Is it correct that something can show up as an intolerance because the pet has been consuming the item often?
If your pet has a food intolerance, it means that your pet is lacking the digestive enzyme to break that particular food down. So the reaction is not life threatening and may take hours or days after eating the food to manifest any type of symptom. Unlike a true allergy, where only a trace amount can trigger a reaction, with an intolerance symptom, it may manifest only if they eat a substantial amount of the food. So it is not the act of consuming the item often that creates the intolerance. The intolerance is always there, it is really the manifestation of the symptoms that becomes more apparent with overconsumption. That is why it is always recommended to feed in rotation and moderation after the initial elimination period to avoid triggering any unwanted symptoms.
How long does it take to see improvement for you or your pet once you eliminate level 3 and/or level 2 food items?
If the elimination plan is done correctly, you or your pet should start experiencing improvements within 2-3 weeks of the elimination plan.
Some dairy items didn’t show up on my level 3 results but lactose did. Should I eliminate all dairy products?
Our testing list is item specific except for a few categories such as lactose, whey protein, and gluten. If lactose shows up on your results, you will need to eliminate all dairy products even if all individual "dairy" items did not register on your lists.
Does a level 3 lactose mean to eliminate all dairy?
Can you explain what the different levels mean on the food intolerance test?
The different levels indicate the severity of the symptoms you may experience from ingesting or being exposed to items you registered an intolerance to. Level 3 items can present themselves as noticeable symptoms such as joint pain, diarrhea, constipation, itchy skin, dry skin, inflammation, headaches, mood changes, and more. Level 2 items are less severe, and IF they are noticeable symptoms, they will be more mild than the level 3 item reactions. Level 1 items are just beginning to affect the body at a cellular level and will most likely not have any noticeable symptoms.
Can you explain the different levels?
Why would it show that I have a nutritional imbalance on an item I am already taking a supplement for?
If you are currently supplementing with a particular vitamin/nutrient, and you registered that item on your results report, it can indicate that the source of the supplement is not being absorbed properly by the body. This would mean you need to try and consume whole foods that contain the nutrients you need versus continuing on the supplement. Our bodies are designed to naturally absorb nutrients from whole foods instead of synthetic supplements. If you are unable to incorporate the whole foods containing the nutrients you need into your diet, you can search for an organic/all-natural supplement that may be better absorbed by the body. Always consult with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting a supplement.
After receiving my results, I am still confused on what to do. Do you have anyone you can refer to me for help?
5Strands does not have nutritionists on staff. However, we do work with many different holistic practitioners. You can always contact our customer support team and see if they have anyone in your area that can help you.
It says I will receive a How To Interpret Sheet to help understand my results. I am not seeing that sheet. Where do I find it?
The How To Interpret Sheet is actually the first page of your testing results. It is not a completely separate document.
Where is the "How To Interpret"?
If an item did not show up on my results, what does that mean?
First, it would be important to check the master list to see if we test for the item in question or not. If we test for it, and it did not show up on your results, then you are not intolerant to it on any level. If we do not test for the item, then we would not be able to indicate if you would have a reaction or not. We recommend not eating any items we do not test for during your elimination period to achieve optimum results.
What if an item did not show on my results?
Why is there a difference between cooked vs raw food?
Any time heat is added to a food, the composition of the food changes. Therefore it can affect the way your body reacts to it. This is true for any process a food undergoes. That is the beauty of this type of testing. It opens up more food choices for you when you are preparing your elimination plan.
Cooked VS Raw
I have a known allergy. Why did this not show up on my results?
5Strands tests for intolerances, and not true allergies. True allergies trigger the immune system, and intolerances do not. If you have a true allergy to an item, it does not mean that you will be intolerant to it also.
I have a known allergy not on my results...
If I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, why is gluten not on my test results?
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine's lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients (malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications. The testing that 5Strands conducts does not test for immune system responses. We test for only intolerances. You can actually have an immune system response to gluten, but not an intolerance response. For individuals that have not consumed gluten for an extended period of time, it typically will not show up on their results report.
