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Is ALCAT Testing Really Effective?

The topic of ALCAT testing is one that you see quite frequently around here and has prompted a great question from one of my visitors. Here’s what Jen has to say:

Dear Cynthia: First off, thank you for your work to holistically heal others.

I stumbled upon your site and then your blog and I’m writing specifically today to ask for more details regarding your recommendation of the ALCAT test.

To describe what I’m dealing with (the very brief summarized version) is I’ve become very clear that multiple food sensitivity is the cause of various symptoms of illness I have and have had for most of my life (I’m now a 35 year old mom of 3), including IBS, asthma, eczema, and environmental allergies. (Possibly also candida and mild acne.)

My work is to educate and empower others on how to take charge of their health; yet, I’ve still not found “the answer” to my own health mysteries. I’ve been disappointed time and time again by holistic health practitioners offering the answer or the cure. I’ve become quite aware that there are holistic practitioners so devoted to their modality or supplement, that they cannot see the bigger picture.

That being said, I’ve heard a lot of good things about the ALCAT test, mostly from NDs I know. However, it’s a big investment and money I don’t really have.

I’m wondering, as someone who doesn’t promote tests or products, why do you think this one is unique enough to recommend? Thanks in advance. Jen

Hi Jen, You’re welcome and as I said above that is a really great question. I assume that you read the post I made a few weeks ago on ALCAT testing. If not, it can be found here:

http://www.holistichelp.net/blog/why-the-alcat-test/

I addressed this question somewhat on that page, but you bring up a couple good points that could use some further explanation.

The first thing I’d like to say, is that although I am health care professional, I am also one of you. Like many people I have a variety of health conditions that I have not been able to “heal” completely. I am not wealthy and I too have been very disappointed and disillusioned by a variety of holistic and natural health practitioners over the years as well. That is one of the reasons that my site exists.

Yes indeed, practitioners often do get so caught up in their treatment modality that they fail to see reality and embrace the whole picture. Many practitioners in the natural health industry are just as guilty of this practice as mainstream medicine, which is very unfortunate, because that is one of the main causes of failure in our traditional health care system.

What I share on this blog and site are the things I have found over the years to really be effective in my own life. You will not find anything on this blog or site that I do not know for certain has benefits. I must believe whole heartedly in a method, test or product to promote it. No hype is found here and I encourage people to keep the big picture in mind.

I have not found “the answer”, but I have found “some” of the answers. I have not found “the miracle cure”, but I have found methods that have provided drastic relief in symptoms and improved the quality of life.

In my experience I have found that there are many approaches and methods that are not very effective, but there are a handful that work quite well. The two most effective methods for improving health or preventative care are making changes in the diet and removing environmental toxins from the living space.

When I use the words environmental toxins, I am referring to common everyday chemicals found in your life, such as cleaning products, air fresheners, dish soap, personal care products, laundry soap, pesticides, herbicides, industrial pollutants, perfume, cologne, etc.

These two actions alone have a significant impact on your level of mental and physical health, because it is poor diet and environmental toxins that are almost always at the root of the health issue, regardless of what the diagnosis may be. I know this from personal experience to be true.

For example, I relieved chronic anxiety attacks that I had suffered with for a decade by simply removing sugar from my diet.

I relieved depression, feelings of impending doom, irritable bowel and dropped 20 pounds by removing wheat from my diet.

I overcame alcoholism and drug addiction and achieved 21 years of uninterrupted sobriety without any cravings and without AA, by removing sugar, caffeine, white flour and other refined foods, eating organic, following a hypoglycemic diet and cleaning up environmental toxins out of my living space.

I eliminated my son’s severe hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder, again by removing sugar, wheat, yeast, additives, preservatives, caffeine, white flour etc., eating organic and avoiding environmental toxins.

By removing nuts from my diet I eliminated a major trigger for migraine headaches. I still have other triggers, but the discovery that nuts were causing me migraines almost daily was an incredible improvement. I kept the nuts out of my diet for 6 months and then I was able to bring them back in. However, I must not eat them on a daily basis or they become a trigger again.

I keep my Fibromyalgia symptoms to a minimum, by avoiding sugar, caffeine and white flour, keeping complex carbohydrates to a minimum, eating organic, avoidance of chemicals and regular exercise.

So, I know without a doubt that diet and environmental toxins have a profound impact on our mental and physical health. I could give you a whole list of other examples, but it would be too time consuming.

The problem is that most people have very little awareness of how their diet and environment is impacting their health and aren’t sure which foods to keep or remove. We are each unique and what is healthy for one person, may not be the case for another person. Many people have undiagnosed food sensitivities or allergies, but they vary from person to person.

