Has anyone had an experiences with Vega Testing? Would an NHS doctor totally dismiss any results from these?

I have suffered with IBS-D symptoms for over 10 years now and had a Vega test done at a complementary health clinic a long time ago. It conclusively showed that I had a problem tolerating yeast and associated dietary substances such as alcohol, sugar etc. I did the whole exclusion diet and found myself feeling better for a while but found it impossible to keep up with in the long term. I have subsequently had a Vega test dive twice again over the years, in different clinics using different systems and they came up with much the sane results- massive intolerance to alcohol. I pretty sure that I suffer from Candida overload which causes,or certainly doesn't help a lot of my IBS problems. I feel really reluctant to talk about either Candida or Vega testing with my gp as I feel he will belittle me and dismiss it all. All he says is that I have classic IBS and that in his experience and understanding food plays next to no part in the symptoms- it's just the way I am. I find it all very hard as I am a 36 year old man who has been going round in circles for what should have been the best years of my life and feel that i am getting nowhere. Have tried so many supplements, probiotics etcetera but find I get discouraged and give up when I finish the containers. Also find that all if these things cost so much money without any sound medical endorsement . Don't know if it's worth trying confentional anti fungals such as Nystatin or would these just cause further problems to my delicate bowel and system. Am also on antidepressants so am worried about taking too many other medications. Any advice would be gratefully received.

23 Replies

  • Whether or not IBS is a reaction to specific food stuffs or not is not certain as far as medical professionals are concerned.

    However, even if you are in fact, intolerant to alcohol, yeast etc. why would you gp need to know? it doesn't effect your medical care at all. if excluding these items helps control your symptoms, then you don't need any more justification to do so.

    i haven't looked into antifungals so i can't comment on that. i think you should take these holistic test with a pinch of salt, but definately take their findings into account.

    if excluding these items helps, then do it. it should be reasonable.

    lots of veg, some boiled fish, a bit of meat, and rice should form your diet. it is possible to live on that, but u do have to be on the ball and prepare food for urself when ever u go out.

  • Thanks beau-alicia. I know you're right about being wary about complementary clinics as I know that such places are big-business. I guess I'm just looking for a magic solution or answer but it's unlikely to be as simple as that. I just find gps quite unhelpful with their attitude sometimes.

  • Hi bazman61,

    I looked into these so-called intolerance tests some time ago and discovered that it's actually scientifically impossible to carry out such tests in the ways claimed – this information came from an independent microbiologist. The 'results' that are sent out usually include all the usual suspects, e.g. wheat, onions, garlic, dairy, yeast, alcohol etc plus a few extras to make them look individually tailored. And yes, your GP will almost certainly ignore the results. The people peddling these things are just snake-oil salesmen. Go to quackometer.net put 'York Tests' into the search box and see what it has to say about them and other companies of the same ilk - it isn't complimentary.

    Candida is another matter altogether however, and although medics are still not convinced about it, I think there's a lot in it. A good lab to have a test done is at candidatest.co.uk. I was found to have candida and, after clearing it by special diet, found I was about 30% improved.

    Many people find relief with supplements, probiotics etc, but I'm not among them and, like you, have kitchen shelves groaning under the weight of those which I've tried and discarded in disgust! We've all been round in those circles you mention.

    Probably the most successful method for controlling symptoms of IBS (particularly if you're diarrhoea-predominant) is the low FODMAPs diet. It's very successful for many people on here (although it doesn't work for everybody). It isn't a diet for life, but allows you to reliably work out which foods, if any, you're intolerant of. The NHS has now got behind it and most dietitians are trained to advise on it. However, I did it before the NHS took it up and managed perfectly well on my own, it's not rocket science. There's a lot of rubbish about the diet 'out there' though, so if you want to know more about it, I'll be happy to point you in the right drection for reliable and up-to-date info.

    Personally I'd give the anti-fungals a miss.


  • Hi Roz, thanks so much for getting back to me.

    It's interesting what you say about some of the people who run a business going these tests. I think that is why doctors don't take any results seriously as they must be exacerbated by patients who have had positive results after paying a lot of money. The Vega tests claims to measure your body's resistance when it us stimulated or exposed to certain chemicals or foodstuffs . My thoughts are that surely everyone should react to alcohol as it is a toxic compound and other things like MSG as they are so un-natural. I guess I have had times where I was feeling so ill and weak that I would look for answers anywhere.

