Millions of people use herbs and functional foods to treat countless ailments, from hiccups and hemorrhoids, to balance hormones and stimulate libido. They may work well as natural remedies, but are they safe for everyone?
The ALCAT Laboratory has introduced compatibility testing to over 130 new functional foods and medicinal herbs to already industry-leading lineup of items available for testing.
The ALCAT Test, a functional blood test, measures white blood cell responses to different foods, chemicals, functional foods, herbs, molds, food colorings and food additives, and other substances. These cellular responses have been linked to a multitude of different chronic inflammatory diseases, such as migraines, digestive disorders, obesity, chronic fatigue, aching joints, skin disorders, autism and many more.
"These new herb and functional food panels represent a response to a demand for such testing arising from the shift in the diets of people in the United States and abroad," said Roger Deutsch, President and CEO of Cell Science Systems and author of the book Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat. "With more people looking to use these items to treat and prevent ailments, we thought it was imperative to expand the number of items we test for to make sure the things we are taking to help us are not actually harming us."
The 130 items will be split up into three groups: 50 Functional Foods and Medicinal Herbs, 50 Female Herbs and 40 Male Herbs. The first panel is meant to give general coverage to the consumed items within that panel; things like wheat grass juice, St. Johns' wort, spirulina, bee pollen, echinacea, etc. The latter two are gender specific and contain items commonly found in natural male and female enhancement products. For example, the 50 Female Herbs panel contains items that are commonly used to treat the symptoms of menopause.
According to the Nutrition Business Journal, supplement sales were over $25 billion in 2008, which is strong evidence that there is a growing shift towards using herbal, natural remedies.
"The body can handle only so much toxicity," continued Deutsch. "Whether your body just isn't compatible with an item or it develops a sensitivity over time, it is so important to eliminate the items from your body that are causing these inflammatory reactions."