A quick Amazon search for “Celiac Test” lists seven plus pages of responses. Some of them are legitimate celiac test kits, like imaware and Let’s Get Checked. Gluten diet compliance tests like Gluten Detective. Some are IgG allergy test kits like those from EverlyWell and 5 Strands. You can get these IgG allergy tests at alternative health providers like naturopaths or wellness chiropractors. And some are genetic test kits like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. There’s also some junk like – Gluten Cutter and other “gluten protective” pills. Let’s break this down, talk about each type, and where you can use them to be most effective.
The first group is the at home Celiac disease test kits. These kits include tests like TtG IgA, Total IgA, TtG IgG, EMA IgA, EMA IgG, DGP IgA, and DGP IgG. Not all kits will include all tests. You want to look for a kit that will provide reference ranges and the ability to talk to a medical professional if you want to discuss results and next steps.
Furthermore, if the test is positive, these tests should be taken to your doctor for confirmation and next steps in the diagnostic process. It is likely your doctor will want to re-run these tests to confirm the results.
Look for a kit with a minimum of Total IgA and TtG IgA as two of the tests. The TtG IgA test is the most common and most accurate Celiac disease test we have today. It is pretty good. However, there are some caveats – namely the Total IgA test. The Total IgA test is a control test to ensure the TtG IgA test results are accurate. It makes sure that your immune system is functioning correctly. If the Total IgA test is out of range either high or low, the TtG IgA test is invalid. Invalid means that the result are not accurate and it cannot be used.
This is when we get into the EMA IgA, EMA IgG, DGP IgA, and DGP IgG. These tests are used as alternatives in screening for Celiac disease when the TtG IgA test is invalid. These tests are not as specific or accurate as the TtG IgA, but looking them together can give your doctor an idea of what may be happening.
These at home tests only represent the beginning of the testing process and should not be taken as the final step in Celiac diagnosis. The diagnosis needs to be confirmed by a doctor with corroborating blood tests and endoscopic biopsy with Marsh 3 or higher damage. A gluten containing diet should be maintained for the duration of the diagnostic process.
I like the idea of gluten free diet confirmation tests. I think those that are newly diagnosed or are just having trouble with their diet should look into these. Gluten Detective is the brand of tests available. They can test stool or urine to determine if you have consumed gluten recently. Also, these tests are more sensitive than the annual blood tests you receive at the doctor’s office to make sure you are compliant with the diet. I use these tests to decide if I’m sick with a stomach bug, got glutened on accident, or just to check up to make sure I’m 100% compliant like I think I am. I’ve never had one of these tests come back positive, so I think I’m doing okay.
Gluten Detective offers a urine and stool test. The urine test is used when you think you got a big dose of gluten and the stool tests can be used for smaller potential glutenings. The stool test is way grosser, just so ya know.
I have these around for when I’ve had a couple of days of bad diarrhea or just that low level stomach ache. I’ve got one more test of these and think they are pretty cool.
IGG allergy or food sensitivity testing is not valid or scientifically proven to be accurate. The IGG allergy tests are scientifically proven to remove money from your wallet and that is all. Literally, there are a number of studies that demonstrate that these tests are invalid.
Now, many people swear by them. I have taken one. It said I was highly reactive to eggs. I have eggs more often than not for breakfast – that means everyday. I stopped eating eggs for 6 weeks and then added them back into my diet. Guess what – no change, no reaction, no nothing. Also, no reaction on these tests to wheat, oats, rye, or barley either. It also said I was allergic to green beans and chia seeds. When I go out and someone tries to serve me green beans, I tell them I’m allergic because I don’t like green beans. So, yeah, it is kinda helpful! 😉
Genetic tests indicate the potential for disease not the actual disease. Forty percent of the population carry the genetic markers for Celiac disease and only 1% actually develop the disease. I know 23andMe tests for HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. AncestryDNA does not test for Celiac predisposition. If you carry the genetic markers, it might be something for your doctor to note, but not something to start a gluten free diet over.
I’m not going to waste my time on the gluten pills – they don’t work and aren’t recommended for those with Celiac disease.
That is the summary for today. Use the tests how you wish but make sure if you find something funky to talk with a medical professional.