Which brings us back to your original question. The reason I recommend ALCAT testing is because it is a great tool to enhance a method that we already know without a doubt is effective — changes in diet

There is another way to identify hidden food sensitivities with what is called the elimination diet. In this diet, you remove all suspected allergens for a week and then reintroduce them one at a time into the diet to monitor symptoms. This method can work, but it is very time consuming, you must be very in tune with your own body and you must control for other factors that may impact your symptoms like stress and environmental toxins.

Depending on the situation, it can take months and even years to identify all sensitivities with the elimination diet, because you may have to retest repeatedly if results were not clear and because you must do each food separately. Additionally, many people are just not in tune with their body enough to get accurate readings. The ALCAT makes this process very simple, easy and accurate. You have results in a couple weeks, there are no other factors to control for and no questions about the results. Not only do you identify which foods you’re sensitive to, but you also learn the degree of sensitivity of each food. It may be severe, moderate or mild. This is very helpful, because if the sensitivity is severe or moderate the food should be avoided completely, if it is mild, it can usually be eaten on a rotation basis.

When I first started on the path of holistic healing, the elimination diet is the method that I used. This was 20 years ago, and I was not aware of the ALCAT test at the time. I’m not even sure it was around then, or if it was, it was in its infancy.  I already knew which foods I was sensitive to when I took  the ALCAT many years later, so I did it primarily to find out if it was an effective test. It was right on the bullseye for everything I knew and helped  zero in on some other suspected food sensitivities and progress a little further.

Is ALCAT testing a “miracle cure”? No it isn’t. It is not the answer to absolutely everything and most likely will be most effective when combined with other lifestyle changes and methods. It is only one component in what is usually a very complex picture, but it provides a powerful tool to help us improve upon a method that already works — diet. It enables us to refine and expand our knowledge base about our unique body chemistry and design a diet that is ideal for our body and will promote optimal functioning.

Yes, I understand the price initially seems a little costly, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is only “initially.” Once you receive the results, there are no additional costs — no more doctor visits, prescriptions, nutritional supplements, adjustments, techniques etc. All you have to do is make changes in your diet. I believe it is a great investment because the knowledge that you gain is invaluable and empowering. People who truly put their results into action, always see improvements in their health.

Additionally, I know what it’s like to not have enough money for treatments that you need, so I try to make this test a little more affordable. If you’ve looked at the pricing from other practitioners, you will see that my prices for ALCAT testing are significantly lower. However, if someone absolutely can’t afford the ALCAT, then I am happy to educate and assist with the elimination diet, but it is not the fastest or preferred method.

You mentioned you possibly have Candida as well and I would say that Candida quite frequently accompanies food sensitivities. It is one of the causes because it damages and inflames the gastrointestinal tract. So I would encourage you to address this issue as well.

I would also add, that “health” is a frame of mind. It does not necessarily mean that there is an absence of illness or conditions. It’s about having acceptance for where you are in the healing path and living life as optimally as possible with your condition, while at the same time continuing to try and improve the circumstance.

“Complete healing” may not be in the cards for some people. Sometimes permanent damage is done to the body, there are hereditary issues, environmental issues we can’t control, not enough finances, not finding all the pieces that fit your unique puzzle etc., that may hinder the process. However, improvements can always be achieved.

You do not have to find “the answer” to educate and empower others. You only need some of the answers, honesty, an open mind that looks at the big picture and the ability to accompany them on their journey.

Best Regards,
Cynthia

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Brad October 12, 2009, 5:40 pm

    I took the ALCAT 3 months ago specifically for some inflammation in my knees and a possible autoimmune disease that causes it. I’m currently 3 months in and I have seen improvement, less severe flare ups, but it’s hard to tell. I’m going to continue for another 3 months without eating any foods in my severe or moderate lists and then start re-introducing them one by one to test for reactions. I have noticed less sinus problems during the period I’ve been doing the recommended rotation diet and my flare ups have been less frequent. The most difficult part of cutting out foods on the list they give you is discipline. Especially when you’re highly sensitive to foods like chicken, beef and garlic! But I think the test is worth it, if not just to start making yourself cook more at home and buy more unprocessed foods since you have to watch the ingredients on everything. I feel so much healthier for it.

  • phil devereaux November 15, 2010, 6:19 pm

    do I need to identify any prescription drugs that I
    am using before I sign up for one of the kits?
    Thank you,
    Phil Devereaux

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins November 16, 2010, 10:20 pm

    Hi Phil,

    Here’s a page that addresses that question. I forgot to include it above, but added it now.
    http://www.holistichelp.net/blog/what-impacts-alcat-results/
    Best
    Cynthia

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