Pinnertest is an immunoglobin (IgG) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test that has gained popularity in the United States and around the world.
People purchase this test to learn about potential food sensitivities they may have. Celebrity endorsements and an extensive social media campaign have increased awareness about Pinnertest. But does it work?
Read on to learn about Pinnertest, and what it can and can’t do.
Pinnertest is marketed as an at-home food intolerance test. It’s a finger-prick test that uses a small amount of dried blood to test for IgG (immunoglobulin antibodies). IgG is a protein made by the immune system. IgG tests such as Pinnertest purportedly analyze the immune system’s response to a wide range of foods. This information is said to indicate which foods you’re sensitive to.
Food intolerance is also called food sensitivity. Lactose, gluten, and caffeine are three of the most common types. Food sensitivities are usually caused by the digestive system.
If you have trouble digesting a particular food, you may experience gastrointestinal and other types of symptoms. This may occur because the food irritates your stomach lining. You may also lack the enzymes needed to digest or break down the food properly.
Food intolerance is not the same thing as a food allergy.
Food allergies are mediated by the immune system, not the digestive system. Food allergies can cause some of the same symptoms as food sensitivities, such as diarrhea. However, food allergies also usually cause serious symptoms, such as trouble breathing, hives, swelling, low blood pressure, and anaphylaxis.
Food intolerance symptoms may vary from person to person. They also vary in intensity. You may have mild symptoms or severe ones.
Food intolerance symptoms include:
- stomach pain
Pinnertest is not a diagnostic test. It cannot diagnose food allergies or sensitivities. Pinnertest claims that you will learn about your body’s reaction to 200 foods after taking the test.
To use Pinnertest, order a test kit through their website. In the United States, a prescription is required for this type of test. You can ask your doctor about prescribing the test.
Pinnertest also provides prescriptions free of charge through physicians they have working relationships with. You don’t need a diagnosis or physical exam to be approved for a prescription through the Pinnertest prescription service.
Once your test arrives, follow these steps:
- wipe your finger with the sterilizing paper provided
- twist off the top of the needle dispense
- place the needle on top of your finger
- press the large green button to push the needle into your skin
- let blood fall off your finger onto the pad provided in the test
- seal the pad
- bandage your finger
- fill out the form provided in the kit
- mail back the test in the return envelope
After your test is returned, you’ll receive a report via email that gives you information about your IgG response to certain foods.
It’s important to note that, unlike some other food sensitivity tests, Pinnertest does not use a clinical laboratory improvement amendments (CLIA-certified) lab to analyze results. CLIA labs meet high standards so they can acquire state and federal certifications about safety and efficacy. CLIA labs also submit to regular inspections by governmental agencies.
Pinnertest also does not appear to adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements. Information about the use of data encryption or user privacy protections is lacking on their website.
After submitting your test results to Pinnertest, you will receive a report with the results via email. Your report will provide information about the foods and ingredients that Pinnertest has determined you are sensitive to.
Your intolerance level will be graded either 1, 2, or 3, with 3 being the highest level of intolerance. Pinnertest recommends completely eliminating all foods on your list, no matter what the intolerance level is.
It’s hard to pinpoint the accuracy of Pinnertest reports. There are many studies on their website about IgG antibodies, but none of the studies published are about Pinnertest specifically or the results they provide.
Pinnertest likens a food sensitivity response to an immune system response, but science does not support that hypothesis.
According to Pinnertest, food intolerances are caused by undigested proteins in blood that trigger an immune system reaction. Many specialists dispute that theory.
IgG antibodies in the bloodstream
A number of organizations have come out with statements negating the efficacy of IgG tests for food sensitivities:
- The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology calls IgG food panel testing a myth that is not scientifically proven. According to this organization, the scientific studies used to back up claims about IgG testing effectiveness are out of date or published in non-reputable journals. They go on to state that the presence of IgG is a normal response of the immune system to food.
Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunologyis concerned about the marketing practices of these tests and questions their validity. This organization strongly discourages their use.
- The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy calls IgG tests unorthodox, inaccurate, and unreliable. They say that IgG tests are not based on any scientific rational and are without credible scientific evidence.
Pinnertest is an at-home food intolerance test. This test uses dried blood to analyze your response to 200 foods.
Pinnertest does not publish scientific studies specifically about their test.
According to several creditable medical agencies, the scientific theory behind the Pinnertest test and other IgG ELISA tests is unsubstantiated.
How much does a Pinnertest cost?
Currently, Pinnertest costs $257.
How long do Pinnertest results take?
After ordering your test, you will receive it in the mail within 2 to 3 business days. You will get your report within 7 to 10 business days after Pinnertest gets your blood sample.
Are intolerance tests accurate?
Food intolerance tests should not be assumed to be accurate. It may be time-consuming, but the best way to identify and diagnose food sensitivities is through an elimination diet and challenge test.