Ever wondered what people mean when they say they are gluten intolerant? Here’s a simple explanation.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is an immune system problem that is characterized by adverse reactions to a protein called gluten which is used in the production of rye, wheat, barley and sometimes found in certain medications, toothpaste, and lipsticks, etc. Most people who are gluten intolerant may not exhibit severe reactions to gluten and gluten products. However, a severe form of this immune system disorder is known as Celiac disease. Although there is no validated test for diagnosing gluten intolerance, says BDNF ELISA tests may aid in discovering Celiac disease cases early.

What is Celiac Disease?

This is an autoimmune disorder that causes a severe reaction to gluten whenever it is ingested. People who want to know if they are gluten intolerant go ahead to take celiac tests.

In a celiac disease patient, the immune system produces antibodies that attack the lining of the small intestine. Over time this lining wears away and may lead to damage of the digestive system. The body misses out on getting important food nutrients due to gluten intolerance.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance

After eating a gluten product, here are few symptoms that you may have if you are gluten intolerant.

  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Diarrhea
  • Smelly Feces which is often pale due to poor nutrient absorption
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Unhealthy weight loss
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Numbness in the leg and arm
  • Iron-deficiency Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Joint and Muscle pain
  • Skin problems

Tests for gluten intolerance and how to prepare for them

Before undergoing any of these tests, you must make sure you have been on a diet involving gluten.

Let’s take a look at some of the different tests that you can undergo to know if you are gluten intolerant.

  • tTG-IgA test
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Test
  • Genetic testing
  • DGP test
  • EMA test
  • Home testing
  • Total serum IgA test


The Tissue Transglutaminase IgA antibody test is one of the first screening celiac testings you will undergo to check for gluten intolerance. The tTG-IgA test has up to 98% sensitivity for positive celiac disease cases who are on a gluten-inclusive diet and 95% negative for non-celiac disease persons. Children who are 2 years and below are often sent for a DG-IgA and DG-IgG test after a tTG-IgA test. The tTG-IgA test can turn up false-positive results in a non-celiac disease case if the person has another underlying immune disorder such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.


This test is often started by running a blood test such as the tTG-IgA test. A biopsy test of the small intestine is known to be the most accurate way to confirm that one is suffering from celiac disease. If the blood test shows possibilities of celiac disease, then your doctor will go ahead to carry out an endoscopy of the small intestine before performing a biopsy.


A blood test can help with the screen of gluten intolerance but a celiac test is required as a confirmatory test. Before you go in for a blood test, you must ensure that you have been on a diet that includes gluten. This is to ensure the accuracy of the test.

The blood test goes in search of specific antibodies which are higher than they should be for people with celiac disease.


Your doctor might ask you to go for genetic testing for HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 (human leukocyte antigens). A negative result of this test can eliminate celiac this as the reason for your symptoms.


The Deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) test is rarely used to check for celiac disease as the EMA or tTG test will most likely find it out in the early stages of screening. However, if you test negative to EMA OR tTg antibodies, the DGP test is your next best bet if you are still feeling the symptoms of gluten intolerance.


The IgA Endomysial antibody (EMA) test is often recommended for people who are hard to diagnose of celiac disease. Although expensive, the EMA test is not as sensitive as the tTG-IgA test.


Most people who a diagnosed with celiac disease have been found to continuously have the aforementioned symptoms even when placed on a gluten-free diet. This is possible if you unintentionally ingest gluten products. Home testing is recommended for these sets of people. An in-home stool, urine, blood, or DNA test will discover if you have unintentionally eaten something that has gluten in it.


This test checks for IgA deficiency which may result in having a false-positive result of a tTG-IgA or EMA test. If you have an IgA deficiency, your doctor may suggest a tTG-IgG or DGP test instead.


If you have been having constant diarrheal problems after eating certain foods you can check in with a doctor to undergo tests that rule out gluten intolerance. Ensure to suggest other test options if your first test doesn’t find out anything. However, do not go on gluten-free diets unless your doctor suggests that.

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