MRT stands for Mediator Release Test. It’s different than a food allergy test because it identifies foods and food chemicals that may be causing inflammation, rather than an allergic response. An inflammatory response is caused by something in the body’s environment and can change over time, whereas an allergy is predictable and there to stay for life.
This approach may be more accurate for two reasons: 1) not every food that causes inflammation is allergenic, and B) it’s paramount to reduce inflammation since it’s what holds the body back from healing. And speaking of accuracy, a blinded peer reviewed scientific study showed MRT to have the highest level of accuracy of any food sensitivity blood test (94.5% sensitivity and 91.8% specificity).
Food sensitivities can cause symptoms that go far beyond the digestive tract, for example:
- Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and diarrhea
- Acid reflux
- Migraine and other headaches
- Weight imbalances and difficulty releasing it
- Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and chemical sensitivities
- Skin eruptions and acne
- Brain fog and memory issues
- Many more!
The variety of symptoms are possible thanks to the myriad of different ways our bodies can be triggered and react, which is surely influenced by the variety and verve of our Microbiome. Therefore, it would be foolhardy to measure your blood cells’ reactions by how much of one or another mediator they produce when exposed to a food. The MRT understand this and took a cue from Archimedies who cried “Eureka!” (Greek for “I have found it!”) after noticing he displaced water when stepping into the bathtub.
The MRT test works like this: Your white blood cells are put into a tiny bath tub (probably just a test tube) and then exposed to one of the 120 foods and food components tested. If the fluid in the tub(e) rises, the conclusion is the white blood cells launched an inflammatory response and released mediators. A food that causes a large reaction is dubbed a “red food”, and those with more moderate reactions are “orange foods”. If the fluid level does not change, the white blood cell was copacetic with the food and calmly enjoying its me-time. That food would be called a “green food”.
After your results come back, we’ll meet to discuss what strategy works best for you and answer all your questions. The lab has specific suggestions, but the plan that works for you is the right plan. When you remove the foods that you choose to remove, inflammation in your body should decrease. Sometimes this feels great right away, but sometimes an individual might feel a little cruddy for a while. This is because of a backlog of debris and toxins that the body must clean out before getting to the fun task of healing. There are strategies for making this go a little more smoothly, which include things like activated charcoal, bentonite clay, fruit pectins and coffee enemas (seriously).
|Foods tested by the MRT|
There are two types of inflammation: A) Large-scale, which is the pain, redness and swelling that comes with wrenching or spraining a body part, and 2) Cellular, which is when individual cells become swollen and irritated. Cellular inflammation is often called silent inflammation because there are no symptoms right away. Since cells are so darn tiny, it’s not until a large enough patch of tissue or percentage of the body is affected that you’ll feel anything.
Cellular inflammation happens when immune cells are called to attack (not necessarily during an allergic reaction). For example, when a bacteria or virus is identified, white blood cells produce chemical weapons called mediators. These harsh chemicals include histamine, prostoglandins, cytokines, bleach and something similar to hydrogen peroxide. During the attack, collateral damage is unavoidable and surrounding tissues are singed, torn and irritated.
Inflammation is not bad in principle– if it were, we would not have retained the mechanisms to carry it out over the millions of years that we’ve been here. The purpose of inflammation is actually quite noble: to protect, defend and dissolve debris so that the body can heal. The problem comes when inflammation happens on and on, over and over.
The key to quenching the fire of inflammation is identifying and removing the triggers that are causing it to be necessary. There are strategies for teasing out food sensitivities without the MRT test, but if your triggers are turmeric, black pepper, peaches and pecans, it would take years to identify that on your own.
See the lab’s website for more information.