Testing for Allergies using the Coca Pulse Test

by Rachel Olivier, MS, ND, PhD

The ‘Coca Pulse Test’ developed by Dr. Arthur F. Coca is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to identify foods or substances to which one may be allergic, sensitive or intolerant.  It is based upon the principle that stress caused by intolerant foods accelerates the pulse rate.  It follows that increases in the pulse rate after ingesting particular foods can identify sensitivity to those foods.  According to Dr. Coca, “the pulse has been almost totally neglected as an indicator of ill health.”

The Coca test is self-administered and follows a simple procedure.  First, take the pulse fourteen (14) times per day for three (3) days as follows: once before getting out of bed, once before each meal, 3 times after each meal at 30 minute intervals, and just before bedtime.  The duration of the pulse recording must be one full minute.  All pulses should be taken while sitting except for the first, which is taken immediately upon waking.  Record all results and the contents of each meal.  Snacks should be avoided, but, if eaten, their contents and the pulse should also be recorded.

In evaluating the results, please note that the daily low pulse rate is normally equivalent to the waking rate pulse rate (the exception being when a suspected allergen is in the bed).  So first, make note of the highest and lowest pulse on each day.  Normally, the maximum range difference is 16 beats.  A higher rate indicates that an allergen has been encountered.

Next, calculate the average pulse, as well as the differential (the difference between the daily low and high rates).  Anything that causes variation from the differential is a suspected allergen.

If an increased pulse after a meal is noted, a dietary sensitivity can be present.  To determine which substance is the cause, eliminate select elements of that meal and test again.  Foods raising the resting pulse over 12 beats per minute above the morning resting pulse indicate a suspected allergen and should be eliminated.

Because smoking affects the results, smokers should abstain from smoking during the 3 day test.  Certain drugs, specifically those that control heart rate such as beta-blockers, also affect the test results.

Utilizing this test, Dr. Coca identified a large number of allergens and subsequently eliminated them from his patients’ diets.  For additional details on this technique, reference Dr. Coca’s book, The Pulse Test.

Rachel Olivier, MS, ND, PhD

Rachel Olivier is a Physician Advisor for Biotics Research Corporation, a position she has held for nine years. She holds a Masters degree in Molecular Biology from University of Louisiana, along with a traditional Naturopathic Degree from Honolulu University, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Human Nutrition and Biology from California University.

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10 Comments Leave yours

  1. Stephen Clausen DC #

    How can a person use the Coca test if they take beta blockers?

    • It would be the same procedure. The heart rate will be decreased with the beta blocker, but the pulse should still accelerate with any given allergy.

  2. Suzy Burnette #

    Great article It will be able to help a lot of people with their allergies.

  3. Lauren #

    Thank you for posting this information. I’m confused about whether I should be assessing problematic foods based on 12 beats per minute over my morning pulse, or within 16 beats per minute over my morning pulse (since within 16 beats is acceptable). Could you advise?

    • The pulse test designates that foods raising the resting pulse over 12 beats per minute above the morning resting pulse indicate a suspected allergen, and the particular food should be eliminated. It is suggested that you first make a note of the highest and lowest pulse on each day. Typically, the maximum range difference is 16 beats.

      Rachel Olivier, MS, ND, PhD
      Physician Advisor, Biotics Research

  4. Madeleine #

    I would like to try this with my 19 month old, who is still nursing frequently. Is there anything different I should do for his age? Take pulse after nursing, just like meals? Still 12 pulses above? Thank you for this info!

    • Madeleine #

      Oh, and he nurses all night… so would that throw the morning pulse off?

  5. Hi, I just starting taking my pulse, and have noticed that my pulse beats have risen 12 beats 30 minutes after consuming breakfast, compared to the before breakfast rate. I drink two cups of coffee with my breakfast- could the caffeine be causing the raise instead of an allergy? The same increase did not occur after lunch, after consuming a cup of black tea. Thanks!

    • Meryl #

      Mary, have you experimented with this? I have found coffee doesn’t raise my heart rate.

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