According to estimates, one in every hundred Americans has celiac disease (CD), but only three percent of them have been properly diagnosed. Once CD is diagnosed, treatment is simple—a gluten-free diet. As an author, researcher, and gluten-free advocate, I work hard to raise awareness for celiac disease (CD) and gluten issues with the goal of improving diagnosis through proper testing. In view of the fact that evidence is mounting that blood testing may not be the most effective way to test for CD, I would recommend that people who suspect they are celiac to check with their doctors about other testing options.
While celiac disease awareness is increasing in the U.S., accurate and reliable testing has not been definitively tackled or uniformly implemented by medical practitioners. Currently a popular method is the blood test, but some people with celiac disease can get blood testing multiple times and the results will nevertheless be negative. According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, Blood Chemistry Seminar instructor and the formulator for Apex Energetics, Inc. supplements, blood testing accurate only about 20 percent of the time.
To understand how blood testing is supposed to work, a basic grasp of the immune system is essential. Antibodies are part of the immune system and designed to attack specific antigens, or invaders, of the body. Tests can be conducted that find an increase of antibodies in the system, which are on the prowl for certain foreign invaders. Specifically, anti-gliadin, or anti-gluten antibodies, can be tested for, and when these exist in the system in large amounts, it is a sign of the autoimmune disorder, celiac disease. Blood testing may sound workable in theory, but in practice it isn’t workable due to the fact that the autoimmune response doesn’t occur in the blood stream. It’s in the small intestine where such a response can be detected, for the immune system attacks this organ’s villi, the absorptive finger-like structures which line the inside, making it necessary for testing should be focused on the gut.
This doesn’t necessarily call for an intestinal biopsy, which can be an invasive as well as expensive procedure. It turns out that the immune cells which surround the gut also can be located in large numbers in the stool, which makes a stool anti-gliadin antibody test a reliable alternative to blood testing.
Stool testing is not only more accurate than blood testing, it can also be more convenient. One doesn’t need a doctor’s prescription. What’s more, the test can be conducted in the privacy of one’s own home with an online-ordered kit from EnteroLab, “a registered and fully accredited clinical laboratory specializing in the analysis of intestinal specimens for food sensitivities,” as its website states. Enterolab offers the Anti-Gliadin Antibodies Stool Test and additional tests for celiac or gluten-sensitive people.
With nearly 3 million Americans undiagnosed with this painful and potentially fatal autoimmune disorder, when it has such an easy method of treatment, effective, reliable testing is essential. The anti-gliadin antibodies stool test, so easily available to the public, is a great advance on behalf of the celiac community. If you suspect you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, I suggest talking with your health care provider right away about this alternative to celiac blood testing.
Miranda Jade Turbin
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.