    You can read so much stuff about Candida on the internet with people claiming that it is responsible for almost every chronic ailment out there. The other that I've read about a lot ( and is a lot cheaper than Vega or York tests) is the saliva spit test. Of course I have tried it out and it came back with a positive result. The thing that makes me wary about this is the fact that everyone has commensal candida in their oral or gastric micro flora so therefor you'd think everyone would get a positive result .

    I have tried the strict diet but have found it impossible to continue with ,actually a lot harder than a coeliac's gluten free diet as you have to give up just about anything that is not freshly made . I found it impossible to fit round a full- time job and put that extra stress on food planning for my wife as well as liking after 2 young children .

    The only supplement that I think I saw an improvement from was Candigest but as usual I start up feel better , run out and then forget to order more . The improvements that I was feeling could have been due to other factors such as feeling less stressed, diet changes or even the placebo effect.

    I will definitely read up on the low FODMAP diet though as this seems to have had a lot of endorsement by the members on this site . It certainly sounds more appealing than the anti-candida diet .

    Thanks again for your help it is much appreciated .

  • The spit-test for candida is just another myth, so don't hang anything on the result you got from that. If I hadn't had a candida test and got rid of that first, I don't believe that FODMAPs would have worked so well for me as candida is a completely different issue.

    If you decide to go for FODMAPs, the info you need is on the website for Monash University where it was (and still is being) developed. You can download a brilliant smartphone app from there which is really useful when you're out shopping or dining. You can't do the diet half-heartedly though, it's total committment or no result. The first 4 - 6 weeks are the most difficult, it then becomes easier as you're continually reintroducing foods back into your diet.

    Best books about it are Patsy Catsos's 'IBS-Free At Last!' and Sue Shepherd and Peter Gibson's 'The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan For Managing IBS And Other Digestive Disorders'. Sue Shepherd developed the diet at Monash so you can't really go wrong and it has some good recipes in.

    I know any strict dietary regime is difficult when you're working and caring for a family, it's a problem for many people on here, but if you don't give it a proper try, you're going to be stuck with feeling ill forever. As you've found out, there's no easy, magic bullet - if I ever find one, I'll post it on here with all speed!

    I also know how much simpler it is to buy processed foods rather than using fresh ingredients, but it's also the quickest route to making any digestive (and other problems) worse. Try reading the ingredients label on any everyday, ready-prepared food item, e.g. bread, and you'll see what I mean. Even 'free-from' items are awash with additives which we could all do without.


  • Hi so sorry to hear you're having such a rough time. Unfortunately your doctor is totally wrong and sadly probably doesn't care as many GPs still think its ' all in the head' . I have done a massive amount of reading and research since being diagnosed a year ago . I am 56 but many people get diagnosed in there teens!! It's a life sentence and I feel for younger people who have to live with this. It does sound like you're reacting to yeast but there are certain breads recommended for ibs. Such as sourdough french and Italian. If you have not already discovered the fodmap diet from monash university. Also hungry hungry hippo American site. She is a nurse with Ibs. The thing is I have discovered symprove probiotics which contain billions of good bacteria I take once a week and at the moment is working. When I go out on a social I just take Imodium light which at least make me feel confident incase I eat something I shouldn't. I haven't had your test but know that yeast isn't good for me. I tend to stick to low fodmaps as well just avoiding the worst 20 foods such as onions etc. now eat green parts of spring onions and haven't missed onions at all. I certainly don't want to forfeit alcohol so just try to limit. A lot of IBS has also been linked to serotonin levels in body so I do everything naturally that will boost those levels eg exercise bananas vitamin 6 supplements. Although only small dose not over 25 mg a day. That's why anti depressants seem to work in IVS patients as it helps the part of brain controlling seratonin levels . (Happy part of brain). Sorry if I've gone on a bit but thought it might help. I know it's not helpful but try keep positive and just tell yourself it's not going to beat you ! Hopefully research might come up with some news in future. My GP is doing research on it at the moment.

