IgE tests: Frequently Asked Questions

WellPro is the Wellness Division of MDS. In this division we aim to improve your health, lifestyle and longevity by making use of the latest scientific advancements offering a focused approach to your health. We work with individuals with a great passion and interest in the area of nutrition and genetics giving you access to their professional services to answer your queries and offer assistance on your road to health and wellness. We look forward to helping you.

What is the difference between IgE and IgG tests?

IgE type allergic reactions tend to occur immediately (approximately 15-20 minutes) after ingestion of a certain food or after coming into contact with a particular inhalant. These foods or inhalants will need to be continuously avoided to prevent such a reaction. Symptoms associated with IgG Type III food hypersensitivities (ImuPro test) tend to be more delayed in onset (about 2-72 hours after eating a specific food) and one aims to reintroduce the food back into the diet after a certain time. It is important to note that if you are aware of any IgE reactions to certain foods, you must continue to avoid the foods causing these reactions. With regards the ImuPro test we look specifically for IgG antibodies, not IgE antibodies.

How do I know if I should request the food or inhalation IgE panel?

This depends largely on your reactions. If you tend to have reactions such as asthma, rashes, itchy skin or eyes, hay fever etc, it could be beneficial to start with the inhalation panel. If your symptoms are swollen or tingly lips, tongue, eyes or vomiting, it is more likely that food could cause these reactions. Also pay close attention as to when you experience the reaction; for example is it after you’ve been outside or could it be seasonal, or is it after you’ve eaten something in particular? Keeping a food diary to record the time and the type of foods you eat as well as what and when the symptoms occur is very useful to determine whether an allergen can be identified. It is very important to contact an allergy specialist should you have anaphylactic reactions (severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction) or other serious symptoms soon after coming into contact with an allergen.

What is the significance of testing for total IgE?

As there are many things from preservatives to spices that could cause an IgE reaction, it is impossible to test for everything. We offer the various panels to cover the common allergenic foods or inhalants, but it is possible that something besides what it tested is causing an IgE reaction. In this case, only the total IgE will be raised and it will be beneficial for you to contact an allergy specialist and to keep a food and activity diary to keep a record of what you have eaten or products you have used and note any reactions that occur.

Where can I go to have my blood taken?

In South Africa, selected Dis-Chem pharmacies stock kits for our tests. They will charge you R40 for taking the sample. Wellness Warehouse on Kloof Street in Cape Town also stocks kits, they will charge you R80 for taking the sample. Alternatively you may make an appointment to have your sample taken at the MDS head office situated in Westville (031 267 7000). If you are also having an ImuPro test done with us, we can use the same blood sample for both tests.

How are results sent out?

Results are emailed to you within 10-14 working days from receiving the sample and payment. Alternatively, you may receive them from your practitioner if you were referred by one to do the IgE Test as s/he will also receive a copy.