What is Pinnertest?
Using just a few drops of blood from your fingertip, Pinnertest is an accurate, easy-to-perform at-home test that uses advanced microarray technology to identify temporary and permanent food intolerances.
In fact, the company claims that Pinnertest is the only one in the world that can test for these intolerances and provide you with a detailed list of foods to avoid. Simply stick your finger, return the sample pad, and within a few days you’ll have your results.
Because of this, Pinnertest claims to have been used by over half a million satisfied customers and health specialists. They even claim that it’s a standard procedure in most European countries.
If you just visited the Pinnertest website, you probably have a lot of questions. Is food intolerance a widespread problem? If so, can you really expect Pinnertest to help identify yours? Is it accurate? Will it provide a solid value?
Here, we’ll discuss what we learned during our research—as well as our hands-on feedback about Pinnertest’s service—so you can make a more empowered, informed decision.
Completing the Test: How Does Pinnertest Work?
Important Note: A representative from Pinnertest reached out and offered their testing services to us free of charge. Outside of this, no remuneration was involved and what follows is my truthful feedback. There is no material relatiosnhip between HighYa and Pinnertest.
After placing my Pinnertest order, I receive a blood collection kit within a few business days. Inside were blood sample collection materials, an informational booklet, and a prepaid return envelope.
Everything included in my Pinnertest kit.
After opening the blood sample collection box, I found a kit containing an alcohol swab, circular bandage, two lancets, and a tri-fold blood collection pad.
Pinnertest’s blood collection kit comes with everything you need to sterilize, collect, and dress your finger afterward.
Per the easy-to-follow instructions, I wiped my fingertip with the sterilized gauze and opened the blood collection pad. Then, I twisted the green plastic tip from the needle dispenser to remove.
After placing the needle directly on top of my fingertip, I firmly pressed the large green button, which quickly plunged the ultra-fine needle into my skin.
Important note: Are you afraid of needles? The needle was so fine in the dispenser that I almost didn’t feel it. In fact, I had to quickly massage my finger from the base to the top to stimulate blood flow, for fear the tiny hole would quickly close.
At any rate, after allowing 2-3 blood droplets to fall on the collection pad’s small circle, I cleaned my fingertip and applied the bandage.
A view of Pinnertest’s small blood collection pad, with their ultra-fine needle dispenser to the left.
In fact, the hole created by the tiny needle was so small that I quickly had to squeeze out a few drops of blood onto the collection pad before it closed.
Finally, I completed the form included in the test kit, placed it and the collection pad in the return envelope, and had it in the mail the following day.
Before getting to my what my results revealed, let’s quickly discuss how Pinnertest will identify nearly 200 different food sensitivities.
How Does Pinnertest Identify Food Intolerances?
Pinnertest tests for IgG antibodies in your blood sample, which are released during bacterial and viral infections, as well as in response to food intolerance.
Interestingly, different triggers can cause the body to release different antibodies. And by identifying the presence of certain antibodies, Pinnertest claims they can identify specific food intolerances.
In fact, they claim their test is so accurate that it can differentiate between permanent intolerances (those caused by genetics) and temporary ones, which can be caused by overeating and illness. Specifically, Pinnertest does this by testing for IgG I and IV antibodies.
Pro tip: Although they have similar names, IgG is different than the IgE antibodies identified in standard food allergy tests. Here’s a good way to understand the difference:
- IgG = May indicate food intolerance, since these antibodies are often released at a much slower rate and tend to stick around the body for longer periods of time.
- IgE = Immediately released in response to allergens, including food triggers, so they can be used to identify food (and other) allergies.
The company accomplishes this using something called microarray technology. Here, a small glass plate encased in plastic contains a minute amount of serum, which is simultaneously exposed to a large variety of allergen molecules.
This provides the ability to test for hundreds of potential allergens in a short amount of time and using a very small sample.
What’s Included in Your Pinnertest Report?
A few days after sending off my collection kit, I received an email from customer support letting me know that my sample was at the lab, my consent form was on file, and that my results should arrive within 7-10 business days.
Sure enough, 10 days later, I received my results via email. What did I learn?
Inside my seven-page Pinnertest report were 11 different foods sectioned by type, including grains, legumes, dairy/eggs, meat, fish/seafood, vegetables, fruits, seeds/nuts, spices/herbs, drinks, and others (honey, maple syrup, tapioca, yeast, etc.).
