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Getting tested for Allergies & Intolerances, help please!

I am thinking of getting tested to see just what I could be intolerant/allergic to as I've had migraines for almost 40 years and now have been going gluten free for several weeks but not a great deal of improvement. I know I am intolerant to food additives, colour in tablets and many things like cheese, chocolate etc. but I need to know for sure if I need to be wheat free and diary free also what other foods could be causing my problems. I also have IBS/Diahorrea problems as well. I am thinking of going to York Laboritories, I know it's expensive, I'm just wondering if any of you have been tested and if you've used York Laboritories or can recommend other companies who carry out these kind of tests. I don't want to waste my money. Any comments would be very much appreciated. Hoping somebody can help.

15 Replies

I'm sceptical and looking at some online reviews it's seems I'm right.

For example it seems their intolerance test checks you against cows milk but the test doesn't tell you whether you are actually intolerant to it and what component of the milk you have a problem with, but simply tells you if you have high antibodies to cows milk.

This isn't any good as cows milk contains whey, casein and lactose - any or all of them could be the cause of your problems and as they are added to lots of supplements, medication, processed and restaurant made food individually you will have avoid all of them after the test unless you can actually work out yourself which component of cows milk is actually causing you the issues. (Then again I know I'm lactose intolerant and not just cows milk intolerant.)

Finally this is worth reading* - allergyuk.org/food-intolera... I've had a false positive when I was allergy tested against bananas years ago. I have never had any problems eating bananas though I've actually had reactions to cashew nuts, which weren't tested for. Though I had no reactions to peanuts (which there is a history of allergy of in my family) and almonds.

*You won't get help from the NHS though individual health practitioners may help you.


Thanks very much Bluebug for your quick reply. It's a lot more involved than I thought! I will read the info. link you have given me. How did you find out you were lactose intolerant? This all seem very complicated, looks like I've got a lot of research to do. Nothing is easy is it?


I had a drastic reaction, which was rather quick but lasted a long time, to having a cream cake.

Then it made sense that all the issues I had in the 5 years before including a bad reaction to supplements with lactose in them were caused by lactose intolerance.

I had taken supplements whose active ingredient was caffeine and primary filler was lactose to keep me awake. The strength of the caffeine wasn't a problem due to how much coffee I normally drank, but I was in stomach and bowel agony due to the lactose.

The problem with lactose intolerance is the severity of it varies person by person. So while I can actually stomach tablets which have some lactose in as long as it's not a primary filler, other people must avoid it completely. Some people can cope with various yoghurts but I have trouble with all types.

In regards to migraines you may never be able to work out your trigger and it may not even be food. For example I get migraines if atmospheric pressure changes and it is going to rain. Mine normally go when it starts raining. Flickering CRT monitors with fluorescent lights over them also give me migraines and can even make me throw up, but they go if I stay in the dark for about 4 hours. (Luckily the majority of computer monitors are now flat screen.) Another friend of mine has never worked out her triggers after years of having them and still hasn't worked out how to effectively relieve them.

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It's surprising how Lactose can be such a problem. It must have been awful when you had such a drastic reaction to the cream cake. It takes something like that I suppose to highlight what the trouble is. I hope I am not lactose intolerant but to find out it looks like I will have to remove it from my diet for a while to see if things improve. I will also have to check any medication I take to see if it is one of the ingredients. I check for other things but I've only just thought about Dairy and Lactose etc.

I've discovered so many of my migraine triggers eg: strong smells, flickering lights, temperature changes, etc. I know most foods I have to avoid but a lot of my migraines are 'rebounds' caused by taking Zolmitriptan - the triptans are well known for this but Zomig is the only thing that works for me. If I don't take it I become so sick and dehydrated I cannot function so I'm in a viscious circle and have very few good days. I'm sorry your friend is suffering badly too and cannot find her 'triggers'. We are all struggling along from day to day trying to find a pathway through this tangled mess. Many thanks again for your help and information. I'll keep reading and researching and live in hope that things may improve for us all someday.


Hi,I have the same illness as you have,plus intolerant to food additives, colour in tablets etc.I had the york test a few years ago but feel it didnt do me any good.Maybe its more accurate now but Ive given up on wasting money on various treatments.I know its difficult not to look for a cure for migraine etc but I am trying to accept that is what I have wrong with me even although it does disrupt my life on a daily basis.Sorry I couldnt help.


