The best test to determine gluten intolerance

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scientist review report(NaturalHealth365) One of the most seemingly elusive health concerns as many patients have expressed, ruling out gluten intolerance and celiac disease does not come without challenges. While a substantial amount of debate exists surrounding which tests hold the most clinical value, researchers can agree that no single test for gluten intolerance is enough to determine a solid diagnosis.

And, although conventional medicine would love to make cookie-cutter decisions about treatment options, most integrative healthcare providers are calling for a more personalized approach to gluten intolerance testing procedures.

What is the best approach for determining gluten intolerance?

Many well-educated practitioners are finally catching on that a biopsy is no longer the ‘gold standard’ in diagnosing celiac disease. Because 6 to 7 times more people may be experiencing gluten intolerance versus celiac disease, a targeted multi-faceted testing approach is necessary to create a more personalized approach to diagnosis.

In an earlier article, “Important tests to discover if you are gluten sensitive” about essential diagnostic tests, I noted the work of Dr. Alessio Fasano, immunological and pediatric specialist at Mass General. Fasano plus his team of experts have been paving the way to lead more patients down the road toward accurate assessment and diagnosis.

Along with the positive serological and key genetic findings – which I suggested in my previous article – Dr. Fasano reported to the American Gastrointestinal Association that because gluten intolerance has been found to be far more common than celiac disease, a biopsy should not be relied on as the pivotal assessment, but rather include the following before making a determination:

1. Presence of signs and symptoms commonly associated with celiac disease.

2. Positive serological testing – click here to review the tests.

3. Predisposing genes HLA-DQ2 and or HLA-DQ8 are present.

4. After a gluten free diet has been successfully implemented, symptoms have been resolved and serology testing has normalized.

5. Histological evidence of small intestine mucosal damage. (it should be noted that while biopsy is not the gold standard for diagnosis it may still be useful in some diagnostic situations related to tissue damage)

Gluten sensitive people tend to have serious nutritional deficiencies

Because gluten damages jejunal mucosa in the small intestine, it is exceptionally common for persons with suspected gluten intolerance to experience related nutritional deficiencies. Be sure to investigate the following, via plasma testing, to be sure of your nutritional status and ask your integrative healthcare provider for personalized recommendations based on your objective data:

Which gluten intolerance test is highly reliable – most of the time?

The gluten free challenge is the most telling test I have observed throughout all of my years in clinical practice. If after you or your child completely eliminates gluten from the diet for approximately 30 days, symptoms disappear and only reappear after reintroduction, it is a safe bet that non-celiac gluten sensitivity exists.

About the author: Christine M. Dionese L.Ac, MSTOM is an integrative health expert, medical journalist and food writer. She’s dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health. Christine practices, writes and speaks on environmental functional medicine, personalized medicine and epigenetics, food science and sustainable living.


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  • I didn’t think I had a problem with wheat… until I stopped eating it. I went wheat-free for a month then added it back in. It became pretty obvious that wheat was not good for me.

    • G Clay

      The wheat of today is not like the wheat that our parents or grandparents grew up eating. A lot has changed in our life times and NOT for the better. It isn’t hard to see why so many people are sick and dis-eased.

  • DianneP

    I gave up wheat almost 3 years ago. To do that, I added beans to my diet. Gluten was not my trigger…just wanted a way to reduce processed foods and lose weight.
    This was one of the smartest moves I have ever made. No more bloat, belly fat gone, weight stable and well within my BMI.
    My belief is that wheat has been altered far too much for it to be a healthy option.
    Now that I am off wheat, it does not affect me if I have the odd wheat which at the time is unavoidable. I have no yen to eat wheat products at all.