Updated on: November 9, 2020

As many as 8% of children and 11% of adults are suffering from some sort of allergy, and even a higher percentage experience some type of intolerance. With a range of awful, and similar, symptoms, both intolerances and allergies can be a nightmare to deal with. 

The best way to deal with these conditions is to avoid the food or environmental irritant that’s causing them. That’s why these at-home tests have become so popular in recent years. But, seeing as so many of them have popped up on the market, they’re not all totally reliable.

So we took the top allergy and intolerance tests on the market and narrowed down the best of the best. In this article, we’ll lay out the best 3 test kits for anyone suffering from the symptoms of an environmental or food allergy or intolerance.

The Difference Between an Allergy and an Intolerance

While environmental and food allergies and intolerances may cause a lot of similar symptoms, the two conditions are quite different. Most environmental and food reactions are caused by intolerances, but allergic reactions can be a lot more severe. For this reason, knowing whether your symptoms are the result of intolerances or allergic reactions is incredibly important.

The main differences between allergic reactions and intolerances are:

Environmental or Food Allergy: Allergies tend to be far more severe than intolerances, and a food allergy can even be deadly in some cases. Unlike food intolerance, a food allergy causes an immune system response which could affect a number of your body’s organs. This response can be severe, and, in some rare cases, such as seafood or peanut allergies, it can be life-threatening.

Environmental allergies are not nearly as serious as a food allergy could be, but they’re still rather unpleasant. They’re caused by something in your surrounding environment, such as dander or pollen, rather than something you’ve ingested. These allergies also cause an immune response and have a number of unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Wheezing
  • Itching

For those with asthma, an environmental allergy can be especially severe, and, in some rare cases, even life-threatening.

Environmental or Food Intolerance: Intolerances tend to be far less severe than allergies, and aren’t life-threatening. Those with these food sensitivities can usually ingest small amounts of the offending food without much issue. The symptoms of food intolerance can vary quite a bit depending on the type of intolerance. Some of the different causes of food intolerances include:

  • Inability to Digest Lactose — This is when you lack the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Known as lactose intolerance, some of the symptoms include diarrhea, gas, cramps, and bloating.
  • Food additive sensitivity — Some people are incredibly sensitive to certain common food additives, such as sulfites or preservatives. This intolerance can lead to trouble breathing, including asthma attacks in those affected.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome — Certain foods can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in sensitive populations. While the cause of IBS isn’t fully understood, it’s known that diet and sensitivities to certain foods play a role. Some IBS symptoms include constipation/diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and cramps.
  • Celiac disease — This condition is caused by ingesting gluten, a protein that is commonly found in wheat and some other grains. While considered a gluten intolerance, celiac disease does cause an immune response similar to an allergy. The best treatment for this condition is eliminating gluten from your diet.

Intolerances to environmental items have many similar symptoms to environmental allergies and are often confused. Where they mainly differ is that an allergy involves the immune system, while an intolerance does not.

The Top 3 Intolerance and Allergy Tests

EverlyWell Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test


3 Best At-Home Intolerance and Allergy Tests 1

According to InnerBody, EverlyWell’s allergy tests had a surprisingly high rate of accuracy of 90% to 95% based on their independent laboratory testing. This makes the EverlyWell Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test one of the most accurate at-home allergy tests on the market. 

Using a small blood sample, this EverlyWell allergy test kit will check if you’re reacting to a variety of indoor and outdoor allergens. This includes 9 types of weeds, 14 trees, 4 molds, 7 kinds of grass, 2 pet allergens, 2 pests, and 2 types of dust mites. Unfortunately, the test only checks for environmental allergies and doesn’t look at food allergens.

Features:

  • Tests for 40 common indoor and outdoor allergens
  • Measures your IgE antibodies
  • Includes everything you need to take and submit your sample of blood
  • Receive personalized and actionable results to help take control of your health
  • Tested by CLIA-certified laboratories
  • Physician reviewed results
  • Test results returned in a matter of days once your kit is verified

5Strands Environmental Intolerance Test


3 Best At-Home Intolerance and Allergy Tests 2

The Environmental Intolerance Test checks if you may be suffering from an adverse reaction to a variety of different commonly found indoor and outdoor items. The test is pain-free, and simply uses five strands of your hair (hence the company name) to run its bioresonance screening. The intolerances it checks for can cause a variety of symptoms, including sleeping problems, skin rash, headaches, and acne.

This hair test is quite extensive and covers 190 different environmental items. Some of the types of things 5Strand’s test covers include cleaning materials, trees, grasses, chemical additives, dust mites, and flowers. The actionable results you receive even includes an avoidance guideline to help you narrow down which irritants are causing your adverse reactions.

Features:

  • Tests for intolerance to more than 190 different items
  • Actionable results that include a 60 to 90-day avoidance guideline
  • Uses their unique bioresonance technology to analyze your hair sample
  • Results will tell you your reactivity level using a scale from Level 1 to Level 3
  • Test results should be returned within 7 to 10 days after your hair sample has been received

5Strands Food Intolerance Test


3 Best At-Home Intolerance and Allergy Tests 3

5Strands Food Intolerance test uses a few strands of hair to check if you’re suffering from an adverse reaction to food due to an intolerance. Food intolerances can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including inflammation, skin irritation, water retention, stomach pain, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, and joint pain. The test includes actionable results such as a temporary elimination diet guide.

The food sensitivity test can check for intolerances to more than 600 different food items. The items tested for include proteins, grains, additives, alcohols, nuts, preservatives, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. And with around 65% of both adults and teenagers suffering from some sort of lactose intolerance, testing for dairy intolerance is a good idea. Unfortunately, the test does not check your IgE or IgG reactivity levels to indicate if you have any allergy triggers.

Features:

  • Tests if you’re suffering from an intolerance to 600+ different food items
  • The pain-free test simply requires 5 strands of your hair
  • Uses its unique bioresonance technology to analyze your sample
  • Includes a 60 to 90-day elimination diet guide
  • Indicates how severe your reactivity level is using a scale of Level 1 to Level 3
  • Receive your test results back in 7 to 10 days after your sample has been received

Which Test Is Best for You?

The answer to this question all depends on what your symptoms are and what questions you’re trying to answer. If you’re showing environmental allergy or intolerance symptoms, which are often similar, it may be a good idea to take both EverlyWell’s allergy test kit as well as 5Strands Environmental Intolerance Test. That way you can narrow down whether it’s an environmental allergy, intolerance, or both that are causing your symptoms.

However, if you’re suffering from something like irritable bowel syndrome or you suspect lactose intolerance, you should consider 5Strands Food Intolerance Test. While the other tests focus more on environmental irritants, this test will let you know if it’s your diet that’s causing your problems.

FAQ

Are At-Home Allergy Tests Reliable?

EverlyWell’s at-home allergy test kit results were analyzed by an independent laboratory and were shown to have a 90% and 95% accuracy level.

What guidance will I get with my results?

If you take either EverlyWell’s allergy test or 5Strands Environmental Intolerance test, you’ll receive an avoidance guide to help you stay away from the environmental item that’s responsible for your discomfort. With 5Strands Food Intolerance Test, you’ll receive an elimination diet guide to help you adjust your eating habits.

Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.

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