Frequently asked questions

To help you find answers to questions you might have, we collected questions that often occur …

... before the test (premises/preconditions/exclusion criteria)

No, the results are not comparable because the object of investigation is different. The ImuPro test detects delayed food allergies which are mediated by a build-up of IgG antibodies in the blood against a particular food. The standard allergy test (like the skin prick/scratch test) is designed to detect immediate reactions to ingested food mediated by IgE antibodies.

IgG stands for “Immunoglobulin G”. These are the antibodies found in the human blood. They are used by the immune system to identify, neutralize, and destroy foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses, or other large foreign molecules. Everybody has IgG antibodies, but occasionally they start to react against foods. This is what can cause food allergies or delayed-onset food allergies (food hypersensitivities, commonly also known as food intolerance). IgE mediated allergies (type I) are completely different from IgG mediated allergies (type III). An IgE allergy is a traditional “true” allergy, its symptoms occur immediately and remain for your whole life. IgG food allergies occur delayed and may decrease or disappear if the change in diet according to the ImuPro results is strictly followed. For this change the IgE findings must be taken into account and the respective food must always be avoided.

Food intolerance is commonly no reaction of the immune system but associated with gastrointestinal symptoms stemming from the problems of the digestive system with certain foods. Food hypersensitivity is the reaction of the body´s immune system with a wide spectrum of symptoms and mechanisms.

Vaccinations have a strong immune stimulating effect with the goal to produce high levels of IgG antibodies against the selected virus or bacteria. Some individuals react violently to such vaccinations. It is highly probable that in such cases unspecific bindings occur and lead to unspecific IgG positive reactions in the ImuPro test. We therefore recommend keeping a time gap of at least 9 months between the vaccination and the blood drawing for the test.

Yes, blood and plasma transfusions will probably have an impact on the ImuPro result, unless it was an autologous blood donation. With a blood transfusion from another person, all his IgG antibodies are also transferred. ImuPro will certainly detect the patient´s own antibodies to food, but it can’t discriminate between own and acquired antibodies. In this case the number of IgG reactions can be elevated.

The ImuPro test is calibrated for normal IgG immune response. We recommend not taking it the ImuPro test, if the total IgG value is more than 20 % below the lower reference value. In the case you know that you have values below the reference range, the ImuPro lab should be informed. The same applies to monoclonal gammopathy because too large amounts of monoclonal IgG antibodies may lead to impaired results.

A baby´s immune system has the IgG inherited from its mother during pregnancy and is not fully developed until the age of one year. For children under 12 months we therefore recommend that the mother be tested. In case of nursing mother and children from the age of 12 months and older, both, the baby and the mother should be tested, and the mother should adapt her diet accordingly.

From our experience there are no problems with patients having a cold or even a fever. Though, as a precaution, we advise to wait until after it has gone before having their blood sample drawn.

It is sufficient if you have fasted 2 to 4 hours prior to the blood withdrawal. A 12-hour fasting is not mandatory for IgG tests. However, you should bear in mind that blood samples taken shortly after a meal are often lipemic and show a considerably worse test variance. We therefore recommend that the last meal eaten before the blood withdrawal should not have been a fatty meal. In practice, this means: There is no problem if, for example, you have had a normal breakfast at 8 o’clock and come for the blood withdrawal at 11:00. Yet it is not advisable if you have had a heavy lunch at 1 o’clock and come for the test at 2.30.

A long course of immunosuppressant medication, such as cortisone, steroids, prednisone, etc., may affect the results. Likewise a long course of antibiotics can distort the results. Antibiotics can damage the intestinal flora which may lead to more reactions in the ImuPro test.nnTNF blockers have so far not been shown to have any adverse effect on results from an ImuPro test. Also steroid based inhalers and cortisone cream are no contraindication to the test. Their concentrations are low and their effects are local. However, you should let the ImuPro team know your concern about your medication prior to ordering the test so that the team can tell you whether it will be a problem. To be absolutely sure we recommend determining the total IgG value in serum. If it is not decreased below the reference range, no negative impact on the ImuPro result should occur.

