Wednesday, February 27, 2013

LEAP MRT testing

I recently had a test that my new allergy doctor suggested to try and figure out some of my more serious, delayed reactions to foods.  It was really cosmic to see how accurate it was in finding the foods that bothered me, when the other common blood tests didn't show anything.  However, it didn't show a big reaction to coconut.  It is called LEAP MRT, which stands for Lifestyle, Eating, and Performance Mediator Release Testing.  It tests your blood over time to see whether it reacts by releasing mediators like histamine, cytokines, and/or prostaglandins when it contacts the food.  It doesn't say which kind of mediator is released, just that it happened.

My doctor has said this test has helped a lot of people, so I thought, why not go for it even though I had to pay for it all out of pocket.  The test alone cost me $295!  Not cool that even my slick PPO insurance doesn't cover it, but I was so intrigued, I had to spring for it.

It shows your reactions to more than a hundred foods and chemicals in green, yellow, or red, depending how your blood reacts to the trigger.  Here are some of my results for an example.  This is just for fun, because everyone's reactions will be vastly different, so my results will  not be anything like yours if you had the test.


This was the only test out there that shows chemical sensitivities, which I wasn't really worried about, but now I know that I have probably issues with some artificial colors.

Although coconut is on there and not considered really reactive as far as these mediators (even though if I eat or touch it I will have a textbook allergic reaction), maybe I should start worrying about sesame!
Here the section that shows my nemesis, wheat.   The only other things I was in the red zone for were peanut and tapioca.  I didn't realize I was having trouble with tapioca, since it's in all my gluten free bread. Darn!  

The question is, why did I not react to coconut in this test?  That is because this test shows a different type of reaction than the other allergy tests.  Although I will test positive on a skin test to coconut, it could be because my allergy is through mast cells and a tissue reaction rather than a blood reaction.  I am learning that there are so many different types of allergic-type reactions including things that are real reactions that doctors don't have a label to give to yet, so they just call them sensitivities! 

In any case, this test is mostly marketed to people with IBS or migraines, but it supposedly can help people with autoimmune issues, autism, ADHD, chronic congestion, etc.  So, I guess I have a few more foods to watch out for. 

The program intends for you to work with a nutritionist to plan your meals and do an elimination/ reintroduction diet.  That would cost me an extra $100 and the booklet explains how to do this, so I am going to set out to do it myself.  The real benefit to this is that the booklet has already included which foods for me to introduce when, so they already did most of the work.

12 comments:

Frances Arnold said...

Hi there,

I am a LEAP dietitian, and can help answer your question. The reason that your results did not show you are allergic to coconut is that this is testing for food sensitivities, not food allergies. I know, it seems like they would be similar, right? But food sensitivities activate a completely different component of the immune system from a food allergy. Without getting too technical, the MRT test (which was your test) tests for non-Ige immune responses to foods. It's looking for a delayed reaction to foods to which you are sensitive. Food allergies react with IgE mediators of the immune system. So, the MRT test is not a test for food allergies, just as a food allergy test will not test food sensitivities.

This is considered a very high quality test with high specificity. I'm hoping that you've had a good experience thus far. $100 to work with a dietitian is very inexpensive. ;-) And, to help you feel better about your investment, consider how much money, time and energy go into living with unresolved symptoms of hidden food sensitivities? For $295 plus the cost to work with an RD, most people consider this a bargain because they feel like the LEAP program gives them their lives back. $1000 is a small price to pay to reduce or resolve headache/migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, fibromyalgia, joint pain, brain fog, fatigue, weight issues, and so many more symptoms. You are putting out the fire at the source instead of treating the symptoms.

By the way, your allergist is clearly on the ball to be recommending this test. What is his name, and where is his practice?

Let me know if you have other questions. Frances at Namaste Nutritionist dot com. I'm happy to help!

Best wishes to you. =-)

Becky said...

Hi Frances! Thanks for visiting the coconut allergy world! :-) I think RD's are the smartest people on earth. What a cool job to have. I've been on my meal plan for a few weeks now and it's going well. The only thing that got confusing is that I didn't specify exactly which nuts I'm allergic to so some of the ones I can't actually eat are in my plan, so it's a little weird. Other than that, I've had to learn not to eat the same old "safe" foods day after day, and the most liberating thing for me has been to add more variety to my diet and take days off from food groups. Like, eating dairy every third day, and not rice every single day in one form or another. It's interesting and I have a lot of allergy cookbooks which have helped me think outside the box (now I'm like, YUM- spinach and mushroom on a corn tortilla- LOL! It's kind of fun in a way.

Sage said...

Your doctor's info would be great! Sounds like I need to take this test.

Becky said...

I am in Texas, but allergists all over now do this test. They just get a kit from the company and send it in. You can call a few allergists in your local area to see if anyone will do it, and what they charge.

Sage said...

Thanks, Becky. I'll do that!

Joanna Costilla said...

Hi. You seem to be very knowledgeable when it comes to coconut allergy. I have a very mild sensitivity to coconut but my son has a severe allergy and it seems to be worse when it’s eaten. I’m very new to the food allergy world and I’m having a hard time navigating what he can and cannot eat. I read and check all labels but sometimes he’ll have a reaction even when there’s not coconut or coconut oil listed on the label. Does this ever happen to you and do you know of other names coconut might be listed under on food labels? This has been a very scary experience for us and each time the reaction is more severe and happens faster. Also, he's only 9, do you know if this test would be an option for him?

Becky said...

Food labels are usually pretty clear about coconut. I haven't found it hidden under other names on food labels. My personal theory is that if your immune system has malfunctioned and developed an allergy to one food, chances are it has developed an allergy to multiple foods. Or you have food allergies and food sensitivities like I do, which are different type of immune reactions. I do think this test is available for kids, but an allergist would want to do it will all the other tests, too.

Joanna Costilla said...

Thank you so much! I'll make sure to get him to an allergist asap. Your blog has been very helpful during this scary time. I never knew that coconut was in so many household items.

threehappypenguins said...

I second that LEAP dietitian! I am looking forward to getting my husband tested. We know a few culprits that cause delayed sensitivity. So if those show up, and his known IgE mediated foods don't show up, then we know this is a very accurate test! :)

What the MRT tests for is type IV delayed hypersensitivity. IgE-mediated is type I. It is actually a "humoral mediated" reaction that has to do with B-cells (a type of white blood cell). Type IV is a "cell mediated" reaction that has to do with T-cells (a type of white blood cell).

Check out Khan Academy's immunology section: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/immunology

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky,

Unfortunately I've found that not to be the case. Coconut oils and the drupe itself are labelled, but many things (Dots candy, as an example) have provoked painful reactions without being labelled on the box. Its a good idea to keep an eye out, if it seems like it could be in something. I've only lived with a coconut allergy for a year or two, but it is certainly surprising how prevalent the stuff is today.
Cheers, and good luck in your endeavors.

Lizanne Kirkland said...

In Scotland we have something called a Vega test where it takes electrical impulses from various stimulants 2c what ur allergic 2. It how I found out my coconut allergy became airborne.

Lizanne Kirkland said...

In Scotland we have something called a Vega test where they test electrical impulses to various stimulants it how I found out my allergy to coconut was airborne. Its a homeopathic test so I didn't think it would pick anything up. But sure enough it came back with allergy and intolerances to various things.