ASA Ruling: ImuPro

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ImuPro is a blood test which claims to be able predict which foods make you sick, i.e., cause allergy or intolerances. The test is supported by Patrick Holford – which should already make the consumer concerned about the validity of this test!  The company claims: “…the internationally respected ImuPro Food IgG Intolerance Test that can pinpoint food intolerances”.

The facts are:
IgG is a valid blood test, but NOT for intolerances or predicting foods are responsible for allergy.

All major allergy societies throughout the world, and allergy experts, have published position statements warning against IgG tests for this purpose.

See the Allergy Society of South Africa’s position statement on this test (and see the references which indicate links to all of the other societies statements).  (We have brought this to the attention of the company but they continued to make these claims – makes one wonder of their ethics!)

Read more about the ASA ruling:

IMUPRO / H A STEINMAN / 14955

Ruling of the : ASA Directorate

In the matter between:

Dr Harris A Steinman                                     Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)

Molecular Diagnostics Services (Pty) Ltd      Respondent

11 Feb 2010

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=5038

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against a Molecular Diagnostics Services print advertisement promoting its ImuPro food intolerance test. The advertisement was distributed to the respondent’s members and also published on 13 and 20 June 2009 in the Saturday Dispatch, Week-end Argus and Week-end Post. Over and above promoting its food intolerance test, it invites people to a “Health and Wellness Seminar” hosted by Dr Hein Badenhorst and Ms Natalie Williams.

It contains, inter alia, the wording “They will also introduce the sophisticated GenePro Wellness Screen that identifies your risk of specific diseases and the internationally respected ImuPro Food IgG Intolerance Test that can pinpoint food intolerances”.

COMPLAINT
In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertisement is misleading by claiming that the ImuPro test could pinpoint food intolerances as there has not been any studies to substantiate the claim. In addition, this claim is contrary to widely held expert opinion of all major allergy and intolerance organisations throughout the world.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the complaint the following clauses of the code were taken in to account:

  • Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation
  • Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims

RESPONSE
The responded submitted that the advertisement was a once off and will not be repeated.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation as submitted by the complainant.

The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, that undertaking is accepted without considering the merits of the matter.

The respondent’s undertaking appears to address the complainant’s concerns and there is therefore no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of the matter.

The undertaking is accepted on condition that the claim “…the internationally respected ImuPro Food IgG Intolerance Test that can pinpoint food intolerances” is not used again in future.

The respondent’s attention is also drawn to Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide, which requires that offending advertising be withdrawn from every media in which it appears irrespective of whether or not the complainant specifically identified that media.

 CamCheck posts related to ImuPro 

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7 Responses to ASA Ruling: ImuPro

  1. Rashnee 23 April, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    I am shocked to have read this. I am planning to have this Food intolenace test. I have read Partick Hoflords' books and followed his advise on leading a healthy lifestyle. I not once doubted that the inof on this test was misleding.
    Please supply more information on this. Why then does Patrick Holford encourage these tests?

    • Harris 25 April, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

      Patrick Holford is excellent at self-promotion, sometimes using good science but altered in a fashion to sound plausible, but in support of his personal beliefs or contentions. As of today there is not a single study that shows that the measurement of IgG can predict what foods an individual may be affected by. I work in the allergy field and I have examined the “evidence” myself, and I can say with certainty that none exists. However, I need to point out that measuring IgG is a valid and certified test – it is the claim that the test can predict foods that are bad for one that is sheer nonsense. Read more about Patrick Holford and his “bad science” / “pseudoscience” here: http://holfordwatch.info/

      Read also the evidence against the claims of this test here: http://holfordwatch.info/holford-myths/myth-you-can-diagnose-food-intolerance-or-allergy-with-an-igg-blood-test/

      • H 14 October, 2016 at 1:22 am #

        Some studies on relevance of IgG:

        Gliadin IgG antibodies and circulating immune complexes.
        Eisenmann, A., Murr, C., Fuchs, D., Ledochowski, M. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2009;44(2):168-71.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18819035
        IgG and immune complexes
        Rheumatology: Diagnosis and Therapeutics.
        Cush, J., Kavanaugh, A., Stein, C. (2005). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 78. ISBN 9780781757324.
        http://www.amazon.com/Rheumatology-Diagnosis-Therapeutics-John-Cush/dp/0781757320
        Immunology.
        Goldsby, R. (2002). Macmillan. p. 381. ISBN 9780716749479.
        http://www.amazon.com/Immunology-Fifth-Edition-Richard-Goldsby/dp/0716749475
        Basic Immunology and its Medical Application (2 ed.).
        Barret, J. (1980). St.Louis: The C.V. Mosby Company. ISBN 0-8016-0495-8.
        http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9780801604959
        Demonstration of Circulating Immune Complexes in Sjögren’s Syndrome.
        Lawley, T., Moustopoulos, H. (1979). Journal of Immunology (The American Association of Immunologists) 123 (3):
        1382–7. PMID 469255.
        The New Sjogren’s Syndrome Handbook.
        Wallace, D. ed. (2004). Oxford University Press. p.68. ISBN 9780198038481.
        http://www.isbns.co.no/isbn/9780198038481