  • Hi there I have just treated myself for candida I used garlic and parsley tablets, a good probiotic and teatree oil. it worked a treat and I think that's why you cant tolerate alcohol. you have to go nooooooooooo sugar I mix a few drop of teatree oil in half a glass of water swish it round my mouth and swallow it so it goes thru my gut. even bath in a shallow bath with teatree oil if necessary its great. wishing you well

  • Hi there, thanks for my reply last week. Really interesting the way that you treat yourself for Candida. I'm really wary of strong anti-fungals as I've read a lot about the horrible side-effects and interactions they have. Where do you buy garlic and parsley tablets? Did you discover this treatment with tee-tree oil yourself or did someone advise you to do this? Was wondering if there is any danger that this could also kill beneficial bacteria or would it only hit pathogens such as yeasts. Also,would it be suitable to buy any tea-tree oil that I find in a health store. Have never swallowed an essential oil like this before. Thanks again, hope your strategy helps.

  • Hi sorry to hear your having such a rough time. I am in the second week of being on the FODMAP diet and it has really improved my symptoms. With a little bit of planning you can make it work with family meal times even if it does mean having something a little different to everyone else. My GP was quite impressed when I told her I was on the FODMAP diet and asked me about how she could get further information about it because she has heard of it but not researched it properly yet so I think most GPs now do recognise there are trigger foods for IBS and those that refuse to acknowledge it like your GP are being quite ignorant. Can you try another GP or complain to the practice manager? You could insist they refer you to an NHS dietician.

  • Agree with the above. Forget your GP unless you want to ask for a referral to a gastroenterologist? (Have to say your gp has no clue and needs to go get some training! ibs IS diet related and fodmaps proves that)

    Did you say you have celiac? In which case there's not a lot else the gastro will check.

    I had a version of a vega test done and candida showed up. Got treated and felt better.

    (There are so many symptoms that 'bis' can cause its good to be able to eliminate some via a candida cleanse).

    FODMAPS is the best. So check it out and start right away.

    Above all stay positive and think healthy! A can't do attitude is not your best friend in fighting this IBS label. :-)

  • I'm on FODMAps to the best of my ability. Also have PD so I have IBS-C. Never heard of Vega test. A sympathetic GI doctor and nutritionist was a huge benefit. I went untreated for years because I had a jerk for a GI. I was into vitamins and probiotics, but now I just eat whole foods when available and when I'm able to cook. I'm allergic to alcohol and find low FODMAPs diet very helpful. I find it hard to avoid the sugar. But will try. Now I only take magnesium 400 mg , and vitamin D3 and a B supplement as ordered by my GP (when I remember). Get my probiotics from kefir and yogurt.

  • Hi PatV, many thanks for your help last week. Was interested when you said that you were allergic to alcohol. Did you get tested for this or did you work it out for yourself. I am sure I have an extreme intolerance to it or an allergy but when I speak to anyone about it they seem to tell me that they've never come across this before. My issue is that I pass out or black out and feel utterly horrendous for days after a night out. I can tolerate a certain amount one day and the same amount another knocks me sideways. I find it such a hard thing to avoid in my environment- drinking is everywhere here in Scotland and you can be made to feel like a social outcast if you are teetotal. I have given up completely since Xmas but have not tested myself on any big social occasions yet. I almost feel having a medical reason to not drink would make things easier for me as I would hope people would accept this. Any advice would be very helpful.

  • if you want to give you email, I'll send a private message. I worked this out myself, based on my reaction to FODMAP's diet, the effect of drinking on me and how using alcohol on my skin made me react. I got a good diet from my nutritionist. yes, eating out is a pain, but eggs, non-cured meats, oatmeal, yogurt and hard cheeses are OK. Kefir is good. Good luck to you.

  • Thanks Pat, that is all really interesting. I suppose that is the benefit of FODMAPs- the fact that you can with out what is bad for you by yourself. My email is bazzabj@gmail.com.

    I really appreciate your help.

  • hi again, just a thought is it the alcohol or the sugar? I can drink gin and diet tonic but not sugar mixers or wines.

  • Hi again , been using the tea/ tree oil since yesterday- actually quite like the taste of it. Was just a bit worried about swallowing it as have seen a few pieces on the internet when people say it can be toxic if taken orally. I'm sure it's fine though. Do you keep taking it even when you feel you are better?

    I've tried most drink options and haven't found one that I'm good with yet. Wine is really bad for me, as beer and cider usually is. Tried gin and normal tonic a few times as i thought this would be better but it gave me bad spasms. I thought I just was bad with all alcohol but maybe it could be due to the sugar. Could try diet tonic as an experiment. Are your symptoms a lot better now? Thanks for the advice.

