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Taking a gluten intolerance test

What you need to know about taking a gluten intolerance test

Welcome to GlutenIntoleranceTest.com. We offer information about non-celiac gluten sensitivity and the options for gluten intolerance testing. It’s important to know whether the body reacts in a harmful way to gluten. There are different  health problems associated with gluten. Finding out which if any apply to you is the first step in designing an optimal diet.

gluten intolerance test tube

A small stool sample is all that is needed for a laboratory to conduct a gluten intolerance test.

There are different reasons why some people react negatively to gluten-containing products.

  • Some people’s bodies create an antibody called anti-gliadin. This antibody is a reaction to gliadin, which is a component of gluten. People who react to gliadin with antibodies are “gluten intolerant”.
  • People can also be allergic to glutenin, another component of gluten. Gliadin allergy means you may have a “wheat or gluten allergy.”
  • People with celiacs disease have an an “auto-immune disease”.
  • There are also people who have a negative reaction to starchy products in general. These people may be under the impression they are specifically intolerant of gluten, when in fact over consumption of starches and sugars in general is to blame.

Clearly there are a variety of subtle differences separating gluten intolerance, gluten allergy, celiac disease and starch intolerance. It isn’t always evident which (or any) of these conditions are present. For that reason, taking the right gluten intolerance test is the best place to start.

Why take a gluten intolerance test?

To determine whether or not you are gluten intolerant, have a gliadin or glutenin allergy or have celiac desease, you can take a gluten intolerance test. It is important to know exactly what, if anything, you are up against. Celiacs disease is a serious condition, but goes undiagnosed in most cases. Gaining access to the right gluten intolerance test is an essential step in identifying undiagnosed celiac cases. Gluten intolerance can be annoying – tons of foods cannot be enjoyed without having to pay a price. That price varies per person. Some may simply become a bit drowsy, while others might experience more severe irritation. In general, however, a gluten intolerance is easy to manage. There are many great gluten free alternatives, and it seems more and more gluten free products are being offered. gluten intolerance test icebergCeliac disease on the other hand, is very serious. Diagnosing celiac disease can help prevent a plethora of complications, including brain damage. In fact, it is important that a lot more people take a gluten intolerance test because gluten is so rarely diagnosed. Gluten intolerance is the most undiagnosed disorder in the US! Only one out of every eighty people with gluten intolerance has actually been diagnosed. To say that the known cases of gluten intolerance represent only the tip of the iceberg would be an understatement. A gluten intolerance test can finally reveal the cause of years of discomfort, exhaustion and poor health.

Is there a gluten intolerance test to diagnose celiac disease with?

The answer is simple: no. There are no gluten intolerance test kits that diagnose celiacs disease. This is an important point, and should be made very clear. There are tests on the market that claim to be able to detect celiac disease. This is not true, these tests merely measure anti-gliadin. In other words, the tests determine gluten intolerance, but not celiac disease. Even a medical laboratory cannot measure celiac disease from a stool or blood sample. If there was a test for celiac disease, that would be wonderful. It simply isnt the case though.

So how is celiac disease diagnosed then?

Celiac disease can only be comfirmed with endoscopy. This means an instrument is fed through the mouth into the small intestine. Here a tissue sample is collected for analysis. The tissue is examined to determine if it is damaged in a way that is characteristic of celiac disease. If there was a simple test for celiac disease, it would be a blessing – however science has not yet produced an accurate test. It is unpleasant and invasive to have an instrument inserted through the mouth, and intestinal tissue removed. The nature of this exam is one of the reasons celiac disease goes undiagnosed in so many cases. So whats the point of taking a gluten intolerance test, you may be wondering? A gluten intolerance test can first and foremost help establish whether gluten is a problem. Once it has been determined that gluten is in fact triggering a response from the body, then it makes sense to undergo endoscopy. In other words, a gluten intolerance test can help make a selection of people who need endoscopy to determine whether celiac disease is present. With a negative gluten intolerance test result, it is immediately clear endoscopy is not needed, and there is no chance of celiac disease.

How accurate is a gluten intolerance test?

The truth is, a gluten intolerance test is less accurate than one would hope. It gets a bit technical, but here is the breakdown:

  • about one in one hundred people have gluten intolerance (people with irritable bowel syndrome much more frequently)
  • the gluten intolerance test has a specificity of 98%

What 98 % specificity means, is that 98% of all positive results are accurate. 2% of positive results are false positives. Since only 1% of the population tests positive, there are 2 false positive results for every real one. In other words, the specificity of the test is 98%, yet only 33% of positive results are truly positive. Keep in mind, this is the case with a random sample. People with IBS are gluten intolerant up to 4% of the time. So for people with IBS, about 6 of one hundred will have a positive gluten intolerance test result. 4 (66%) will have an accurate positive result. This is a bit better, but clearly there is some uncertainty regarding taking a gluten intolerance test. Kind of confusing? Absolutely. Unfortunately some companies are taking advantage of the confusing formula used to determine test accuracy, and are presenting their products as more accurate than they really are. What does specificity really tell you about a product? Nothing. More information is needed: How frequent are positive results? If a test is positive 50% of the time, and is 98% specific, 4% of positive results will be false positive. When the test is only positive 1% of the time, those false positive results 2% of the time become much more relevant.

My personal experience:

I started glutenintollerancetest.com because I have gluten intolerance, which went undiagnosed for most of my life. On the one hand I was in good shape and strong. On the other hand I was always tired, got sick easily and everything I did seemed to take much more effort than it should. After years of feeling this way, I was sort of resigned to it. I felt something was wrong, but I lacked a frame of reference and wasn’t really sure. My attitude was: “it is what it is, just suck it up.” It wasn’t untill I was almost 30 that I finally took a gluten intolerance test, which revealed high levels of anti-gliadin. This means that my body perceives Gliadin, a component of the gluten protein, as a harmful pathogen. Basically my body confuses gluten for a harmful bacteria, and tries to attack it. Of course gluten isn’t a pathogen – it isn’t even alive. So the body ends up fighting an endless, pointless battle against a phantom opponent. This battle may not have a real opponent, but it does have a real victim: the human body. Especially in the case of celiac disease, there are a plethora of real, and sometimes very serious, health risks. For people with gluten intolerance, the result is often constant fatigue and cold and flu symptoms. When people are sick, the symptoms are often caused by the immune response of the body itself – not by the source of the illness. Gluten intolerance is often confused with celiac disease, or thought of as an allergy. In fact it isn’t an allergy at all, but an auto immune response. The body makes a distinctlty different antibody in response to gluten than it does with other allergies. For example, with a peanut allergy, the body makes IgE antibodies – the same is true of almost all allergies – even wheat allergy, which is so easy to confuse with gluten intolerance, triggers an IgE antibody response. Gluten intolerance triggers an IgA response. IgA responses are normally reserved for bacteria. So in other words, the body mistakes gluten for a bacteria, and reacts accordingly. One type of gluten intolerance test involves testing a stool sample, to determine the presence of Iga in the stool. Atni-tissue-transglutaminase is the specific Iga response that is tested for. Gluten is a protein, and one of the components in gluten is gliadin. The body makes enzymes to break down gliadin, which can be found in the stool.

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