        Clinical relevance of IgG antibodies against food antigen in Crohn’s Disease – A double blind cross over diet intervention
        study.
        Bentz, S., Hausmann, M., Paul, S., Falk, W., Obermeier, F., Schölmerich, J., Rogler, G. Digestion (2010);81:252–264
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20130407
        The effects of provocation by foods with raised IgG antibodies and additives on the course of Crohn’s disease: A pilot
        study.
        Uzunismail, H. et al. Turk J Gastroenterol 2012; 23 (1): 19-27
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22505375
        Food allergy in irritable bowel syndrome: new facts and old fallacies.
        Isolauri, E., Rautava, S., Kalliomaki, M. (2004) Gut; 53 (10):1391-3
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1774228/
        Food elimination based on IgG antibodies in irritable bowel syndrome: a randomised controlled trial.
        Atkinson, W., Sheldon, T. A., Shaath, N., Whorwell, P. J. (2004) Gut 53(10):1459-1464.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15361495
        Treating irritable bowel syndrome with a food elimination diet followed by food challenge and probiotics.
        Drisko, J., Bischoff, B., Hall, M., McCullum. (2006). J of the Am college of Nutrition. Vol25 (6) 514-522
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17229899
        Alterations of food antigen-specific serum immunoglobulins G and E antibodies in patients with irritable bowel syndrome
        and functional dyspepsia.
        Zuo, X. L., Li, Y. Q., Li, W. J., Guo, Y. T., Lu, X. F., Li, J. M., Desmond, P. V. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, (2007)
        37, 823–830
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17517095
        Dietary Treatment of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
        Whorwell, P., Lea, R. Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology (2004),
        7:307-316
        http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11938-004-0017-1#page-1

        IgG-based elimination diet in migraine plus irritable bowel syndrome.
        Aydinlar, E. I., et al. Headache 2012
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23216231
        Milk protein IgG and IgA: the association with milk-induced gastrointestinal symptoms in adults.
        Anthoni, S., Savilahti, E., Rautelin, H., Kolho, K. L. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Oct 21;15(39):4915-8.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19842221
        IgG against food and asthma
        The effects of exclusion of dietary egg and milk in the management of asthmatic children: a pilot study.
        Yusoff, N., A., Hampton, S. M., Dickerson, J. W., Morgan, J. B. J R Soc Promot Health. 2004 Mar;124(2):74-80.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15067979
        Ovalbumin-specific immunoglobulin G and subclass responses through the first 5 years of life in relation to duration of
        egg sensitization and the development of asthma.
        Vance, G. H., Thornton, C.A., Bryant, T.N., Warner, J. A., Warner, J. O. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Oct;34(10):1542-9.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15479268
        IgG against food and migraine
        A prospective Audit of food intolerance among migraine patients in primary care clinical practice.
        Rees, T., Watson, D., Lipscombe, S., Speight, H., Cousins, P., Hardman, G., Dowson, A. (2005) Headache, Vol 2 No.1
        11-14
        Food allergy mediated by IgG antibodies associated with migraine in adults.
        Arroyave Hernandez, C. M., Echevarria Pinto, M., Hernandez Montiel, H. L. Rev Alerg Mex (2007); 54: 162–168
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18693538
        Diet restriction in migraine, based on IgG against foods: a clinical doubleblind,
        randomised, cross-over trial.
        Alpay, K., Ertas, M., Orhan, E. K., Ustay, D. K., Lieners, C., Baykan, B.
        (2010) Cephalgia 1-9.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20647174