We believe that ImuPro is successful in almost all autoimmune diseases including Lupus, Psoriasis, Crohn´s disease, Hashimoto, or the rare autoimmune disorder ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura). Therefore we encourage patients to do the test. Even though food hypersensitivity may not be the primary cause, it will maintain and aggravate autoimmun diseases. Changing the diet according to ImuPro test results and recommendations can significantly improve the symptoms.

... about the test (certification/reliability/allergens)

First of all, the ImuPro test detects IgG antibodies against food, i.e. delayed food allergies which cause chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diarrhoea, flatulence, migraine, overweight, auto-immune diseases, or skin diseases. We provide you with the test results, your personal recipe book containing recipes tailored to your personal needs, and your individual nutritional guide which helps you through the following three phases.nnDuring elimination phase the foods you react to are excluded from your diet so the inflammatory burden is reduced and your body can recover. In the provocation phase these eliminated foods are reintroduced to the diet one by one to help you find you personal “trigger food“. If the symptoms reappear, you will know that the food you just have reintroduced may be responsible for your complaints. (This strategy is also used in IgE mediated classic allergy.)nnAfter the identification of your trigger foods they ALL should be avoided for at least one year in the stabilization phase so that the IgG antibodies can degrade and your body can recover. Allowable foods can be rotated on a 4 to 5 days basis. If you do not want to go through provocation phase, you have to avoid all positive tested foods for at least one year – without any exception.

Generally the ImuPro test is performed using the ELISA method which is a well-established standard procedure in laboratory analysis. Our results are reliable and reproducible and are checked through regular quality controls in labs across different countries.nnRegarding the results: First of all, just because there is no visible symptom caused by IgG antibodies, it doesn’t mean there is no reaction at all. If the immune system builds IgG antibodies to attack a certain food you have eaten, this may lead to an inflammatory process which might not be visible from the outside or by obvious symptoms. Secondly, ImuPro doesn’t claim to show a connection between a food and a certain symptom. It is a first step in finding foods that might cause or contribute to your problems.

The ImuPro tests and antigens are manufactured by the German company R-Biopharm AG, Darmstadt under strict quality management ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 systems, accredited by the DQS according to the international standards ISO 9001 and EN 46001 (medical devices). In 2003, the company gained ISO 13485 quality management certification. All reagents used in the test are IVD-CE approved. Plus: ImuPro tests are processed in more than 20 laboratories worldwide, each run by specialists in this field – this enables us to conduct inter-laboratory trials on a yearly basis to ensure the consistency and quality of each and every step of this test.

Indeed, people with a metabolic syndrome and obesity often exhibit this combination of food hypersensitivity. This is due to their nutrition which often consists of these basic foods. So it is not surprising to find these items positive in our test. The problem is not limited to these foods. Each positive food contributes to obesity and metalbolic syndrome in predisposed patients. And they generally also have a leaky gut.

... regarding the change in diet

No. The intensity of a symptom rather depends on the amount of the food consumed and on the type of tissue, its sensitization and ability to bind circulating immune complexes which result from the interaction of food and IgG. However, in case of an increased IgG level, you should avoid the respective food for a longer time to let the IgG degrade.

First of all the IgG has to be eliminated so that you can eventually start eating these foods again – at least now and then in small quantities as part of your rotation diet. This can only be achieved through a strict avoidance for at least a year. After this you can check in another provocation phase if this food still triggers symptoms.

To avoid malnutrition and simplify your change in diet we suggest writing down the foods you have consumed for more than twice a week. If a certain food shows increased or highly increased results, it is to be avoided for a year. Most of the time are the foods eaten on a regular basis which cause problems.

We recommend avoiding a food until the greater part of symptoms has improved. The general advice is to eliminate it for at least 5 weeks, extending it to 8 weeks if the symptoms haven´t changed for better. If in doubt, eliminate the respective food for 8 weeks or agree to consult your therapist after 5 weeks.nnExperience has shown that 95 % of the patients recognize an improvement after 5 weeks. The physical conditions have stabilized – a perfect moment to start provocation phase, since the patient now knows how it feels to be doing well and best recognizes the return of a symptom to find out which food causes it.

