Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is used in some medications, cosmetic products, and toothpaste. Some people are intolerant to gluten and the severe form of it appears as Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a rare autoimmune disorder that is found in only 7 people out of every 1000 in the U.S. causing gluten allergy and can be diagnosed by gluten intolerance tests. There is a misconception that if celiac disease is negative, it means you do not have gluten intolerance but that is not the case always because gluten intolerance does not depend on it.
People who suffer from celiac disease and also not avoid eating gluten-containing food face a condition in which there is the production of antibodies in their bodies that attack the lining of their small intestine. This not only harms the digestive system but also becomes a hindrance in the absorption of essential nutrients.
It is not necessary to have celiac disease if you have gluten intolerance and vice versa. Hence few of the symptoms of both conditions are:
Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
- Abdominal Pain
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis
- Weight Loss
- Osteoporosis and Osteomalacia
When The Tests Should Be Done?
Gluten intolerance tests should be done when:
- A child above 3 years of age showing symptoms of celiac disease
- If you have any autoimmune disorder such as Down Syndrome, autoimmune thyroid disorder, Diabetes type 1, Turner syndrome, etc.
- If your first degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) are suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance
10 Gluten Intolerance Tests
Following are the gluten intolerance tests that you can do for the confirmation of gluten intolerance:
1. Simple Blood Test
A simple blood test can be done for screening celiac disease. There is a condition if you are going to have a blood test for this purpose. You have to eat something that contains gluten before giving the blood for a gluten intolerance test. In the case of celiac disease, there will be an increased number of antibodies in your body than normal screen by a blood test.
2. tTG-IgA Test
Gluten intolerance tests include the Tissue Trans Glutaminase IgA antibody test (tTG-IgA). All the gluten intolerance tests require the intake of any gluten-containing food before the test so in the case of the tTG-IgA test. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, there can be two conditions:
- The test will be positive in about 98% of people who do not avoid gluten and take a gluten-containing diet
- The test will be negative in 95% of people who are not suffering from celiac disease.
In the case of a child of 2 years of age or less than 2 years, the test includes Deamidated Gliadin IgA and IgG antibodies.
In this test, tissue is taken from the small intestine for diagnosing celiac disease. It often begins with a simple blood test of the issue Trans Glutaminase IgA antibody test (tTG-IgA). If your doctor finds any indication of celiac disease, he may insert an endoscope to check the small intestine before confirming the disease ad prescribing a suitable treatment plan for it.
4. Total Serum IgA Test
It is one of the gluten intolerance tests done for the deficiency of IgA that can be a reason for false-negative EMA or tTG-IgA test. If there is IgA deficiency, the doctor advises further tests like the DGP test or tTG-IgA test.
5. EMA Test
IgA Endomysial Antibody Test or EMA test is one of the top gluten intolerance tests having the specificity of 100% and is done when there is difficulty diagnosing the celiac disease with any other test. It is not as sensitive as the tTG-IgA test but is more expensive than that. The Endomysial Antibody test involves the use of the human umbilical cord and primate esophagus.
6. Genetic Testing
Genetic Testing is done for human leukocyte antigens which are HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. If you have these antigens, it really does not mean that you have the disease for sure but the presence of these antigens (HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8) increases the chance of you getting the celiac disease by 3%.
Celiac disease is a genetic disease that runs from genes and can affect you if you have a family medical history of the disease. According to Celiac Disease Foundation,
The risk of getting celiac disease is 40% in the case of first-degree family members with the same genotype and is only 7% to 20% if the genotype is not the same and is unknown. Proper screening after every 3-5 years is recommended if there is any family medical history of it.
7. DGP Test
DGP test stands for Deamidated Gliadin Peptide test which is also done in case of IgA deficiency or if you have tested negative for other tests like EMA test or tTG-IgA test. The test is done for further confirmation of any possibility of celiac disease. The deficiency of IgA can be a sign of other health-related issues leading to villous atrophy such as small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), and Giardiasis. If your DGP test is negative but if you are still experiencing celiac disease symptoms then consult your doctor to proceed further.
Radiological findings can help you detect and diagnose celiac disease with the help of indications such as small bowel dilation, vascular changes, thickness in-wall, etc.
9. Video Capsule Endoscopy
Video Capsule endoscopy is more sensitive than (92%) normal endoscopy (55%) in detecting macroscopic level atrophies. It is 95% specific and 89% sensitive.
10. Home Testing
Another way for gluten intolerance tests is home testing. According to research, even following a strict gluten-free diet, 50% of people still exhibit symptoms of celiac disease. It can be due to the unintentional intake of gluten used in several food items. You can also perform in-home urine/stool testing with the condition of consuming a gluten-containing diet before performing the test at least 24-48 hours. Moreover, if taken proper hygienic measure you can also perform an in-home DNA/Blood test.
There is a list of gluten intolerance tests that you can do for diagnosing celiac disease or symptoms of gluten intolerance only. You can opt for any one of the above-mentioned gluten intolerance tests depending upon the medical requirement or financial condition. Gluten intolerance tests should be done earlier to avoid any ugly consequences in the form of celiac disease.