How Accurate Is Your Gluten Sensitivity Test?

We’ve all been there. We suspect something is wrong, we go for a test, and it comes back negative. While it’s a relief that the problem that we thought existed doesn’t, it still leaves the problem itself. But what is it?

Many children with Autism end up testing positive for Gluten sensitivity. Even more children have the symptoms of Gluten sensitivity. Sometimes, when they are given a standard Gluten Sensitivity test the test comes back negative. What could cause this?

This is not saying that your test is wrong so much as it is saying that it is not testing all potential molecules. In order to understand this more, let’s take a look at Gluten and how it is broken down in the body.

Traditionally when the body breaks down and digests food, the undigested particles are passed out of the body through fecal matter. However, if the digestive system is weakened, and the body doesn’t pass the undigested food, this food can make it into the blood stream. Foreign matter in the blood stream will cause an immune response. It’s how our bodies are wired in order to protect us.

Also, the lining in the intestine, which serves as a protection to our bodies too, gets attacked when there is a Gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Gluten can literally ‘tear’ the intestinal lining. When this lining breaks down, this is when Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs.

Gluten itself is a difficult protein for the body to digest because more often we lacked the enzymes to process it.

Here’s how Gluten is broken down:

Wheat is broken into Proteins and Lectins.
Lectins are broken down into Agglutinin.
Proteins of wheat are broken down into Gluten.
Gluten is broken down further into Gliadin (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Omega), Glutenin, and Gluteomorphin.
Giladin and Glutenin are broken into Transglutaminase.
Transglutaminase is broken down into deamidated Gliadin 15, 17, and 33 particles.

The majority of Gluten Sensitivity tests only for the Alpha Gliadin. Alpha is only one of over 60 potentially problematic indicators.  If the test isn’t testing for other proteins, then it isn’t an accurate reading of the body’s potential sensitivity. So, if your test comes back negative for Gluten Sensitivity, there still are other markers that should be tested for in order to get an accurate reading.

The most common test ordered by doctors is the Celiac Panel. In a recent article, Dr. Tom O’Brien, a Gluten Intolerance expert, says that this test reports a false negative 7 out of 10 times due to a combination of how the Doctor reads the test and the patient’s condition at the time of testing. For example, a physician may declare the test “negative” for intestinal tissue damage, even if the blood test indicates a positive immune reaction. The only time that the intestinal test will come back positive is if there is severe damage to the intestinal wall – as in the type of damage caused by Celiac Disease. If there is only partial to moderate damage, the accuracy of the test goes down about 28%.

Additionally, the Celiac Panel does not account for those with IgA deficiency. People with an IgA deficiency will lack IgA antibodies, so the test will come back negative.

Since Gluten intolerance can range from acute to severe, with a lot of in-between levels, not everyone’s sensitivity is being detected in the tests that are given. So even though your child’s Celiac Panel comes back negative, and you believe that they do not have  Gluten Sensitivity, this could be incorrect.

There are other ways to test for Gluten Sensitivity, and we’ll take a look at the benefits of those next week.