Type I allergies are caused by IgE antibodies as immediate reactions to certain foods. The symptoms are redness, itching or rashes, and even vomiting or anaphylactic shock. So if you have known type I allergies, you should definitely avoid these foods – even if the ImuPro test shows no results for them. ImuPro determines IgG levels to detect delayed food allergies or food hypersensitivities.nnDo reactions to certain foods occur within 30 minutes hours after consumption, it is very useful to also test for IgE induced allergies. The RIDA qLine Allergy Panel 1 by R-Biopharm tests for the 20 most important foods, the RIDA qLine Allergy Panel 4 is especially designed for children, since the symptoms of their reactions to food and inhalation allergens are hard to distinguish.

Heat can change the antigenicity of the food proteins. Some of them are destroyed and loose their antigenicity, others can remain or can be created. For this reason, ImuPro tests for raw and cooked food when appropriate, so that you don’t miss an intolerant food.

100 % avoidance of identified food is best, of course. Not all IgG positive food leads to a specific symptom but is always involved in an inflammatory response. You have to find out which food causes which symptom after its reintroduction following the elimination phase. If it is identified as harmful, you have to avoid it 100 %. If the food reintroduced is not causing any symptoms, then we still recommend avoiding it, but an occasional intake is not dramatic. In the end it is very individual, depending on the amount of forbidden food or ingredients and the frequency of ingestion. In any case, it is better to stick to the diet, even if you cannot comply 100 %, rather than do nothing. If you don’t avoid the concerned food 100%, you risk never eliminating the IgGs and staying sensitive the rest of your life.nnIf you rarely cook for yourself, it makes the change in diet a bit more complicated – but not impossible. Some hints might help: In the restaurant or canteen sauces should be left out. Grilled meat or fish with potatoes or rice, vegetables or salad normally don’t cause problems – if not from the problematic food groups. You may order the salad without dressing and then use a dressing you brought along with you. Especially in the canteen, you can bring your own food: Make dinner your main meal and cook a larger portion to use the leftovers for a salad for lunch next day. In the restaurant you can ask the waiter which ingredients were used to cook a particular dish. However, we strongly recommend to consult a nutritionist, since nowadays it is not easy to identify hidden food ingredients.

All foods and additives not tested should be avoided during the first 8 to 10 weeks following the test. Afterwards, the procedure should be as follows: If you try a food which has not been tested, only introduce one food at a time and note any health problems that occur in the following week. If you do not have any adverse reactions, you may continue to include the food in your rotational diet. Also observe your body weight. An increase of approximately 1 kg or more overnight after introduction of a non-tested food is a sign of an inflammatory response with the retention of water which you can see on your scale. Then and in case of uncertainty we recommend takeing the comprehensive test for 270 foods.nnWhen you feel a craving for foodstuffs, try to hold out. These episodes normally subside after 3 to 5 days.

For two reasons malnutrition doesn’t occur with ImuPro: rotation and reintroduction. Based on the ImuPro findings of your possible trigger foods, a diet plan is created that removes them and rotates allowable foods on a 4 to 5 day basis. This maintains variety and nutrition which ensures that your body is supplied with everything it needs. After the provocation phase, certain foods may possibly be reintroduced back into your diet. So you will have even more foods to rotate, guaranteeing a diversified and balanced diet.nnThere also is no risk of an undersupply of calcium if you stick to the rotation. Most milk alternatives are calcium-enriched. Broccoli, for example, contains a high proportion of calcium. In case of an increased requirement of calcium, we recommend the intake of an orthomolecular dose with meals.

ImuPro and sports are not mutually exclusive but complement each other in an ideal way. Supplying your body with carbohydrates in foods you are reacting to, especially gluten, will drain your energy and physical power due to inflammatory processes. There are still some carbohydrates which you can eat (e.g. rice, potatoes, corn, etc.) so you can get your carbohydrate intake by those.nnIf there is no positive result for yeast, you can eat gluten-free breads. You may have to eat larger portions or more regularly and could also increase protein and fat intake with high quality fats rich in omega-3. Calcium supplements are a good idea, as a lot of minerals are lost during competition. Study results with athletes show that an increase of VO2max, reduction of lactate, better recovery, and better body/fat composition are achieved while adopting an ImuPro diet.