        IgG-based elimination diet in migraine plus irritable bowel syndrome.
        Aydinlar, E. I., et al. Headache 2012
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23216231
        Randomised controlled trial of food elimination diet based on IgG antibodies for the prevention of migraine like
        headaches.
        Mitchell, N., et al. Nutrition Journal 2011
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21835022
        IgG against food and auto-immunity
        Detection of IgE, IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies against raw and processed food antigens.
        Vojdani, A. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009; 6: 22.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19435515
        Cross-Reaction between Gliadin and Different Food and Tissue Antigens.
        Vojdani, A., Tarash, I. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2013, 4, 20-32
        http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=26626
        Molecular mimicry as a mechanism for food immune reactivities and autoimmunity.
        Vojdani, A. Altern Ther Health Med. 2015;21 Suppl 1:34-45.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25599184
        Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae autoantibodies in autoimmune diseases: from bread baking to autoimmunity.
        Rinaldi, M., Perricone, R., Blank, M., Perricone, C., Shoenfeld, Y. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2013 Oct;45(2):152-61.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23292495
        Increased prevalence of antibodies against dietary proteins in children and young adults with cerebral palsy.
        Stenberg, R., Dahle, C., Magnuson, A., Hellberg, D., Tysk, C. J. Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 Feb;56(2):233-8.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22983381

        Food allergy investigations and its significance in autism spectrum disorders.
        Rao, Ananth, N., Koch, M., Ghosh, S. Kumar, S. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences Vol.1/Issue-4/Oct-
        Dec.2010
        http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/60103429/food-allergy-investigations-significance-autism-spectrumdisorders
        Antibodies against Food Antigens in Patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
        de Magistris, L., Picardi, A., Siniscalco, D., Riccio, M. P., Sapone, A., Cariello, R., Abbadessa, S., Medici, N., Lammers,
        K. M., Schiraldi, C., Iardino, P., Marotta, R., Tolone, C., Fasano, A., Pascotto, A., Bravaccio, C. BioMed Research
        International Volume 2013, Article ID 729349, 11 pages
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23984403
        Subunit and whole molecule specificity of the anti-bovine casein immune response in recent onset psychosis and
        schizophrenia.
        Severance, E. G., Dickerson, F. B., Halling, M., Krivogorsky, B., Haile, L., Yang, S., Stallings, C. R., Origoni, A. E.,
        Bossis, I., Xiao, J., Dupont, D., Haasnoot, W., Yolken, R. H. Schizophr Res. 2010 May;118(1-3):240-7.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20071146
        IgG against food and atopic eczema
        Circulating immunoglobulins, leucocytes and complements in childhood-onset atopic eczema.
        Hon, K. L., Wang, S. S., Pong, N. H., Leung, T. F. Indian J Pediatr. 2013 Feb;80(2):128-31.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22706909

        • Harris 14 October, 2016 at 8:31 am #

          @H
          A fantastic example of pseudoscience!
          ImuPro claims to be able to predict with accuracy a diet to assist people with food intolerance. I have evaluated every one of the studies you list. The above list, with few exceptions, do not investigate a diet constructed from an IgE panel in the outcome. In the few that do, some are without a control group, or suffer from major drawbacks.

          For example, you quote the article by Isolauri et al (2004). In fact, this is an editorial referring to the study in the same journal by Atkinson et al. However you deliberately neglect to list the subsequent article in the same journal, “Food elimination in IBS: the case for IgG testing remains doubtful” (2005) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1774875/, which concludes “Despite the inconclusive results of this study, it has regrettably already been the subject of a press release and other publicity by the company that provided the IgG testing for this study, in order to promote IgG tests to the general public”.

          Significantly, contrast your analysis with expert groups from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and the Allergy Society of South Africa (ALLSA), who all evaluated the FULL BODY of evidence, and found no scientific support.

  2. Bhawesh 16 August, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    I'm quite suprised to read of this, as I also believed that this imupro test would alert me to and advice me of food allergies and intolerances that I may have and would help improve my health. I was also planning on having the test but now I am not sure wether I should or not, will it be worth my while to take the test? Also if not the imupro test, then is the another accredited and certified blood test that I can do that is correct in that it I would tell me foods and other substances that are bad for my health. Please advise. Thank you very much.

  3. Harris 16 August, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    I wish I could suggest an absolute accurate test, but there is not. For acute allergy reactions, serum specific IgE and skin prick testing is the most accurate in acute reactions, but even then, not 100% – but highly predictable when used in the right situations. Delayed allergy is problematical, no tests are highly reliable although research is showing some benefit for some tests in selected individuals. Intolerances all depend on the specific intolerance for each has a different mechanism, hence a different diagnostic test is required. ImuPro does accurately measure IgG, but there is absolute no proof that IgG is predictive of your allergy or intolerance. Indeed, in many instances it may seem positive but actually the person has developed a tolerance to that food!

  4. HH 11 March, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    After about 20 years or more suffering from chronic fatigue for no clear reason behind it. I was feeling like an off-power machine for half of the day. I did the ImuPro300 test. Consequently, I stopped eating bread and gluten foods for a year. After few weeks from starting to follow the test results advice I began to feel better. Now I feel I born once again. It was like a magic to me after all those days of suffering.

    HH

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