to delayed food sensitivities. The words food intolerance and food allergies are alternative terminology to describe this phenomenon.

— End quote

This is rubbish, as intolerance and allergy are completely different things. And a food sensitivity is a third separate thing. I think it’s highly misleading to say that. Well, more than misleading, as it’s factually incorrect.

An allergy is a reaction of the immune system. It occurs when your body incorrectly recognises something as harmful, and mounts a defence against it, by producing antibodies called IgE. An example of this is a peanut allergy. Allergies can, at their most severe, be life-threatening, and often run in families, which suggests they can be inherited. An allergic reaction will occur with every single exposure to the food in question; even when just a tiny amount is eaten. And the allergic reaction happens fast! In the UK (sorry, I don’t know about other countries) allergies are usually diagnosed using a skin prick test, where tiny amount of the suspected culprit(s) are put onto the skin. You can test for IgE levels in someone’s blood (using an ELISA kit), but this isn’t widely used, as it is expensive and is not actually considered as reliable as the skin prick test. One of the rare occasions where the least invasive and simplest test is pretty much considered to be the best, despite advances in technology.

An intolerance is a reaction of the digestive system. It doesn’t involve antibodies at all. It’s never life-threatening and takes longer than an allergy for a reaction to occur (can be many hours). People with an intolerance can sometimes manage small amounts without getting symptoms, e.g. people with lactose (a sugar in milk) intolerance can sometimes drink milk in coffee, but not have a glass of milk. With very few exceptions, food intolerance can only be identified using a food diary and elimination diet. There is no easy test. An ELISA would not work at all, as food intolerances do not produce IgE molecules in the blood. The main exception is coeliac disease (intolerance of gluten, which can be tested for with a biopsy of the gut… nothing to do with ELISAs!).

A food sensitivity is where a small amount of a food or drink causes a reaction that would normally only happen when a large amount is consumed. For example, drinking twenty cups of strong coffee would probably make most people have palpitations, but if drinking just one cup has this effect on you, then you have a caffeine sensitivity. Again, a sensitivity would not produce any IgE as it’s not an immune reaction.

Hope this helps. I personally would not have any tests like this done as it won’t help you to identity intolerances or sensitivities which might be causing migraine. You are the best person to work this out for yourself by keeping a food diary, and it’s cheaper too!
Happy to answer any more questions if anyone has any.

Good info Vic and Beech!

It’s great that there’s such sharp people on mvertigo. Contrast that with some other forums I’ve visited in the last 6 months and you might be told to pour hydrogen peroxide into your ear canal (if it fizzes that ear is problematic), eat copious amounts of vit C until you are literally filling your pants, pour turmeric over everything, or be told that vestibular migraine and migraine associated vertigo are two different entitities. On one site I was told by the mod that migraine only rarely caused dizziness, didn’t fit the current IHS criteria and so should be disregarded! Still another uses $200 seasoned rice balls (monthly cost) to treat her MAV.

Hey Ryan – if you want help in tracking down food intolerances, these people seem to know what they’re talking about and they refer to the science literature. You may find it pricey at about $100 (I think) and could just work it out yourself but maybe their system would make it a little easier:



Thanks Scott. Actually you have pinpointed the exact reason I joined this forum, which was because I read through some of the posts and saw that people were interested in science and evidence, and have really enquiring minds. I belong to another (mostly UK based) forum, which is totally different. It’s incredibly supportive and there are some fabulous people on there, but it doesn’t really answer all the questions I have, and just has a bit of a different outlook on things. It’s more about sympathising with each other, than trying to find out practical stuff to help, if that makes sense.

I have to admit one of my pet hates is people who make money out of other people’s vulnerability by offering ‘miracle’ cures, and if anyone comes on here and tells me to put hydrogen peroxide in my ear then watch out…

By the way, I am still laughing about your wasp nest analogy :lol:

I’m weighing in on the food testing. I’ve have IGg and IGe panels plus scratch testing, etc. but none of them picked up the strong reactions to the foods which I actually experience allergic or intolerance reactions to (and it is true that there is a distinct difference). I only really discovered the extent that I reacted to certain foods after I began a migraine/elimination diet upon reading Heal Your Headache and other resources. It is astonishing what you find out after you eliminate numerous suspicious foods then try them one by one… Regardless of the research and statistics against dietary triggers, I think many people will testify that food can be quite problematic and avoidance of certain frequently-eaten foods can bring quick relief.