No. If you accidentally consume a foodstuff containing a prohibited hidden ingredient, you might feel less well for 3 days. If you do not repeat this mistake, your body will recover soon. However, we advise you to pay extra attention to what you eat since the success of your change in diet depends on how strictly you adhere to the guidelines. Also the guidance of a nutritionist could help you adhere to your change in diet.

... regarding specific food groups

Alcoholic beverages should be avoided during the first stage when the immune system is stabilized. Later on in the dietary change you may allow yourself a glass of dry or sparkling wine now and then.nnThe ImuPro tests do not analyze the beverages themselves but rather their ingredients – grapes, cereals, yeast, and malt. If you have increased quantities of IgG antibodies to one of these, you will have to do completely without the beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) produced from these items during the avoidance period. If you are gluten intolerant, all fermented drinks made from gluten containing grains must be avoided, such as beer but also malt drinks and some industrial smoothies and milk shakes. All spirits are gluten free unless gluten was added after distillation (cocktails). Malt whiskeys are gluten free, as nothing was added after distillation.

We test coffee beans as a whole and do not distinguish between coffee and caffeine. It could be that you react to both elements or only one of them. At the start avoid both. Wait for at least 3 weeks, or until your symptoms have stabilized, and then try a drink with caffeine in it.nnCoffee itself is not recommended, even if no reaction was detected in the test. Its roasting substances have an irritating effect on the intestinal mucosa and increase the permeability of the intestine for foodstuffs. They also increase the acid production in the stomach, leading to heartburn, bloated feeling, and sickness and additionally straining the intestinal mucosa. Our experience has shown that going without coffee has a positive effect. The stimulating effect of caffeine can be obtained by drinking black or green tea – drunk in rotation and not every day.

Yes. You should, however, attune your sweets to the rotation plan. Choose for example sweet maize biscuits if you use maize on that day or spelt crackers on your “spelt day”. Plus you should avoid industrially produced sweets, such as chocolate or cake, and prefer dried fruits or nuts instead, according to your reactions.

Of course only fruit and vegetables without reaction are allowed. Plus: Juices or smoothies are actually not really drinks but rather liquid food, often very high in sugar, since very large amounts of fruit or vegetables are necessary for a glass of juice. If you still want to drink some now and then, buy juice with 100 % fruit content without added sugar and dilute it with water.

Definitely yes. The skin is a very reactive immune organ which can absorb antigens. We have recognized that products on the skin or even inhaled antigens like lavender have led to symptoms. If you react to titanium oxide, eliminate all cosmetics and tooth paste containing TiO2. If you have high levels of IgG antibodies to milk products, avoid cosmetics like shower gel containing ingredients such as shea butter, milk protein and lactose.

No in all three cases. With ImuPro, we are testing the production of antibodies to specific proteins of the concerned food. We don´t test for lactose, because it is not a protein but a sugar which does not trigger antibody production. You might have a type III food allergy to dairy products, but this does not necessarily mean you are lactose intolerant and vice versa. Lactose-free milk contains the same proteins as normal milk – up to 30 major proteins. The major milk protein is casein, but we don’t differentiate in our test which protein causes a reaction. So, if you consume casein-free milk, you might be able to tolerate it but we cannot predict this. It would be best to totally eliminate milk products for the recommended time. After that, you should reintroduce one product at a time. All this applies to buffalo milk, too.

Cooked milk is milk boiled for at least 30 minutes, cooled down and the developed skin is removed. Boiling degrades the proteins of the milk and destroys most of the antigenic structures. Most patients with a reaction to cow’s milk can tolerate boiled cow’s milk. It contains the same amount of calcium as raw milk.nnNote: Pasteurized milk is only heated for 15 seconds at 75°C. UHT milk is heated for 1 to 2 seconds to 135°C; this is to decontaminate it. The quality of the proteins is not altered – with regard to ImuPro pasteurized milk and UHT milk are to be considered raw milk.