Thanks bengal2013 for repyling to my question. Sorry to hear that you are also in the same boat as me. It's all a nightmare, being intolerant to additives, colours and all the other terrible things they put into food and medication. Life is pretty tough trying to work out what to eat, I seem to be living on Salmon, chicken, potatoes, peas and eggs at the moment. I have been buying gluten free bread but wondering if the other ingredients could be giving me IBS problems so now thinking of making my own gluten free bread. It gets more complicated by the day, being intolerant to so many things is quite a problem for sure for so many of us.


I have a lot of allergies and intolerances. I was originally tested on the NHS at a clinic which was closed down as it was too expensive to run....

However, I did the Stone Age diet for two weeks and then introduced a range of things one by one, every other day. I then diarised any outcomes, from raised pulse to any more severe reactions. One problem with having prick tests and blood tests for the allergies is your blood ige. If it is low, as is mine, reactions are sometimes negligible in the blood tests even though you may have an allergy or intolerance. When you first start the Stone Age diet you feel terrible for the first 4 or 5 days as you are withdrawing from things such as coffee, tea, sugar, wheat, and any other substances you may be allergic to!

I too get migraines and discovered the culprit is all perfumes, dust, chemicals with very strong smells such as Mr Muscle etc. Perfumed washing powder is an issue, perfumed face creams, perfumed body lotion and sun cream and so on. . I discovered the perfume allergy through going completely perfume free for a week then introducing it. The resulting migraine arrived within a couple of minutes n some cases. You would be amazed at how many things contain perfume, including make up - I now use Boots No 7 range.

Hope this helps!


Thanks so much LFE12 for taking the time the answer my query. From yours and other comments I am beginning to come to the conclusion that perhaps having blood tested at a clinic may not be the answer and could be very expensive. I'll have a look at the Stone Age Diet and will certainly think about eliminating certain foods to see what could be causing the problem. I'm sure the withdrawal from tea, coffee, sugar and wheat was a nightmare but worth doing if you can get to the bottom of what you are intolerant too.

My migraines are also triggered by strong smells etc. too. Many thanks indeed for letting me know how you coped with your intolerance problem. Much appreciated.


I too am allergic to perfumed smells.the items ive wasted through this.Im surprised about No 7 Boots range as the moisturiser was so strong with perfume,maybe the makeup is ok.

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I was born with allergies and reactions to foods but now, aged 58, I am allergic to a lot. I answered a quiz for salicylates and unfortunately rated very high, it is a very restricted diet and therefore unhealthy. Ignoring and just eating the culprits was not an option for me as I ended up with Rosacea which was uncomfortable. Salicylates are the natural preservatives in foods but they can be eaten once past the optimum preservation property, unfortunately for me I react to these foods for a different reason as well. Ask your GP for a referral to an allergy clinic, unfortunately thyroid issues and allergies go hand in hand my endo told me. Good luck.


Hi MissLillykisses,

Thanks for getting in touch with regard to allergies. I'm very sorry to hear you have always struggled with allergies since you were born.

It's certainly a problem and proving to be a nightmare for me too just wondering what to eat. My diet is already very restricted as most things sadly seem to give me upset stomachs/diahorrea. I've never heard of Salicylates so another thing to be aware of. I did have a quick look on Google about Salicylates but there is quite a lot to absorb so will take quite a while to read through and understand. I am not sure if the NHS will do allergy tests but I will ask my GP. It's very kind of you (and everybody else) who have responded to my question, it's been a great help. Many thanks again, much appreciated.

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If you do go down the road of getting allergy testing remember you have to be have been eating those items for quite a while beforehand. It's no good, for example, if you've been gluten free for a few weeks if you have the coeliac test. When i had it (because my sister is coeliac) the doctor asked me if i had been eating normally beforehand. Similarly with all other foods.

I'm lactose intolerant but can eat cheese (thankfully!) and yogurt without any problem as, so I understand, the lactose is broken down in the process of making them. I don't go near cream or ice cream as the higher the fat content the worse it seems to be.

My sister had terrible migraines and stomach bloating before she was diagnosed and since going GF she's also found that her constipation, iron deficiency and even her osteoporosis has got better! I think so much of the food we eat now is so 'messed about with' compared to when I was a child - I'm 66 - that our bodies react by sending us these signals.

The best advice I think was from the person who said eliminate what you think it might be and then introduce one at a time.

