Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Restorative Health Solutions blog.
This is our second of three posts about gluten. In our first post, we discussed the wide variety of symptoms gluten can be associated with (provide link). In our final post, we will talk about solutions for gluten sensitive people (provide link). This post is dedicated to testing for gluten sensitivity.
Let’s start by looking at what the scientific literature has to say about current gluten and celiac testing. A 2010 article published in Clinical Review Allergy & Immunology says,
“The diagnosis of celiac disease remains a clinical challenge based on incomplete specificity and sensitivity of current non-invasive tests. Furthermore, histological assessments (small intestine biopsy) fails to identify all overt cases and do not manifest alterations in ‘silent cases’.”
Let’s unpack that quote. The first part says the “non-invasive tests” are not very good. These current non-invasive tests are two blood tests most commonly a 1) tissue transglutaminase and 2) anti-gliadin antibodies. The second part says the intestinal biopsy test misses people too! This study and others all say that the current testing for Celiac disease is sub-par. This is why Celiac Disease was in the top 5 most commonly misdiagnosed diseases/conditions in the U.S. in 2011. The current testing shows many people are “ok” with gluten when in fact accurate testing would show gluten is causing them problems.
Fortunately, research has shown there are some non-invasive tests that can be more accurate. The article cited earlier, along with others, are now recommending that adding additional markers onto the gluten panel can greatly improve the sensitivity and specificity of the testing . One great resource for those struggling with gluten is Dr. Aristo Vjodani, who is a highly published researcher and immunologist. He developed a test run through www.cyrexlabs.com that tests 12 different markers for gluten sensitivity called “Array 3″. The Cyrex panel is a much more accurate assessment of if gluten is causing you problems versus traditional tests.
So, you have learned that current standard gluten testing has a lot of false negatives. This means many people get told they are OK to eat gluten when better testing would reveal they should not be eating it. When we give health talks, we generally give out two pieces of advice and one of them is to try eating gluten-free and see if your symptoms improve. (In case you are wondering, the other advice we give is to take vitamin D and fish oils). However, as this is only part 2 of 3, you’ll find out a gluten-free diet is a great option for some, but not enough for others. In part 3 of this series, we will go through some research showing how a gluten-free diet can help and also what to do when a gluten-free diet comes up short.
At Restorative Health Solutions, we provide a unique approach to your health. We take on a personalized/individualized approach to each patient’s case. We pride ourselves on figuring out the “why” and are determined to find the underlying cause of dysfunction in our patients’ health and, therefore, help them heal. If you are interested in what functional medicine can do for you, please give us a call at 952-479-7801 for a free 15-minute phone consultation!