There are lots of questions someone may need answered about gluten sensitivity in order to fully understand it. Is there a checklist for what foods to avoid? Do I need a blood test? Let’s take that one step further: Are home gluten tests accurate? That’s a good question, and to answer it, we’ll need to talk about gluten intolerance and how at-home testing works.
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Understanding Gluten Sensitivity
Before we discuss gluten sensitivity, let’s talk about what we mean by “gluten.” Put simply, gluten is the general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten helps foods to maintain their shape, acting as a sort of glue that holds food together.
Gluten sensitivity occurs when, you guessed it, your body cannot tolerate gluten. It can be found in many types of foods, so when a person has an intolerance, that can spell trouble. In these circumstances, a person may experience symptoms such as:
- Strong odorous feces
Other symptoms may include non-gastrointestinal symptoms, such as brain fog, headache, joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. When present, these symptoms typically occur within hours or days after ingesting gluten.
Digging Deeper: Celiac Disease
Beyond gluten sensitivity, Celiac disease is a potentially serious autoimmune disorder that people need to know about. It is rare, but it can cause a serious allergic reaction to gluten intake. If a person suffers from Celiac disease, it can cause damage to the digestive system. Left untreated, this can lead to malnutrition, loss of calcium and bone density, infertility and miscarriage, lactose intolerance, cancer, and neurological problems.
To make matters worse, Celiac disease runs in the family. According to Beyond Celiac, if you have a direct relative who has Celiac, you’re much more likely to have or to develop a sensitivity to it sometime in the future as well.
Here are some of the common symptoms that someone with Celiac Disease may experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chronic diarrhea
- Unexplained weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating and gas
- Itchy rash
- Mouth sores
- Bone loss
- Missed menstrual periods
- Tingling in the hands and/or feet
Why Use a Home Gluten Test?
A home testing kit, like the Gluten Sensitivity + Celiac Disease Screening Test from myLAB Box is a wonderful and convenient tool.
The test uses a simple blood test to identify certain disease-fighting proteins, which are called antibodies. Elevated levels of these antibodies can point toward varying degrees of gluten intolerance.
In particular, this test will:
- help to predict the probability of Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease
- monitor the progression of Celiac Disease
- see whether a gluten-free diet would relieve symptoms of Celiac Disease
- determine whether or not the reintroduction of gluten after a gluten-free diet, confirms the likelihood of a Gluten Sensitivity
Check the Results: Are Home Gluten Tests Accurate?
There are several different types of gluten antibodies. Keeping that in mind, there are four different types of results you can expect from this myLAB Box test kit:
- High Risk for Gluten Sensitivity.It is recommended that you see your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will likely work with a dietician to help you remove gluten from your diet. Then after a few weeks, you will reintroduce gluten and assess your symptoms. If you feel better after gluten has been removed, and then worse when reintroduced, it is likely that you have gluten sensitivity.
- High Risk for Celiac Disease. It is recommended that you see your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will likely order a test called an intestinal biopsy in order to confirm or rule out Celiac Disease. During an intestinal biopsy, the doctor will use a special tool called an endoscope to look at, and take a small piece of tissue from your small intestine.
- Increased or Moderate Risks for either Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease. it is recommended that you see your healthcare provider, who may request further testing to rule out either disease.
- Low Risk for either Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease. Your healthcare provider may perform further testing if you are experiencing symptoms.
Knowing the above, let’s answer the big question: are home gluten tests accurate? We’re happy to report that home screening produces the same high-quality lab tested results that you would receive if you were tested at the doctor’s office. The benefit of home testing is that you won’t need to waste time making a time-consuming appointment with your healthcare provider.
After all of this, a gluten-free diet may be in order. This general guide from the Mayo Clinic is an excellent start. Speaking with your doctor and dietician will provide a more personalized list foods to avoid for your particular lifestyle.
If you are concerned about a possible gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease diagnosis, consider using a home testing kit. It’s convenient and easy to use.
- Umberto Volta, Francesco Tovoli, Ronny Cicola, Claudia Parisi, Angela Fabbri, Maria Piscaglia, Erica Fiorini, Giacomo Caio. (2012). Serological Tests in Gluten Sensitivity (Nonceliac Gluten Intolerance). J Clin Gastroenterol.
- Benjamin A. Lerner, Lynn T. Phan Vo, Shireen Yates, Andrew G. Rundle, Peter H.R. Green, Benjamin Lebwohl. (2019). Detection of Gluten in Gluten-Free Labeled Restaurant Food: Analysis of Crowd-Sourced Data. Am J Gastroenterol.
- Volta, Umberto MD; Tovoli, Francesco MD; Cicola, Ronny MD; Parisi, Claudia MD; Fabbri, Angela MD; Piscaglia, Maria MD; Fiorini, Erica MD; Caio, Giacomo MD. (2012). Serological Tests in Gluten Sensitivity (Nonceliac Gluten Intolerance). Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.
- Boyer, Graham; Caulfield, Timothy BSc, LLB, LLM; Green, Peter H. R. MD; Lebwohl, Benjamin MD. (2019). Promotion of Testing for Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet Among Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners. American Journal of Gastroenterology.
- Claudia E. Osorio, Jaime H. Mejías, Sachin Rustgi. (2019). Gluten Detection Methods and Their Critical Role in Assuring Safe Diets for Celiac Patients.
- Abdulbaqi Al-Toma, Umberto Volta, Renata Auricchio*, Gemma Castillejo, David S Sanders, Christophe Cellier, Chris J Mulder, Knut E A Lundin. (2019). European Society for the Study of Coeliac Disease (ESsCD) guideline for coeliac disease and other gluten-related disorders. United European Gastroenterology Journal.
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