Underneath each of these sections were two columns: A green column showing the specific food and a red column that indicated if I was unable to digest it.
My Pinnertest report also indicated potential reaction levels (+1: low reaction, +2: moderate reaction, or +3: severe reaction) for any foods to which I was intolerant. And just like the company claims, my results revealed varying intolerance levels for four different foods: wheat, almond, basil, and cinnamon.
According to my Pinnertest Food Intolerance Report, I was mildly intolerant of wheat and almond, more intolerant of basil, and highly intolerant of cinnamon.
According to the email in which my results arrived, “We know, from our research, that the majority of patients who alter their diet [called an elimination diet] in accordance with their own test results show a significant improvement in their symptom(s) within three weeks.”
If I had further questions, I could also speak to Pinnertest consultants free of charge.
Note: According to the original Pinnertest rep we spoke with, these consultants cannot provide nutrition or medical advice. Instead, they can only help interpret your report (ex: Are you intolerant to all mushrooms, or just one specific type?). From there, you can jumpstart your elimination diet.
How much will you pay for one of these food intolerance tests?
How Much Does Pinnertest Cost?
Pinnertest is priced at $490, plus free worldwide S&H. You can pay all at once, or over four monthly installments.
All purchases come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, although you’ll have to request a refund within seven working days of receiving your kit. In order to request one, customer support can be reached at (201) 266-0330.
Now that we’ve established Pinnertest’s basics, we need to take it a step further and learn more about what the test claims to help address.
Is Food Intolerance a Real Affliction? What Are the Side Effects?
The AAAAI tells us that a “food intolerance, or a food sensitivity, occurs when a person has difficulty digesting a particular food. This can lead to symptoms such as intestinal gas, abdominal pain or diarrhea.” But why?
Although they often have similar symptoms, food allergies trigger the body’s immune system; they often come on suddenly and can constitute a medical emergency in a worst-case scenario.
Food intolerance, on the other hand, often presents itself when the body can’t digest certain foods, whether due to absence of an enzyme (this is often the case for individuals who are lactose intolerant), sensitivity to certain chemicals, toxins (such as those present in undercooked beans), as well as the natural presence of histamines in foods.
Now, in the presence of some of these irritants (especially gluten), the cellular junctions in the lining of the gut can widen, allowing particles to enter the bloodstream. Known as leaky gut, this can result in the side effects noted earlier.
In some instances, these particles can even make their way past the blood-brain barrier, which is something that’s frequently referenced in the Dr. Oz videos hosted on the Pinnertest website.
Given what we just learned from authoritative websites, it seems that food intolerance is indeed a real affliction that can have a meaningfully negative impact on health.
Now, the important question is this: How accurate are tests like Pinnertest? Can they really pinpoint specific foods? Have they been clinically shown to recognize the difference between permanent and temporary intolerances?
Who’s Behind Pinnertest?
Pinner USA Inc. is a division of the Arrayit Corporation, which is headed by CEO Mark Schena. Arrayit had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and no closed complaints as of 1/26/17).
Is There Clinical Evidence to Support Pinnertest’s Claims?
The Pinnertest website provides a comprehensive list of links backing up many of the claims on their website, although nothing related to the effectiveness of their specific test.
Fortunately, we had the opportunity to speak with a Pinnertest representative. They informed us that the company has been around for 30 years in other countries, but for only three years in the U.S.
They noted that several studies have been completed in these other countries, and we’re awaiting copies for review. We’ll be sure to update this article as soon as a response is received.
They also informed us that Pinnertest is currently undergoing a U.S.-based trial with 2,000 test subjects, although the results won’t be available until mid-2018.
What Do Authoritative Sites Say About IgG Tests for Food Intolerance?
While IgE blood and skin prick tests (SPT) are accepted by the FDA as valid methods of measuring food allergies, the same can’t currently be said about IgG tests that promise to measure food intolerance. Here’s how Science Based Medicine sums it up:
“IgG antibodies signify exposure to products—not allergy. IgG may actually be a marker for food tolerance, not intolerance, some research suggests … That research is continuing.
But given the lack of correlation between the presence of IgG and physical manifestations of illness, IgG testing is considered unproven as a diagnostic agent as the results lack clinical utility as a tool for dietary modification or food elimination.”
The author goes on to cite dozens of quotes from authoritative organizations, such as the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, as well as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. They also link to several clinical studies asserting the same.
