Dr Anton Emmanuel is a Senior Lecturer in Gastroenterology at UCL. He has also studied the use of IgG testing kits – specifically, Yorktest testing kits. His research has been referred to (very likely inappropriately) by Yorktest in defence of their products. He is also one of the experts listed as backing Food Intolerance Awareness – which refers people to Yorktest for IgG tests.
When Radio 4’s Case Notes investigated food intolerance, Emmanuel was interviewed re IgG testing. We were surprised to hear him offering a rather (in our opinion, appropriately) negative assessment of the diagnostic value of such tests for identifying food intolerances.
Emmanuel is introduced by the presenter as not being very impressed with testing kits, and describes this process of testing as “not nearly as specific as one would like it to be”. For Emmanuel, the fact that wheat, yeast etc. come up often on these tests probably reflects “as much as anything else, our exposure to these things in our diet” rather than a specific intolerance/allergy.
Emmanuel is not impressed with these tests due to, among other issues:
- No external standard as to levels which show intolerance: the tests rely on internal standards which aren’t as robust as one might like.
- The effects in the patients Emmanuel has seen using these tests have largely been unimpressive, period. Even where patients did appear to benefit, results have not been great in the longer term.
- A slightly leaky gut may lead to an IgG response to various proteins. It is erroneous to tie this response to specific proteins.
We share a number of these concerns. We would hope that Emmanuel will robustly raise these concerns with Food Intolerance Action (the special interest group set up by Allergy UK), in order to challenge their support of the Yorktest IgG tests which Emmanuel criticises so effectively. Emmanuel’s words add even greater weight to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee’s point that
Given the lack of evidence for these services we were concerned to learn that Allergy UK recommended the Yorktest service for food intolerance
For further reading, see also our summary page of IgG intolerance and allergy testing.