Cheese with and without rennet still contains the proteins from the cow’s milk used to make the cheese. We therefore would advise you not to have it.nnHalloumi is special. The milk (cow, sheep, or goat) used for its production is cooked in several steps for a longer time up to 90°C. During this process it loses some of its antigenicity which makes this cheese more tolerable for people with a milk allergy. So we test for Halloumi, in order to offer a possible additional alternative to patients with a milk allergy.

No, you might eat them. The lactic acid has nothing to do with milk.

Yes, we consider the fermented soy products to have the same reaction as soy beans. If soy beans are tested positive, we advise to also eliminate all soy derived products.

The fact that wheat (durum wheat has the same antigens) is positive and gluten is negative is a very normal situation. Wheat proteins consist of gluten and wheat specific proteins which are investigated with two completely different tests. It is possible to be sensitized to either of them or both of them. The same applies to kamut and other cereals: You can show no reaction to gluten but react to different sorts of flour if you have a hypersensitivity to the specific proteins of the cereal.

There is little likelihood that the products actually contain gluten. This expression means that the product was produced in an environment where also gluten containing foods are processed. So if you don´t have celiac disease you are free to enjoy them.

All foods containing egg white – which are quite a number of products. Its proteins may behind the following naming: yolk, egg white, ovalbumin, livetin, albumin, lysozyme, E 1105, globulin, ovomucoid, lecithin, E233. Be aware that also wine can contain egg white.nnIn cooking, you can replace the binding effect of egg white by mixing 1 tablespoon of soybean flour with 2 tablespoons of water to a paste. Depending on your reactions, you may as well use maize flour, potato flour, or rice flour.

Pure sourdough fermentation is mainly done by lactobaccilli, a bacterial strain, and hardly any yeast. So if yeast isn´t added on purpose, sourdough bread should contain only small quantities of yeast. The same with vinegar: Its final fermentation is done by bacteria, acetic acid bacteria mostly from high percentage alcohol, not yeast.

No. You have reacted to the proteins contained in lemon and citric acid is a single (not allergy inducing) molecule produced chemically.

No. Vanillin is a chemically produced flavour and has a different composition.

ImuPro doesn’t test for a specific honey produced from just one kind of flower because you can get numerous specific honeys, mostly locally. So we opted for the “general honey” you can buy in the supermarket. These honeys are from pooled nectar from different bee colonies harvesting on different flowers. Therefore it is called “honey (mixture)“. After a positive test the patient should avoid any honey for the recommended period of time.

Tannin covers a large group of substances and is not uniform from one food or plant to another. As tannins have reduced water solubility, the amount of tannins in our food extracts is not high and varies with the ripeness of the fruit. So you cannot relate or correlate reaction to tannin to the proper reaction of a tannin containing food. We use synthetic tannic acid in our tests. Sensitization is more likely due to exposure to added tannic acid in either drugs, creams, or transformed food. The advice is to reduce tannic rich food. The risk for adverse reaction of this patient´s immune system is probably more to added tannic acids in products rather than in naturally complex tannin containing foods. If you are uncertain about tannin in foods, we recommend consulting a nutritionist.

Aspergillus is a mould and forms spores. They can survive a long time and under extremely harsh conditions and are extremely resistant to heat, cold, and dryness. Freezing doesn’t achieve anything, making it even worse. Heating to boiling point for at least 30 minutes can kill all living form but not the spores which would germinate after cooling. To kill them you have to sterilize them, meaning at 125°C at high pressure. So its easier to avoid the concerned food like  nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

First of all, there is no link between omega-3 fatty acids and reactions to fish as for the capsules the fatty acids are separated from the fish proteins.nnSecondly, you should be aware that fish proteins are found in a lot of processed foods, where you wouldn’t expect them, for example in Caesar salad and Caesar salad dressing, Worcestershire sauce, bouillabaisse, imitation or artificial fish, or shellfish (surimi), meatloaf, barbecue sauce, or caponata, a Sicilian aubergine relish.nnThirdly, it might be a matter of cross-reactivity which between fish is quite complex and has not yet, to our knowledge, been conclusively defined. It depends on what specific protein(s) your antibodies are directed towards. Many patients can eat certain fish, whereas they react (sometimes severely) to others. There are no definitive data regarding cross-reactivity that we can apply to fish in order to guide patients in their choices. However, the fact that they are in separate families does not rule out potential cross-reactivity.