All the best :)


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Hi Martha, Thanks for your comments. Yes, of course it would make sense that when you are tested for an allergy you would have had to be actually consuming the things you think you are allergic to otherwise it wouldn't be a true reading. I hadn't actually thought of that. I have been GF now for some weeks and I am reluctant to go back onto wheat for the time being. I really want to know if I am allergic to diary, that would be a start.

Did you have a test to find out if you were lactose intolerant? I don't really understand very much about all this, there is a lot to asborb. Is Lactose naturally in Dairy? I know that lactose seems to be in just about everything these days.

I was intolerant to things as a child and couldn't have orange juice as it made me come up in huge hives. I am 69 and the food we ate when we were younger was fresh and pure with no additives etc. For those of us who are intolerant to all "this stuff" they are adding to our food, it is a nightmare. I find that I cannot take the medication I desperately need as it's full of things like Aspartame etc. which gives me terrible diahorrea (it's supposed to calm the diahorrea down!). I already have an IBS problem which is really severe so cannot risk taking anything that is going to make things worse. I am also Vitamin D3 deficient but the capsules and tablets I have tried to get my levels up, all give me diahorrea as they are full of things that don't suit me even though the labels say "natural ingredients". My system is now so sensitive I feel I must try and find out if I am making things worse by eating/drinking things think I am intolerant to.

I think you are right, it's best to eliminate what I think is causing the problem and see if it works, sounds like the simplest thing to do. Many thanks for taking the time to answer my query, very kind of you.

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Hi pump321

No, I didn't have a test re the dairy. Actually I had read a book called 'Curing arthritis the drug free way' which claimed that milk aggravated osteoarthritis, which I was starting with, so I eliminated milk from my diet. It didn't make a scrap of difference to my arthritis but I found that the wind, bloating and discomfort I'd had in my stomach just disappeared. I feel that, as I wasn't even looking for that reaction it made it even more definite for me.

I'm 66 and I'm told that I came out in a rash as a child if I ate oranges. I don't eat them now as they make my arthritic joints hurt - shame as I love them so much!!

I think you're absolutely right about the quality (or lack) of the food we are presented with now. When my sister was diagnosed as coeliac we both did loads of reading around the subject. I found out that there is 50 times as much gluten in wheat produced today as there was 50+ years ago!! It's been hybridised for profit! It's no wonder people have so many problems.

Over time you'll find out what suits you but it could be a long process. Mine seem small in comparison. I know I can't have caffeine (and that includes chocolate unfortunately) after about 4pm or I won't sleep and I keep off the dairy and citrus as I said. I've taken myself off Levothyroxine and I'm very happy on NDT. I also take 5000mcg of B12 sublingually every day. I have the Solgar one as the Jarrow has some kind of citrus in which made my joints ache. Gradually I'm sorting myself out without the help of the doctor. It's definitely been because of the people on this forum and the help and support I've received.

All the best x

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Hi Matty220, Thanks for replying, much appreciated. I couldn't believe it when you said that if you ate oranges as a child you came out in a rash as I had exactly the same trouble when I was a child too except that I came out in great big itchy hives all over my body. Thankfully we had a clever old doctor who understood and advised my mother to stop giving me orange juice. I can still remember the pain and terrible itching. My mother applied calomine lotion at night, it was lovely and cool and eased it a bit. It seems these intolerances start in childhood and continue throughout our lives.

It's interesting that going dairy free has improved your stomach and digestion which must be a bonus but sorry it didn't help your arthritis.

I'm not a bit surprised that there is more gluten in wheat nowadays than there used to be. There has to be a reason why so many people are having problems. If only we knew the whole truth about what they are really doing to our food! Actually, it's worrying when you think about what the children of today are actually digesting, it scares me when I read the terrible additives in fizzy drinks etc.

I'm pleased to hear you are sorting yourself out and finding your way through this maze with the help of your doctor. It certainly takes a lot of time and effort. I'm supposed to be on Vitamin D3 for low deficiency but sadly the capsules I take upset my stomach. I've bought Solgar which are about as pure as you can get. I think it's the soybean oil, gelatin and vegetable glycerin type ingredients, they don't affect most people but I'm so sensitve to just about everything. I am trying to sit in the sun as much as I can to build up some D3 naturally.

I am now changing over gradually from dairy to Rice Milk at the moment, I'm not doing it all in one go as it seems to shock my system so I'm hoping a little at a time will do the trick in the end.

Well, thanks again for getting in touch and all the best on your learning journey. This is such a helpful site, I know when I post a problem there will be some kind soul who will reply and give me some help. Take care and good luck x

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