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It’s a frustrating but not uncommon scenario: You struggle with food or chemical sensitivities, suspected autoimmunity, and leaky gut symptoms. You plunk down hundreds of dollars (or more) for state-of-the-art testing from Cyrex Labs, eager for specific guidance.

And all the results come back negative. Or they all come back positive. Either way, you’re poorer and still clueless about the specifics of your situation.

Because Cyrex Labs testing is relatively new, people are still learning how best to test. Follow the tips below to maximize your lab testing dollars.

Make sure immunity is sufficient enough to test

This is a major culprit in producing primarily or totally negative results. If your immune system is wiped out, you may not produce enough antibodies to test.

You can screen for this prior to your Cyrex test by ordering a total immunoglobulin (IgG, IgA, and IgM) test. If they’re low, your Cyrex results may come back negative despite obvious symptoms.

Shoring up your immune system is an in-depth topic, but here is an overview: Follow the autoimmune diet and supplement with nutrients such as vitamins A and D, glutathione and other compounds to dampen autoimmune flares, and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Plenty of sleep, balancing blood sugar, physical activity, and lowering stress are also important.

A key strategy is to eat an ample amount and wide variety of vegetables to foster the gut bacteria that support immunity. If you cannot eat many vegetables, supplement with short-chain fatty acids and probiotics.

Also, you may need to ferret out and address hidden sources of infection.

Please note that taking immune-enhancing herbs such as Echinacea is not recommended as it can worsen autoimmunity in some people.

Avoid drugs that suppress immunity if possible

Immunosuppressant medications and drugs that contain steroids, such as hydrocortisone, will often result in false negative results. If you are able to go off them, wait at least a couple of months before testing.

Don’t expect positive results to foods you don’t eat

Don’t expect positive results for foods you don’t eat, even if you know they are problematic for you. You need to eat the foods on the panel at least a month before testing. If you have not eaten that food in the last three to four months you will not test positive (unless you ate it accidentally).

If you know you react severely to certain foods, then of course do not eat them just to test.

What if most Array 5 results come back positive?

If almost all of your results on the Array 5 Multiple Autoimmune Reactivity come back positive, this does not mean your entire body is under attack. Instead, it means you’re likely fighting an active viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection.

What if most Array 10 results come back positive?

If you test positive to most of the 180 foods on the Array 10 Multiple Food Immune Reactivity screen, this does not necessarily mean you have to give up all of those foods. Instead, it means you have lost “dietary oral tolerance” and the immune system is over reacting to all foods.

When this happens, only avoid foods to which you knowingly react and work to restore oral tolerance using the same strategies to shore up your immune system. The key is to dampen the hyper zealous immune response and boost secretory IgA levels so you can better tolerate more foods.

This is a very general overview of some things to address before using Cyrex Labs testing. When approached with the right knowledge, the results can be powerful in helping fine tune your wellness journey.

Ask my office for more advice on Cyrex Labs testing and autoimmune management.

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