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588 Dietary Antigen

588-Complete Dietary Antigen Testing

A panel of 88 dietary antigens are probed for specific IgG/C3d and IgE/IgG4 molecules.
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What are Food Sensitivities?

Food sensitivities may start during infancy. They are most common among children whose parents have food allergies, allergic rhinitis, or allergic asthma. Infants and young children with food sensitivities tend to be allergic to the most common allergy triggers (allergens), such as those in eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. Food allergies are sometimes blamed for such disorders as hyperactivity in children, chronic fatigue, arthritis, and depression, as well as poor athletic performance. However, these associations have not been substantiated.

The majority of human allergies are caused by a limited number of inhaled small-protein allergens that elicit immune response in susceptible individuals. We inhale many different proteins that do not induce immune response which raises the question of what is unusual about the proteins that are common allergens.

Although we do not yet have a complete answer, some general principles have emerged.  Many allergens are relatively small, highly soluble proteins that are carried on desiccated particles such as pollen grains or mite feces. On contact with the mucosa of the airways, for example, the soluble allergen eludes from the particle and diffuses into the mucosa. Typically, when the immune system is first exposed to an allergen, a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) is produced in response.

Besides IgE there are three other antibodies that are capable of tagging allergens that are absorbed into you bloodstream; they are immunoglobulin M (IgM), immunoglobulin G (IgG), and immunoglobulin A (IgA). There are certain antigens and routes of antigen presentation to the immune system that favor the production of IgE. CD4 TH2 cells can switch the antibody iso type from IgM to IgE, or they can cause switching to IgG2 and IgG4 (human) or IgG1 and IgG3 (mouse) (see Section 9-4). Antigens that selectively evoke TH2 cells that drive an IgE response are known as allergens.

Why Should I Test for Food Sensitivities?

Researchers estimate that at least 60% of the U.S. population suffers from unsuspected food reactions that can cause or complicate health problems. Symptoms can be extraordinarily diverse, ranging from arthritis to eczema to migraines. In extreme cases, food allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock and death if untreated. Fortunately, most people do not have severe reactions.

Clinical Signs and Symptoms:

Eczema Joint Pain Constipation Diarrhea
Gas Headaches Bloating Palpitations
Bowel Dysfunction Anxiety Depression Indigestion
Fatigue Congestion Rheumatoid Arthritis Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

What you eat every day sends a very important message to your body and even to your DNA. On average in the U.S., we spend approximately 2.5 hours eating or drinking1 each day, and we consume 1,966.3 pounds of food (nearly one ton) each year!2 When evaluating your health, it is important to analyze the foods you eat often to see how your immune system responds to them. In a study of 30 people who took the Food Sensitivity Profile, headaches and chronic GI symptoms involving pain, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating decreased when allergenic foods were identified and removed.3

Because of the high frequency of food sensitivities and the tremendous quantity of food that we eat on a regular basis, many doctors use food sensitivity testing to help get to the root cause of chronic, unexplained illnesses.

What is Unique about the Dunwoody Labs Food Sensitivity Profile?

Technology and Methodology
The Dunwoody Labs Dietary Antigen and Environmental Allergen Exposure Profiles are the only test on the market that measures both IgG and immune complexes containing the complement fragment complement (C3d), for multiple food antigens and actually reports it. Random serum samples were measured for dietary allergen-specific immunoglobulin using the Dietary Antigen and Environmental Allergen Exposure Profiles. Dietary Antigen and Environmental Allergen Exposure Profiles are optimized for the for the semi-quantitative measurement of human immunoglobulins IgA, IgE, IgG, IgG4 and IgM in serum samples using an indirect ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).  The system also is capable of detecting immune complexes that contain the complement markers C3D or C1q. Removing allergenic foods based on these results dramatically decreased those food reactions in 30 subjects and was confirmed in follow-up tests.3

Complement Activation
The Dietary Antigen and Environmental Allergen Exposure Profiles measures complement activation for multiple foods. Complement activation is well-defined in the research as not only a cause of inflammation but one of the strongest causes. The complement pathway acts as the body’s SWAT team to aggressively attack and clear threats, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and allergens. It is part of our innate system, meaning that we are born with this immune defense mechanism.

Complement components patrol the blood harmlessly, but in an instant can go on the attack to kill and remove dangerous molecules from the body. When activated, the complement pathway sets off a domino effect of inflammatory cytokines, mast cell degranulation, and cell membrane destruction. It is a powerful protective force but can damage tissues if not kept under control. Complement is a quantifiable, reliable biomarker of tissue inflammation.