How can I have an intolerance to soy buy not soy sauce?
Not all "soy" items are created equal. When you take a particular food items and add ingredients to it, it will change the chemical and physical composition of the item, therefore your intolerance to it can change. In the case of soy sauce, the soy in the sauce is “fermented." That means that the soy is broken down by microorganisms, and the remaining sauce doesn’t have the same soy proteins as soybeans.
Soy but not soy sauce?
What do the E-items mean?

E-items are additives, other than the basic raw ingredients, used in processed or pre-packaged foods that affect the food's characteristics.
Here is the breakdown of what an E-item number refers to:
- 100-199 Food Coloring
- 200-299 Preservatives
- 300-399 Antioxidants
- 400-499 Thickeners, Emulsifiers, Stabilizers
- 500-599 Acidity Regulators, Anti-caking Agents
- 600-699 Flavor Enhancers
- 700-999 Sweeteners, Foaming Agents, Gases

For the full description of each E-Item please visit our Items Tested tab

What do the E-Items mean?
Why did the same item register on both my Nutrition and Metal/Mineral Imbalance results?
An item showing up on both the Nutrition test as well as Metals/Minerals test indicates that the body is not processing the item properly. Rather than being absorbed by the body to be used in beneficial ways [reported as a nutritional imbalance], excesses are being stored in the tissues and the imbalance is reported as an overload of that item (metals/minerals imbalance).
Why did the same item show on both Nutrition & Metal/Mineral?
What do the levels of the nutrition test mean? Am I deficient or am I intolerant to these items?
This test will indicate your body’s inability to absorb and process the particular nutrient tested. It does not mean you are intolerant to the nutrient, it means your body is not getting enough of it, and you will need to consume more foods that are rich in that particular nutrient.
What do the level of nutrition mean?
Do I need to detox based on my Metals & Minerals results?
The purpose of the metals and minerals test is to raise your awareness of items in your environment that can potentially cause you harm. Since we live in a toxic world, it is best to consider doing a natural detox on a regular basis. Eliminating processed and prepared foods is the start. Incorporate whole foods into your daily nutrition plan that include green leafy vegetables, fruit, whole-grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Vegetables and fruits contain enzymes that help improve digestion and also many nutrients that are strong detoxifying agents. In addition, drink lots of filtered water to enable your body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Do something every day that makes you sweat. Whether you exercise or sit in an infrared sauna, sweating equals detoxification!
Is it normal to have so many items listed on my pet’s test results?
5Strands strives to offer testing that includes many items that can be potential intolerances. With that being said, there may be many items that show up on your pet's test results. Every pet is unique, and some pets will have more items registered than another pet.
Why So Many Items?
What should I feed my pet?
Unfortunately, we are unable to endorse a specific brand of commercial/processed pet food for each pet. 5Strands testing results provides you with an elimination guideline. In order to determine what you can feed your pet, start by cross-referencing your pet's results with the master list of items tested. Cross off the level 3 and level 2 items, and only feed your pet the remaining items. If you are unable to find a kibble or canned food that is suitable for your pet's needs, you may have to consider switching to home cooked or raw feeding during the 6-8 week elimination period. Pick a protein on the master list that is not on their level 3 or level 2 list, and pick a few vegetables that also did not register. You can cook them in a slow cooker, and portion them off into baggies. You can find more details on how to home cook for your pet online, or you can email us at info@5Strands.com.
What should I feed my pet?
If an item on my pets level 3 intolerance list is listed as an ingredient on their bag of kibble but it is towards the end of the ingredient list, can they still eat this kibble?
When it comes to intolerances, it does not make a difference where the item is listed as an ingredient. It could be the last item on the list and it could be the trigger that is causing your pet to experience unwanted symptoms. It is best to make sure that when preparing to do the elimination plan, all of the level 3 items have been eliminated from your pet's food for at least 6-8 weeks. You can then begin introducing those items and see if your pet does not respond to those level 3 items. If this elimination plan is followed the way it was intended, you should see improvement within 2-3 weeks. If you choose to feed your pet items that are on their level 3 intolerance list, just remember that it could take longer to see improvement. Unfortunately, we never know for sure, which items on that level are the ones that are triggering the unwanted symptoms your pet may be experiencing.
