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Flaws of Laboratory Testing to Identify Gluten Issues

It is no mystery that serum (blood) tests to identify gluten sensitivity are fundamentally flawed. It is also no mystery that the intestinal biopsy is flawed as well. Unfortunately, doctors continue to use these tools definitively to diagnose celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. If the labs come back normal, many doctors dismiss gluten sensitivity all together. This leads to a lot of people going undiagnosed and staying sick.

 There are Thousands of Different Types of Glutens

Part of the problem with one of the serum lab tests (anti-gliadin antibody test) is that it is only sensitive for a very specific type of gluten called gliadin.  Researchers have identified thousands of different types of gluten proteins found in grains, but lab tests don’t measure whether or not patients react to all of these different glutens – just gliadin.

Serum lab test flaws don’t stop there.  Most of these tests measure a specific type of antibody produced by your body’s immune system.  The most common antibody types measured are IgA and IgG.  Your body can make five different types of antibodies (see below).

  1. Immunoglobulin A (IgA)
  2. IgG
  3. IgM
  4. IgD
  5. IgE

Additionally, your body’s immune system can react to gluten in multiple ways (direct T-Cell reactions, immune complex reactions).  Your immune system can also make other types of chemicals to help you fight gluten.  These chemicals are typically not measured at all.  Examples include –

  1. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)
  2. Interferon

 The diagram below illustrates some of these immune system reactions.

 Allergy Graphic

Gluten Can Cause Damage in Other Ways

New research has also discovered that gluten can cause changes in your friendly intestinal bacteria (dysbiosis).  These changes can contribute to the development of celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases.  Research has also discovered that gluten can cause leaky gut syndrome.

Food intolerance and leaky gut

Bottom line – if you have had negative test results via biopsy of serum labs, you may still have gluten sensitivity.  The most accurate way to get a meaningful diagnosis is genetic testing or using an elimination diet.  You may also want to take this quick quiz <<<==

All the best – Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior

 

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4 responses on “Gluten Sensitivity Genes and the Flaws of Lab Testing

  1. Olive Kaiser says:

    Here’s another article on gluten, carbs and schizophrenia:

    Schizophrenia, gluten, and low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets: a case report and review of the literature
    Bryan D Kraft 1 and Eric C Westman 2

    ABSTRACT: We report the unexpected resolution of longstanding schizophrenic symptoms after starting a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet. After a review of the literature, possible reasons for this include the metabolic consequences from the elimination of gluten from the diet, and the modulation of the disease of schizophrenia at the cellular level.

    Open Access article here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2652467/?tool=pubmed

  2. Olive Kaiser says:

    Here’s another article on gluten, and alzheimers like dementia:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18097291

    J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan;42(1):59-61.
    Celiac disease diagnosed in the elderly.
    Lurie Y, Landau DA, Pfeffer J, Oren R.

    Significant sentences in the abstract:

    Neurologic manifestation was suspected in 3 cases. Two female patients presented with cognitive decline that was attributed to Alzheimer dementia but ameliorated after the initiation of gluten-free diet. The third patient had peripheral neuropathy that completely resolved after the initiation of gluten-free diet.

  3. Gemma says:

    I know that these are the values of the genes in order to be diagnose with celiac disesase:

    1. Heterozygote (single copy)
    -DQA1*05:XX with DQB1*02:01
    -DQA1*05:XX with DQB1*02:02
    -DQA1*03:XX with DQB1*03:02
    2. Homozygous (2 copies)
    -DQA1*02:01 with DQB1*02:02

    Gene pairs equivocal for celiac are
    1. Heterozygote (single copy)
    -DQA1*02:01 with DQB1*02:02
    2. Rare allele’s types of DQ2 and DQ8 other than those listed above

    Could you tell me what are the values that you consider in order to diagnose celiac sensitivity?
    Best regards,

    Gemma.
    Integrative Nutritionist

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