Complement serves as a link between the innate and adaptive immune response.4-6   This is because complement uses immunoglobulins to help identify dangerous molecules that should be destroyed. IgG1, IgG3, and IgM can activate complement.

IgG Subclasses 1–4
Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the main immunoglobulin circulating in human blood and helps protect us from infection and outside antigens. There are four subclasses: IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4. IgG1 responds to new food antigens. IgG2 and IgG3 react to cell surface oligosaccharides of viruses, protozoa, and foods, which can be allergenic. IgG4 is commonly related to delayed food sensitivity symptoms. IgG can also activate the complement system to recruit an inflammatory response. The Dietary Antigen and Environmental Allergen Exposure Profiles measures total IgG (subclasses 1-4) antibodies for 88 foods.

Technological advancements

Other Food Sensitivity Methods may use a technology known as live cell analysis. In this technique, patients’ white cells are put on a plate, exposed to a food, and any reaction is measured and recorded. However, white cell growth is not an accepted sign of true food sensitivity or allergic reaction. Growth can be caused by many things.

Other antibody assays may only measure IgG antibodies, which can miss food reactions that activate the inflammatory complement cascade. Finally, other food sensitivity tests may measure only certain subclasses of IgG antibodies, rather than measuring all four, as on Dunwoody Labs Dietary Antigen and Environmental Allergen Exposure Profiles Profile.

What Foods Does the Test Measure?

List of 88 Foods and Additives Measured by the Dietary Antigen and Environmental Allergen Exposure Profiles:
Dunwoody Labs 588G detects adverse reactions to 88 foods. In addition to common allergens, our other profiles will also measure molds and other environmental allergens.

List of 88 Foods and Additives Measured by the Dietary Antigen and Environmental Allergen Exposure Profiles:

AlmondAppleAsparagusAspergillus Mix
BeefBlack PepperBlueberryBrewer's Yeast
CottonseedCow's MilkCrabCucumber
Dill SeedEgg AlbuminEgg YolkEnglish Walnut
Goat's MilkGrapefruitGrapes Green Olive
FlounderGarlicGlutenGreen Pea
Green PepperHalibutHoneydew MelonHorseradish
Kidney BeanLemonLettuceLime
LobsterMushroomMustardNavy Bean
PeppermintPineapplePinto BeanPlum
SoybeanSpinachSquash MixStrawberry
PorkRiceRyeSunflower Seed
Sweet PotatoTeaTomatoTuna
TurkeyVanilla WatermelonWhite Potato
Whole Wheat

Does this Test Measure Immediate Food Sensitivity Reactions like Hives or Anaphylaxis?

No , our test examines immediate allergic responses and sensitivities to 88 common foods. This test does not specify what type of allergic response a person may have after coming in contact with the antigen. Allergic symptoms can vary from person to person.

What Should I Do Before I Take This Test?

• Make sure your doctor knows about all medications and supplements you are currently taking.
• Tell your doctor at the time of the test if there are any foods that you DO NOT eat. This is important when interpreting the results.
• Immunosuppressive medications, such as prednisone, can reduce your immune reactions to foods. If you are on these medications, discuss this with your doctor before taking the test.
• Arrange blood collection for Monday–Thursday.
• See blood draw collection instructions inside test kit.

How Are Food Sensitivities Treated?

If your test results show you have food sensitivities, it means your immune system is attacking certain foods. Doctors generally remove severe, high, and moderately reactive foods and rotate healthy foods in an effort to heal the gastrointestinal lining. Later, foods may be reintroduced one at a time to see if they cause problems. Each report includes a rotation diet template, shopping list so that dietary changes are easy to make. Depending on your clinical history and symptoms, your doctor may use treatments such as enzymes, probiotics, and antimicrobial herbal formulas.

If you have signs of intestinal permeability, your doctor may use supplements designed to strengthen your gastrointestinal lining. Sometimes further testing is needed to find out why a person has so many food reactions, such as a Comprehensive Stool Analysis or Intestinal Barrier Assessment.

Further Resources and References


Clinical Use
Assess the risk of Type II and Type III hypersensitivity reactions (food intolerance) to dietary antigens.

