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Biopsy and blood markers for gluten intolerance fail again

Another new study shows just how flawed the biopsy and serum markers are at confirming a diagnosis. RESULTS: Celiac disease was detected primarily in first-degree relatives and patients with autoimmune disorders (40.6%). A gluten-free diet was prescribed to 20/106 patients because of symptoms, which were relieved in only 11. Eighty-nine of the 106 patients entered the follow up study, with normal daily consumption of gluten. During the follow up antibodies disappeared in 14.6% and fluctuated in 32.6%. Villous atrophy was observed in 12/39 (30.8%) patients that underwent a repeat biopsy.
Most children with potential celiac disease remain healthy. After 3 years, approximately 33% of patients develop villous atrophy.


Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Sep 16. This study is just one more in a long list of studies that brings to light just how misleading blood tests and biopsies really are. It should also be pointed out that the physicians in this study found that most of these children presented as “healthy”, yet a three year follow up revealed villous atrophy in a 3rd of those studied. What is also important to point out that out of 20 patients that went gluten free, only 11 of them improved. Why? It would be interesting to see if these children were on a TRUE gluten free diet vs. a traditional one.

DNA is the Answer:

HLA-DQ testing is the new gold standard for diagnosing those who would have problems with the ingestion of gluten. Serum lab tests and biopsies only contribute to mass confusion and delayed diagnosis.

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4 Responses

  1. At 84 years of age, I question how far and how much I should invest in trying to get properly diagnosed why don’t I just do away with all grains?

  2. I was off gluten for 5 months, well I was just beginning to understand what all has gluten so I was off obvious gluten. It helped a great deal. Then I was tested and the test was negative for Celiac, but the doc said I was gluten intolerant.

    I read I was supposed to be on gluten to test properly, but decided I was never going to do that to my body again. So I’ve stayed off gluten, learned more about what has gluten in it, and finally removed all flours.

    I’ve dropped 20 pounds in 3 months, and my bloating and abdominal pain are gone. I’m not going back for any test.

  3. But is the DNA test really that accurate? My daughter is very gluten intolerant, yet doesn’t have the ‘Celiac Genes’. It has long been known that you can have full blown Celiac without the so-called celiac genes.

    In other countries they’ve identified OTHER Celiac genes, in addition to the ones recognized in North America.

    I say the only reliable test is an elimination diet.

    1. Hi Ursula,
      You are correct in knowing that their are other gene markers linked to gluten sensitivity. That is the type of genetic testing that Gluten Free Society Performs.
      All the best

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