Monday, November 30, 2015

Anton Health and Nutrition

Test, Don’t Guess: The Importance of ACCURATE Gluten Testing

Print This Post Print This Post

January 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles, Health & Nutrition Articles, Podcasts

Listen to the Podcast:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

In the last five years, I’ve had two blood tests for gluten sensitivity. Both came out negative. Now, I’m not one to eat a lot of wheat, but from the results of my tests, I figured gluten was fairly safe for me to be eating in small to moderate amounts.

I was wrong. I recently found out that I have two separate sensitivities to gluten:

1) Celiac disease (an auto-immune condition concerning the gut lining) and

2) A gluten intolerance known to damage other tissues and organs in the body

So why wasn’t this showing up in my blood tests? (Answers to follow.)

Sign up for Alison’s Natural Health and Cooking eLetter! Support your healthy lifestyle with delicious recipes and researched articles on the latest nutrition topics! Sign up… It’s good for you!

Info on Celiac Disease and Gluten-Intolerance

There’s no shortage of reliable information out there on why gluten is causing suffering (and even death) for many people. One of the best, most informative articles is a recent post by Functional Medicine doctor, Mark Hyman, M.D. (link at bottom of page). This is an excellent reference article that covers all the bases on how and why gluten is wreaking havoc for millions of Americans.

What hasn’t been covered is what kind of testing is most accurate and most reliable. My article will focus on the importance of getting the RIGHT testing for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. The advice of the day is to take wheat out for a while and “see what happens”, or to get a blood antibody test. I can’t stress enough how inaccurate and incomplete this advice is.

Why Blood Tests Don’t Work (at least 80% of the time)

Antibodies are advanced immune cells programmed to attack and destroy specific antigens, or invaders in the body. An antibody test looks for an elevation of antibodies patrolling for “foreign invaders”, a.k.a. bacteria, viruses, or sometimes even the foods we eat.

When there’s an elevation of anti-gliadin (anti-gluten) antibodies, it’s a clear indication that the immune system is responding negatively to gluten. In other words, it thinks gluten is an invader, and turns on immune cells to attack and destroy gluten molecules anywhere in the body.

As mentioned above, I’ve had two blood anti-gliadin tests, and both came out negative. Why? According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, Blood Chemistry Seminar instructor and supplements formulator for Apex Energetics, Inc., “blood anti-gliadin tests are only about 20 percent accurate”. (2)

This is because, for many people, the allergic response isn’t happening in the blood stream, but rather, in and around the gut tissue. For this reason, test specimens for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity should be taken from the gut in order to get the most reliable reading (3).

But this doesn’t mean we have to have an invasive (and expensive) biopsy of the gut lining, as is the standard recommended by western medical doctors. Fortunately, a barrage of immune cells are teaming around the gut at all times to ward off pathogens. These immune cells (antibodies) are also found en masse in the stool. Although “messier” than a blood test, this is why a stool anti-gliadin antibody test is suggested, versus one taken from the blood.

Gene Testing – Are You “Turned On” for Celiac Disease?

Many people with celiac disease have a gene turned on that predisposes them to the disease. This can be passed down from family member to family member. Although not everyone with the “celiac gene” will actually get celiac disease, a genetic predisposition to it, coupled with elevated anti-gliadin antibodies and other indicators (see below) may designate a person to the complete and permanent elimination of all gluten-containing foods from the diet. (4)

The study of celiac genetics is a new technology and is one that needs many more years of research and study, but I believe it to be a valuable diagnostic tool when used hand-in-hand with stool testing to detect the presence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Accurate Testing Made Easy

The testing process for an accurate reading for celiac disease and gluten intolerance is actually easy; reason being is that you don’t need a doctor-prescribed requisition form, and you don’t need to go into a lab for a blood draw. This procedure is done in the privacy of your own home, and your all-inclusive test kit can be ordered online. The lab, EnteroLab, is a registered and fully accredited clinical laboratory specializing in the analysis of intestinal specimens for food sensitivities.

Tests can be purchased singly, but the most complete, accurate and affordable way is to purchase all five gluten tests in one, called the Gluten Sensitivity Stool and Gene Panel Complete.

This panel includes:

  • Anti-Gliadin Antibodies Stool Test – to check for the antibodies produced by your body against gluten
  • Tissue Transglutaminase Stool Test – to determine if gluten has caused an autoimmune reaction in your body that can attack and damage the intestine and other tissues of the body
  • Malabsorption Test – to assess whether your intestine is malabsorbing dietary nutrients because of damage by gluten (or perhaps other factors)
  • Celiac and Gluten-Sensitivity Gene Test – to assess your risk based on your genetic predisposition
  • And (for a limited time) Free Milk Sensitivity Test – to test whether or not you are reacting to casein, a protein in milk

This complete package costs $369 ( I know… it’s pricey, but this is the one I recommend if you want to cover all the bases; some insurance companies will reimburse payments). The next best choice is the Gluten Sensitivity Stool Panel Complete, which includes the gluten sensitivity test, transglutaminase test and malabsorption test. This panel is $249 and does not include the gene test or milk sensitivity test.