Clinical Background
Tolerance is the normal immune response to the food an individual eats over a lifetime.1 A food allergy is an abnormal immune reaction consisting of hypersensitivity to food components, most commonly proteins.2,3 Allergic reactions to dietary antigens can be immediate or delayed and the rate and types of reaction indicate different immune responses. Peter Gell and Robert Combs developed a system to classify these different reactions that were later found to correlate with four different molecular pathways that lead to allergic responses. The four types were sensibly given the names Type I, II, III and IV hypersensitivity. There are four subclasses of the G-type immunoglobulins produced in hypersensitivity reactions to dietary allergens, and some of the subclasses of IgG are the most difficult to detect.

In this report Type II/III responses are detected by measuring the IgG response to specific dietary antigens that mediates the production of food-specific immune complexes. IgG-mediated immune complexes may be tagged for complement activity by complement antigens such as C1q and C3d. The absence or presence of complement activity is essential to the pathological pathway that the immune system follows in response to the offending dietary antigen or food group.

Individual Suitable For Testing
Individuals with a history of food intolerance to specific dietary antigens or those who are actively displaying symptoms of food intolerance.

Colorimetric enzyme immunoassay (EIA) measurement of IgG antibodies and complement markers contained within dietary antigen-specific immune complexes.

Analytical Sensitivity
IgG: 8 ng/mL
C3d: 1097 ng/mL

Interpretive Information†
Moderate-to-high IgG reactivity to specific dietary antigens in the presence of a compliment marker* may be associated with a high risk of systemic reaction, including type II and type III hypersensitivity.

Moderate-to-high IgG reactivity to specific dietary antigens in the absence of a complement marker* may be associated with high titers of IgG4 and a variable risk for systemic food intolerance. Patients who exhibit moderate-to-high IgG reactivity to specific dietary antigens should be counseled to avoid foods that contain said antigen. Patients with low or mild reactivity to specific dietary antigens may consider taking an oral food challenge test. If negative, they may not have to avoid the food groups containing those antigens.3 Low-to-undetectable IgG reactivity to the panel of 88 dietary antigens may indicate a low titer of total IgG, or immune tolerance to the listed food groups.

References 1. Vickery BP, Scurlock AM, Jones SM, Burks AW. Mechanisms of immune tolerance relevant to food allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;127(3):576. 2. Chehade M, Mayer L. Oral tolerance and its relation to food hypersensitivities. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005;115(1):3. 3. Burks AW, Laubach S, Jones SM. Oral tolerance, food allergy, and immunotherapy: implications for future treatment. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;121(6):1344.

Physician literature

Collection Instructions

Collection Instructions




  1. Check your kit! If any items are missing or damaged, contact Dunwoody Labs at (678) 736-6374. This kit should include the following:
    • 1 cold pack
    • 1 requisition form
    • 1 biohazard bag with gauze pad
    • 1 silver insulated shipping envelope
    • 1 prepaid shipping label
    • 1 clinical shipping pack (FedEx)
    • 1 transfer pipette
    • 3 Tiger Top SST tubes
    • 2 Blue Top transfer tubes




  1. Place cold pack in freezer for at least 4-6 hours minimum before shipping.
  2. Collect the blood in the SST tube provided.
  3. Allow the blood to sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Centrifuge the blood for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Transfer the serum from the Tiger Top SST tubes to the Blue Top transfer tubes.
  6. Using a permanent marker, write the patient’s first and last name, date of birth, and date of collection on each sample tube.
  7. Store the sample in a 2-8°C refrigerator until ready to ship. Do not freeze. Frozen samples will not be processed.




  1. Make sure the specimen tubes are properly labeled. Due to federal regulations, improperly labeled tubes cannot be processed.
  2. Place the tube(s) inside of the biohazard bag and seal the bag. Do not remove gauze pad.
  3. Complete the Test Requisition Form, fold and place the form within the outer pocket of the biohazard bag.
  4. Place the biohazard bag into the insulated shipping envelope.
  5. Place the cold pack inside the insulated shipping envelope.
  6. Seal the shipping envelope and place it inside the shipping box.
  7. Place the shipping box inside the clinical mailing pack.
  8. Attach prepaid shipping label.
  9. Take the package to the shipping carrier’s storefront location or call the carrier to schedule a pickup.


Methodology of the Dietary Antigen Test 588c

Dietary Antigen Testing: Managing the Inflammatory Load (7min)

Dietary Antigen Testing: Managing the Inflammatory Load

Dietary Antigen Test Kit


What medications should I avoid with this test?

Steroids should be discontinued 72 hours before testing

Some examples of steroids include:

  • triamcinolone
  • cortisone
  • prednisone
  • methylprednisolone.