Crayfish, crabs, shrimps, and lobsters are all crustaceans. With individual results for any of these foods go by that result. If you get a positive result for 1 or 2 of them but the others are not covered due to the size of test you have chosen, then it is best to initially stay away from all of the listed foods you don’t have a result for. This is because they share some of the same proteins. Once your symptoms have settled down, try introducing them one at a time into your diet. If you don’t feel any adverse effects, then include them in your rotation diet.

Yes, you can. Bananas are present in a lot of flavoured milks, yoghurts, and fruit juices. It is also possible to have a cross-reaction: Bananas and pineapples have common allergenic structures with latex – so if you are allergic or sensitive to latex, a cross-reaction with bananas is possible. There may also be cross-reactions with avocados and melons. The indoor plant Benjamin’s fig is another possible source for this allergen which you shouldn´t have in your house if you are sensitive to it.nnMore information on possible cross reactions of foods tested in the ImuPro tests, please see this chart.

We recommend avoiding it since nutritional yeast is in most cases Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same strain which is tested in ImuPro.nnEven though nutritional yeast is deactivated, which means that it can´t multiply anymore, it might not have completely lost its antigenicity. It is probably the same like with yeast used in bread which is also inactive after baking but still has its allergic effect. So you better avoid yeast during elimination phase.nnWhen it is reintroduced in the provocation phase you will quickly notice any adverse reaction.

... regarding the impact and changes induced

That depends largely on the type of symptoms. Some changes are seen after 2 to 3 days, namely loss of around 2 kg of weight due to release of inflammation related excess water. Digestive symptoms start to improve after 3 to 5 days. Generally, patients report that they feel much better after 3 to 5 days. However, some symptoms, like arthritis or more severe immunological diseases, may take weeks to see a result. And some of your symptoms may not go away because they originate from something other than food hypersensitivities. These include certain defects in the intestinal flora, enzyme defects, and hormonal problems (particularly in women). Other sources can be environmental contaminants, heavy metal burden, and dental metals. All these causes cannot be detected with ImuPro.

This is very individual. It can happen while your body rids itself of toxins. But most of the time it doesn’t. Normally patients do not experience worsening symptoms longer than 3 weeks.

No. Even if a new test does not detect particular antibodies, this doesn´t mean that you can recommence eating all the foods and additives to which a hypersensitivity was detected. Implementing the necessary diet changes reduces the general production of the antibodies which the resumption of the natural function of the intestine is an indicator for. The memory of your immune system reactivates the production of antibodies only when it comes in contact with something it has previously reacted to. So the test would only need to be repeated if the symptoms were to reoccur which is unlikely if you are keeping to your diet and rotation plan instructions. For a repetition of the test we recommend a waiting period of at least 2 years.

ImuPro is designed to detect trigger foods responsible for symptoms or increase in weight. That´s why we introduced the provocation phase to find out which foods are responsible for these symptoms. If a food causes no reactions, it can be assumed that it is not responsible for the patient´s health problems. If it is not consumed on a regular basis, the respective IgG level will decrease, even though the antibodies might never completely disappear.

Of course, it would be perfect to continue rotation of foods, even though we know that this sometimes is not quite easy to do. Generally speaking, we recommend continuing rotation. Foods which were tested IgG positive but are without symptoms should be further on rotated after the one-year stabilisation – as generally, a varied diet is the best to offer your body a versatility of foods.nnRegarding the foods you avoid during the stabilization phase you can start another provocation. Introduce them one by one and see how your body reacts. A food which doesn´t cause a return of symptoms or an increase of body weight after this second provocation can be included into your diet. You may also find out that there are still one or two foods you react to. These you will have to avoid permanently.

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