  • Many thanks to everyone for their very I formative and helpful replies- I can honestly say that I've had better advice from all of you than I have had in over 10 years of going back and forth to the doctor about my issues. I have been on a short break up North with my family for the Feb break so have had no internet signal to replay to any of you-

    sorry if you thought I was ignorant.

    I will definitely give the low FODMAP diet a go as it seems to make a lot of sense. I realised how hard it is to follow these diets when you are out of your house- for example there was no gluten free breads available at breakfast as far as I could see it any lactose-free milk options. I just had to do as best as I could without starving.

    I have to say that I find the whole issue of having IBS problems very difficult as I cannot be up front with people about what's bothering me. I find that I am very self-conscious about it all and try to just cover it up when I am in company. Maybe this makes things worse as this probably makes me more keyed-up. My alcohol intolerance has also become worse over the years, possibly related to my digestive issues, and this makes me feel even more of a social outcast. I find that I am going to end up living the life of a hermit as I dread the thought of Christmas nights out with work or weekends away with friends.

    For asking as i can remember I have not had anything to eat in the morning as I find that this just guarantees that I will be dashing to the loo during my working morning or suffering from embarrassing stomach growling- my job is one where I have to deal with the public at very close quarters and I find the issue quite confidence sapping.

    Has anyone else felt like this and found ways to make things better for themselves?

    The reason why I keep wanting a doctors diagnosis is that I feel I could tell people what is wrong with me and they might actually believe me when I tell them how I am feeling. I find that if I am up front with some people they just make a joke of it or act like I am neurotic. I guess that's why it is great to have found this forum as at least we can speak to people who know what it is like to live with these functional issues and the hoops we have to jump through to get help.

    I knows doctor is probably quite old fashioned and tends to dismiss food intolerance links but I know that for me diet plays a huge part in my symptoms, as well as stress.

    I feel glad to have found out about FODMAP and will try to keep going with this as best as I can and keep learning from all of the other users posts on this forum.

    Thanks again for all your help.

  • Hi there good to see you back, many years ago I had BAD candida, went on everything from the doctor and still had it, a chemist told me about the teatree oil, tried and wow what a relief, probably need to do it 2 times a day, especially when u have finished eating for the day and cleaned your teeth, just 2-3 drops in a small amount of water.

    The garlic and parsley are from any health or chemist and a good probiotic. wishing you well.

  • hi again ,until you get rid of the candida food will fermenting in your stomach causing reaction to fizzy drink, I would roll around the floor in pain and wanting to vomit.,

  • Sounds like you had a bad time with it. Glad to hear you've found a good way to deal with it.

  • Sorry to hear of your problem. It sounds quite similar to mine. It is very frustrating when a doctor will not take your concerns seriously.

    My advice would be to continue with the supplements. From my opinion absorption of nutrients is a massive problem in this scenario and you also have to repair your stomach wall.

    Oil of oregano and undecyclenic acid can reduce yeast. Also start on a good multi vit asap.

    I would change your doctor also! No one should feel like they are being ridiculed for raising their health concerns.

  • Thanks for your reply Davies, I guess frustration with our doctors is a common concern for many of us on this forum. The best thing that I have done for myself is to get registered on this site and to start to follow the Low FODMAP diet- I have had much better advice and help from the members on this site than I have had from any general practitioner at my local doctors' surgery.

    I'm only part way into the elimination phase of the FODMAP diet but I find the difference in my symptoms has been astounding so far. I'm hoping that in the long term I'll be able to figure out exactly what my digestive system has problems with- with any luck the only supplement I'll need to take is a good multivitamin or probiotics.

    The less that I have to go and see my GP the better- it never seems to get me anywhere anyway. Maybe I'm not pushy enough though to demand that I am referred to a specialist who knows about intolerance testing etc.

    It's good to know that there are other people who have had experiences like mine, it can really affect your confidence as it seems that everyone that you are surrounded by can eat, drink and live as unhealthily as they like without any cares.

    Hope you are doing okay at the moment anyway.

  • Hi. If you want furthee insight I highly recommend you read a book called Medical Medium by Anthony William. You will find a much better understanding of the true causes of IBS and other mystery illnesses that the medical community are still a decade away from understanding.

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