Can they still eat Kibble?
How can my pet be intolerant to just a part of the cow (like beef liver) and not all beef?
Our test is very item specific. Certain cuts of meat and organs can resonate differently. If it is listed on the master list of food items we test for and it does not show up on the results, then it is ok to consume that particular item.
How can my pet be intolerance to just a part?
How can my dog be “allergic” to dogs?
5Strands tests for intolerances, and not true allergies. Your dog may register intolerant to other dogs if the hair, fur, or dander creates a response in their body. The best way to eliminate any potential issues that may come with this, is to keep your dog(s) washed and brushed, keep your floors cleaned and vacuumed, and potentially purchase an air filter/purifier.
How is my dog "allergic" to dogs?
Can you provide my results in a csv or excel format?
Our lab is only able to generate the results in a PDF format. We do not offer the testing results in any other format for your safety.
My pet had immediate reaction after consuming a level 1 item. Why did this happen?
Please remember that our test is identifying intolerances and not a true allergy. Your pet can have a true allergy to a particular food item which will not be indicated on our test results. The key is an immediate reaction. If the reaction is immediate and severe, it is probably a response to an allergy. If this happens, stop feeding your pet this item. Allergies are a bit easier to identify due to the immediate response as opposed to intolerances which have a delayed response.
Should I retest my pet? If so, how often?
It is not necessary to retest your pet. The goal of our testing is to help you be more aware of your pet's health. After you have gone through the initial elimination period and started reintroducing food items, you should eventually be able to come up with a nutrition plan that will keep your pet from experiencing any unwanted symptoms. Rotating your pet's foods and recipes can help to prevent an intolerance from reoccurring. If your pet has a flare up of symptoms and you can not determine what has triggered the issues, you can choose to retest your pet and modify their nutrition plan accordingly.
Once I have purchased just an individual test, can I upgrade to a package?
The lab will retain the hair sample for approximately 30 days before it has been disposed of. As long as the sample is still available, you can pay the difference between the test you purchased originally and the test you would like to have run. You would need to contact our customer service team at 1-833-600-8378 to process the request.
What should I do after implementing my elimination plan?
After completing your 6-8 week elimination plan, you can take one food at a time that was on your level 3 or level 2 list, and re-introduce it back into your diet. Eat it, and wait a few days to see if you have any noticeable symptoms. Since intolerances are temporary, your body may have been able to heal and rebalance from the offending item during the elimination period. Remember to always eat in moderation and rotation.
What is after the elimination plan?
How will I know if the intolerance is gone without doing another test?
Our testing is designed to help you become more in tune with your body. After eliminating the level 3 and level 2 items for 6-8 weeks, you can re-introduce one item at a time into your diet. If you eat it and wait a few days, and do not have any symptoms, then your body may have re-balanced and you will be able to continue to eat the item again in moderation. Some of our customers choose to retest every 6 months or so, but this is not entirely necessary if you have become more in tune with your body and can identify what foods may be causing the symptoms you experience.
Can I get my results emailed, faxed, or mailed to me?
Our results are generally sent to customers via email and the app. However, we would be happy to manually mail or fax your results to you if needed. Please email us at info@5strands.com to request a hard copy to be mailed or faxed, or call us at 1-833-600-8378.
Can I get a list of food items I did not register an intolerance to?
The lab does not generate a list of items that did not register an intolerance. Only the items that registered an intolerance are available on the results report. Since we are testing for intolerances only, we will not know whether or not you have a "true allergy" to a particular item. We would not want to actually tell you it is ok to consume or be exposed to an item that can be life threatening to you. Instead, we recommend cross-referencing to the master list.
Are there reference ranges so I can compare the tests I received from my doctor?
Our testing cannot be compared to blood tests, saliva tests, or skin prick testing. We are only testing for intolerances and energetic imbalances, and our independent lab sets the rates and thresholds. This method of results reporting is proprietary to the lab that 5Strands utilizes for the testing.