If you are deciding between the stool panel OR the gene test, the stool panel better determines whether you are actively reacting to gluten, while the gene test assesses the probability that you are reacting or will react to gluten in your lifetime. Again, my suggestion is the complete panel that tests both the stool and genes.

EnteroLab has an extensive FAQ section to answer all your questions about their lab tests, which test is right for you, and information on gluten sensitivity and celiac sprue. Your results and interpretations are sent to you via email within three weeks. The website also has extensive FAQ regarding lab results. All tests can be ordered directly from the EnteroLab Website.

Article References:

1. Hyman, Mark, M.D. Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You. 2010.

2. Kharrazian, Datis, Ph.D. Apex Energetics Functional Endocrinology Seminar. Boulder, CO. 2009.

3. EnteroLab.FAQ: How is Gluten Sensitivity Diagnosed? 2000-2010.

4. EnteroLab. Which Test to Order: What type of genetic testing does EnteroLab offer? 2000-2010.

Bookmark and Share
  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Test, Don’t Guess: The Importance of ACCURATE Gluten Testing | Anton Health & Nutrition --

  • Alison Anton

    From a reader:

    Just got my enterolab results back, and I too have celiac and a casein intolerance. My fat malabsorption was 416, so I have some destruction of my small intestine, but it could have been worse, so I’m glad I caught it when I did. I’m now trying to eliminate all possible gluten sources in my house….

    Thanks for sending that information about enterolab.

  • mpj

    I just finished reading your article on Gluten. I was tested by Enterolab almost three yrs ago, and was told I have active gluten sensitivity and I am also carrying the gene for Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity. I also showed sensitivity to milk.
    All other blood work that I have had done shows my celiac blood levels are fine.
    Has Enterolab been accepted as being reliable testing. The other problem I tend to have is an overgrowth of Candida from time to time.
    So is the problem candida or gluten…

    Love to hear your thoughts.


  • Alison

    Enterolab is a reputable lab in the Functional Medicine system. The allopathic (Western) medical model has not given credit to this lab – their way of diagnosing is still a blood gluten anti-body test and a biopsy of the gut tissue to test for damage. Enterolab (and the functional medicine model) believes that there may, but in most case, may NOT be a concentrated amount of anti-bodies in the blood, but that the concentration will be in the gut, since this is where the highlight of the immune action is taking place. Also, Enterolab can test for transglutaminase action in the gut, which determines if there is damage to the lining in response to gluten. Then they have the gene test as a backup to see if you have genes for gluten sensitivity. Enterolab has a high number of people that they diagnose with have gluten sensitivity than the western model – from their findings, they deduce that many more people than previously thought have a sensitivity to gluten. That said, if you are still uncertain, you may want to follow the allopathic route and get a diagnosis. If you STILL have gut issues – food allergies, pain, cramping bloating, gas, candida – you may want to follow a grain-free diet vs just a gluten free diet. For many people, the complex sugars in grains are a contributing factor to leaky gut and gut dysbiosis. Check out this book: GAPS Diet – Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Hope that helps!

  • mpj

    Alison, here is a copy of my Enterolab results. My Dr. felt there were to many false positivves with this test. Can you tell me what your thoughts are. I am not quite sure as to what Fecal Antitissue Transglutaminase is. Also do you know of any blood tests for gluten sensitivity.
    Thanks for all your help:)

    A) Gluten Sensitivity Stool and Gene Panel Complete *Best test/best value
    Fecal Antigliadin IgA 15 (Normal Range <10 Units)

    Fecal Antitissue Transglutaminase IgA 10 Units (Normal Range <10 Units)

    Quantitative Microscopic Fecal Fat Score 281 Units (Normal Range <300 Units)

    Fecal anti-casein (cow's milk) IgA antibody 12 Units (Normal Range <10 Units)

    HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0201

    HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0301

    Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 2,3 (Subtype 2,7)

  • GlutenGirl

    I also just got my results back after hearing an interview with Dr. Datis K. on’s radio program (go to to listen). Both my siblings had tested positive for celiac’s with a blood test so I was quite sure I would test positive for a sensitivity at least. I have never had any digestive issues but have experienced significant “brain fog” always after eating pasta, breads and foods at restaurants and those prepared by others with ingredients that were unknown to me. It is difficult to describe the feeling but it results in my having a really hard time following conversations, participating in conversations, thinking clearly, feeling confused, unable to articulate well. After my second sibling’s results came back positive, I tried to cut out gluten as much as possible for two months just to see if I felt any different.

    My test results show an antibody reaction of 11 Units. I also had the test for milk proteins done while I was at it. That test came back with a result of 9 Units of immune reaction which I’m quite relieved about b/c I love my raw milk, raw cheese and homemade ice cream – it would be hard to give it up.

  • Gluten Intolerance

    Some gluten intolerance is hard to detect but not like celiac disease. Be sure not to guess of the test they did, many people died because of gluten intolerance or celiac disease. We can also test through home and our testing kits.