Gluten has received a lot of attention in the recent past and has been researched a lot. Gluten has some damaging effects on the health, due to which it has altered the health and food industry. Gluten has become even more damaging for the presence of hybrid variety of wheat and a grain-centric culture. It is a protein, which is mainly present in wheat, rye and barley. It can cause inflammation in lots of people, which can be determined by glucose intolerance test.
Three Gluten Intolerance Tests
Test for Celiac Disease
Blood test: When you go in for this test, gluten should not be avoided in diet as it can give inaccurate results. A blood sample will be tested for the presence of antibodies present in the blood of patients with Celiac disease. Sometimes the results can be negative in spite of having Celiac disease. If the symptoms persist, a biopsy will be recommended.
Biopsy: A gastroenterologist performs the biopsy in a hospital. It is done with an endoscope which is passed from the mouth to the small intestine. A tool is passed through the endoscope to collect samples of the lining of the small intestine. A local anesthetic is given to numb the throat before the procedure. The sample is then viewed under microscope to determine Celiac disease.
Test to determine severity: These glucose intolerance tests are done after the confirmation of presence of Celiac disease to determine the severity of your condition. This test includes:
1) A second blood test: This blood test is done to determine the iron, vitamin and mineral levels, to check if anemia has developed;
2) A skin biopsy is done to determine the presence of dermatitis herpetiformis;
3) A DEXA scan: In a DEXA scan the bone density is measured, which is similar to X-ray. This is because Celiac disease can cause thinning of bones as well.
Test by Eliminating Gluten Intake
Another form of gluten intolerance test is to eliminate gluten from the diet because except celiac disease your issue of gluten intolerance can also be caused by other conditions like irritable bowel disease, anemia, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, fatigue as well as other auto-immune disease.
Gluten in all forms should be eliminated from diet for a period of 2-4 weeks. To do this, you should eliminate wheat, barley, rye, spelt, triticale, kamut and certain other foods which contain gluten in hidden form, including salad dressings, soup mixes, lipstick, some vitamins, medications, sauces, glue used in stamps and envelops as well as play-doh.
Once this is done, it can be re-introduced in the diet to check for reactions. In case of any adverse reactions, you should eliminate gluten completely. This test gives a very good idea about gluten sensitivity.
Testing Other Ingredients for Gluten Intolerance
Some other gluten intolerance tests are:
Deamidated Gliadin: Deamidation is a process which makes wheat mix better with other ingredients. This process continues in the intestine and complicates the issue. Except deamidated gliadin, other types of gluten may be tolerated by the body.
Glutenin: Gluten is composed of Gliadin and Glutenin. Although initially it was considered to be safe, it is also responsible for causing inflammatory response in the body.
Gluteomorphins: These are compounds similar to opiates which make gluten addictive. Coming off from gluten diet is detoxing from gluteomorphins, which can cause brain fog, headache, irritability and lethargy
Prodynophin: These compounds are required for making endorphins in the body. Someone suffering with gluten sensitivity will have suppressed production of endorphins.
Wheat germ agglutinin: This particular lectin compound present in wheat is responsible for binding with other nutrients in the body and rendering them unusable. They also cause chronic systemic inflammation in the body.
Gluten cross reactivity: This is particularly helpful in people who have symptoms of gluten intolerance in spite of having a gluten free diet. The antibodies in the body against gluten also react to proteins from other foods.
Self-Diagnosis for Gluten Intolerance
Given below are some symptoms which are seen in gluten intolerance:
Symptoms of the digestive system like flatulence, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
Gluten damages the gut causing mal-absorption of fat, which leads to fatty acid and vitamin A deficiency. Keratosis Pilaris or chicken skin appears on the back of the arm due to this.
Food with gluten can cause brain fog, tiredness and fatigue.
Diagnosis of auto immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, MS (multiple sclerosis) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Neurological symptoms like migraine headaches, dizziness, feeling off balance, anxiety, depression and mood swings.
Hormonal imbalance like PMS, PCOS and unexplained infertility.
Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, inflammation, swelling, joint pain in fingers, knees and hips.
From the above symptoms, if you have 4 or more symptoms, it may be caused by gluten. Even if you have one chronic symptom it could be due to gluten sensitivity. Before going on gluten free diet, you should consult a doctor.
What to Prepare Before Your Medical Appointment
Thing to do
You should continue to eat a normal diet and ensure that you have listed down all the possible symptoms you suffer from. You should also make note of any personal information, life changes, medical history and list of medicine, vitamins and supplements you take.
Questions to ask
What could be the cause of your symptoms? Are they short or long term? What tests will be required? What treatment will be beneficial? What dietary restrictions should be followed? Which foods contain gluten? If you have Celiac disease, should you consider other tests to check for deficiencies?
Questions asked by the doctor
When did your symptoms first appear and how severe were they? Were they occasional or continuous? Did anything improve or worsen the symptoms? Any family history of Celiac disease or auto immune disease? Were your symptoms accompanied by itchy skin or blistering? Were you diagnosed with osteoporosis or anemia?