I’ll weigh in again a little bit. I had the scratch/pin prick allergy test over a decade ago to see if my constant stuffy nose was allergy related. Nothing showed up but at the time they did say that that test was only about 50% accurate. I may be misusing the word ‘accurate’ here - Beech, perhaps you can set me straight? Regardless, nothing showed up. Many years later and through this forum I’ve started hearing that stuffy nose may have a migraine connection.

Gail, with regards to the research and stats on dietary triggers - my understanding is that they relate primarily to allergies, intolerances and sensitivities rather than migraine triggers per se. While there are some foods which are well established as migraine triggers for many people (MSG, red wine, aged cheese) others are unique to each migraineur. Your own experience with elimination/reintroduction illustrates this well.


Good explanation Beech, you just saved me some money. If you ever come to Utah, I owe you lunch.:slight_smile: I will just have to start being more proactive with a food diary. I will also check out the foodintol website that Scott suggested, thanks Scott! Sorry to digress, but can any of you eat chocolate or pizza without any problems? I am just curious. They sound so good right now…


Food is always fascinating and frustrating for MAV/migraines it seems. Victoria - I probably misphrased my point - there’s a lot of info. out there on migraines/MAV that statistically discourage or minimize the impact or influence of food triggers. Not sure why…maybe because some people have a very difficult time making connections between direct or delayed responses to foods, additives, etc. Maybe because there really isn’t a clinical blood test, etc. to prove those responses. I just know that I definitely have struggled with it all and have experienced the proof I needed through elimination/avoidance of many yummy but dangerous foods. Bummer.

Hi Gail,

That’s interesting what you say about the information out there minimizing the influence of food triggers. I remember hearing years ago that the Big Three were cheese, chocolate and orange juice. My specialist says to avoid red wine and MSG. And then I read on this forum about the wild and wacky array of foods which can be triggers for individuals, not to mention other triggers like odours, weather changes etc. I guess everyone is different and the only way to really know for sure is trial and error.

The current research suggests that up to 40% of people can get good migraine control simply by adjusting their lifestyle - which includes identifying food triggers. The migraine diet is pretty healthy - things which would be recognised as ‘food’ by our grandparents. That also makes it easier to identify which particular food(s) are causing you trouble. With all the processed stuff we eat these days isolating trigger(s) is a minefield. Pizza for example has literally dozens of different foods as well as preservatives, additives and so on.


Victoria - I think the 50% is very low in terms of accuracy, although it would vary quite a lot according to what the allergen was, e.g. the vast majority of people with a peanut, egg or milk allergy would usually be picked up just by using a skin prick test, but other allergies are often not so easy to detect. Although accuracy itself can mean more than one thing…we usually talk about ‘specificity’ and ‘sensitivity’ instead. In this context, sensitivity is the proportion of individuals with an allergy who test positive with the skin prick test. Specificity is the proportion of individuals without an allergy who test negative. Obviously the ideal test would have 100% sensitivity and specificity, but this never happens! Just to contrast with the 50% figure you were told, I just looked up the first paper about the skin prick test I found on PubMed and it said for children the skin prick test has a specificity of 95% for peanut allergy, but the sensitivity is 72%. In practical terms this means it is extremely accurate in picking up the kids with the allergy, but it also gives some false positives for children who don’t have it.

But regarding what most people are talking about with the MAV diet, we are really talking about intolerances, which though not life-threatening can still be very disrupting, as a lot of us know! It’s great that everyone on here is sharing their knowledge in this area.

Pizza… Hmmmm. Boy, that sounds gooood, Victoria!! You know, despite most of our experience with food, additives, beverages, etc. here on the forum, I’ve run across a lot of info. that does not expand the base number of food triggers beyond the ones that you listed as if there would not be any problem with other foods other than patients’ imaginations. I’m not referring, ofcourse to Buchholz’s book and other reliable sources but other websites, articles, etc. However, symptoms of food allergy include headaches and dizziness, etc. so it’s not intolerances that are the problems. So much delicious food, so little ability to eat it.

How can I relieve a migraine without medicines? I get slight migraines when my body is under stress. Like when I’m working too hard, my sinuses are acting up, I’m worrying too much. What are things I can do to make my head feel better? It feels like there’s a ring around my head and someone is pushing down on it. I took migraine medicine years ago, but I’m seeking new solutions.

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