Food Sensitivity Tests, Gut Health, and the NOD2 Gene

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

Can food sensitivity tests really help you get to the bottom of your gut health issues?

The popularity of the gut in the health world has been drastically growing over the years as many people are starting to discover the importance a healthy microbiome has on your body.

Your energy levels, mood, cognitive function, skin health, and so much more are affected by your gut.

In an attempt to steer towards a healthier life, many people have looked at optimizing their gut health by getting “food sensitivity tests”, hoping to find the foods that are causing any harm to their gut.

I’ll admit, the marketing for a lot of these companies is great and really sell you on the “benefits” of taking their tests.

You should NOT use these tests as a basis to improve your gut health.

And here’s why.

These tests measure your body’s IgG response to certain foods. The assumption is that a high level of IgG antibodies for a particular food means you’re sensitive to or intolerant of that food.

But in reality, IgG antibodies are generally considered a normal part of your immune system’s response to foods and other substances.

In fact, higher IgG levels can indicate that you’ve been exposed to a food more often, not that you’re necessarily intolerant to it.

Which is why any time you take the test, you’ll most likely find that you’re “intolerant” to something that’s a big part of your diet – something that might actually be good for you!

So how did I optimize my gut health?

I recently wrote an article on how I solved my food sensitivities and optimized my gut health.

The key point from that article is that I heavily utilized my own DNA to build a protocol.

Your body’s reaction to certain foods can be largely determined by your unique genetic makeup.

This means that the key to a truly healthy gut lies in understanding your own genetics.

Serotonin, Your Gut, and the HTR3A Gene

Serotonin is best known as a “happiness” neurotransmitter and its roles in mental health, reward, and happiness.

But did you know that about 90% of your body’s serotonin is found in your gut?

It’s a pivotal part of your gut health, and the HTR3A gene plays a big part in your gut as it’s responsible for an important serotonin receptor that keeps your gut healthy.

If you carry the negative variant of the HTR3A gene, it could potentially disrupt serotonin function in your gut.

Fortunately, there’s one specific herbal supplement that can counteract the negative effects of your HTR3A gene.

Good vs. Bad Bacteria and the NOD2 Gene

The NOD2 gene plays the role of being your gut’s “bouncer.”

This gene helps your body distinguish between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut, helping you keep that healthy balance of bacteria in your microbiome.

The negative variant of this gene isn’t able to properly tell the difference between the bacteria, potentially allowing harmful bacteria to enter the gut and removing beneficial bacteria.

Adding Resistant Starch to your diet can help keep your gut balanced if you carry the negative gene.

Cold Sensitivity and the TRPM8 Gene

The TRPM8 gene is the major sensory perceptor of cold in our bodies. It is activated either by cold temperatures or by menthol, which is why mint makes our mouths feel cold.

It also helps ensure that everything in our digestive system keeps moving smoothly along and so it’s an important gene for gut motility.

Apart from peppermint and menthol, there’s one additional change you can make to your diet to counteract the negative variant!

Create Your Own Gut Health Protocol

Targeting your food sensitivities is definitely a great approach to optimizing your gut health, but IgG tests are not the way to approach it.

I built my very own protocol that has allowed me to optimize my gut and eat anything I want, and I did it all through SelfDecode.

These are only 3 genes that can help you discover the best plan for your gut health, but we also have a Gut Health Summary Report that analyzes thousands of genes and gives you personalized recommendations to start optimizing your gut and your overall health.

If you sign up for SelfDecode today, you’ll receive the Gut Health Summary Report, access to the 3 blog posts above, and 600+ additional articles, plus:

  • 17+ Summary Reports – Covering health topics like metabolic health, heart health, brain health, and so much more.
  • 300+ Health & Trait Reports
  • Unlimited access to Lab analyzer tool – upload your labs and track your results
  • Personalized supplement formula – instantly created based on your unique genes
  • SNP & Gene Explorer
  • Lifestyle Analyzer
  • NEW! Ancestry – discover where you’re from and track your maternal lineage (Only available on Health & Ancestry Plan)


About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen flipped the script on conventional and alternative medicine…and it worked. Growing up, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and other issues that were poorly understood in traditional healthcare. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a learning journey to decode his DNA and track his biomarkers in search of better health. Through this personalized approach, he discovered his genetic weaknesses and was able to optimize his health 10X better than he ever thought was possible. Based on his own health success, he went on to found SelfDecode, the world’s first direct-to-consumer DNA analyzer & precision health tool that utilizes AI-driven polygenic risk scoring to produce accurate insights and health recommendations. Today, SelfDecode has helped over 100,000 people understand how to get healthier using their DNA and labs.
Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, with a mission of empowering people to take advantage of the precision health revolution and uncover insights from their DNA and biomarkers so that we can all feel great all of the time.


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