Inappropriate test for food allergy – ALCAT

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ALCAT is a test marketed to test for food allergy or food intolerance. It basically measures changes in the white-cell diameter after laboratory challenge to numerous different allergens or substances. Unfortunately, this method has not been scientifically validated and has no concrete published evidence. When blinded samples were sent, the test demonstrated no reproducibility (This means when the same sample were sent twice, the results came out completely different even though they were from the same sample).

The test also could not demonstrate food allergy or intolerance in patients that had true diagnosis of food allergy or intolerance. It is important to get proper evaluation by a trained and certified Allergist for evaluation of your food allergy.

Below is the statement position by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy:

Cytotoxic testing (also known as Bryans’ or ALCAT testing)

Use: Diagnosis of food sensitivity / allergy.

Method: A suspension of patient white cells is incubated with dried food extracts on a microscope slide. Changes in the appearance and movement of cells are interpreted as representing a sensitivity or “allergy” to that food. The ALCAT test is a variation, whereby a mixture of blood and food extracts is analysed in an automated Coulter counter.

Comment: These results have been shown to not be reproducible, give different results when duplicate samples are analysed blindly, don’t correlate with those from conventional testing, and “diagnose” food hypersensitivity in subjects with conditions where food allergy is not considered to play a pathogenic role.

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