To get a solid handle on the situation, we’d strongly recommend taking a few minutes and reading through the page.
Pro tip: We think this information casts doubt on the company’s claims that IgG tests haven’t been accepted by the medical community because they can’t differentiate between temporary and permanent intolerance. Instead, it appears to be due to insufficient evidence proving their accuracy and effectiveness.
Despite this general lack of clinical evidence and support from the medical community at large, several third-party IgG blood tests are currently available, including popular options like Hemocode ($450), YorkTest (about $20 to $400), and EverlyWell ($199).
What’s the Bottom Line About Pinnertest?
While Pinnertest comes with a not-insignificant price, if it can really help you discern intolerant foods and improve your overall health, it might provide a great deal of value.
However, authoritative websites indicate that there’s little-to-no clinical evidence drawing a direct relationship between IgG blood tests and identifying specific food intolerances.
In my firsthand experience, I eliminated as much wheat as possible (that stuff is in everything!) for a period of five weeks. I rarely eat basil, almonds, or cinnamon, so I didn’t focus on these specific foods.
As a result, I definitely noticed a reduction in bloating and even went down one pant size. However, I’ll admit that I was eating an excessive amount of wheat-based carbohydrates before my elimination diet, so it might make sense that suddenly restricting my intake would have some visible benefits.
Outside of this, though, I didn’t necessarily notice increased energy, decreased gassiness, or any other meaningful benefits that I might directly attribute to my Pinnertest results, or the elimination diet that followed.
In the meantime, we’re still awaiting a response from Pinnertest’s lab regarding European clinical trials. Be sure to bookmark this page and we’ll update as soon as we know more!
What about you? Did you purchase a Pinnertest? What did it reveal? Once you eliminated any foods it referenced, did you improve your health? If so, how? Give us all the details in your review below!
I had an episode after eating shrimp that led me to have my blood tested (at the doctor) to see if the reaction I had was an allergy or something else. My results came back all positive for shellfish, so I decided to purchase Pinnertest in order to investigate further. Not only did shellfish not show up but only two things did - corn and poppyseed, both of which I rarely eat. Super disappointed especially when paying so much money.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
6 out 7 people found this review helpful
Pinnertest is legit
My husband and I both took the Pinnertest and it revealed several foods that we are intolerant to. Both of us actually knew (although didn't want to believe) that we were bothered by certain foods.
For me it was coffee, chickpeas, eggplant, and cabbage. I had known that more than one cup of coffee gave me some rage issues, but I had thought it was the caffeine. Nope, I don't get that reaction from any other caffeinated food or beverage, so I cut it out and have felt much better. I used to be angry the first two hours of the day.
My husband never liked egg yolks, and dairy gave him issues, but he had continued to eat both. Turns out he reacts to cows milk, egg yolks, lentils, and pork, which also gave him a reaction immediately after eating it, but he had ignored it. He has stopped all and feels much better.
It is empowering to know exactly what your dietary issues are, and I would highly recommend the Pinnertest!
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
13 out 16 people found this review helpful
Pinnertest worked for me
My health started going south in 2013, but with the help of my Naturopathic doctor, I was feeling about 80% better until 2016. My year was filled with respiratory problem after respiratory problem; I had pneumonia twice, bronchitis twice, more phlegm than I ever thought possible, intestinal track issues and my traditional doctor (whom I quit going to) was telling me I had COPD. I knew I didn't, but when I disagreed with her, she grinned and laughed like I had no idea what my body was telling me, and that's when I decided to take my medical issues into my own hands.
I decided to do my own research to find out why my health seemed to be going downhill. After recalling my naturopath talking with me about food sensitivity testing, I decided to start my research there. I found enough interesting information linking sensitivities with leaky gut, respiratory issues, depression and a few other issues that had been bothering me. I knew I needed to get some testing done, so I researched different food sensitivity testing labs and later chose Pinnertest.
The results came back with three foods listed: bananas, coffee and gluten (which I already been told I shouldn't be eating due to my Thyroid disorder but had not actually taken it out of my diet completely as of the day I took the Pinnertest). After reading the results I took all three items out of my diet and within two to three weeks began feeling much better; the phlegm was gone along with the respiratory issues, and within another week or two my depression was gone, and I've felt great ever since.
I received my results from the Pinnertest in mid-December and haven't felt this good in over five years. I am a true believer in this test.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend