Gluten intolerance did not show up in a blood test

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Hello Dr. Ford, first of all I would like to say thank you for creating e-clinic and reaching out to patients all around the world! What a great idea.

Gluten intolerance did not show up in a blood test

My question is this: “If all the symptoms that are typical for gluten intolerance (tiredness, headaches, bloating, constipation, diarrhea etc) did not show up in a blood test for gluten intolerance, could these symptoms be caused by intolerance to anything else? Like lactose or dairy, or eggs for example? Or it could these symptoms bebe caused by something totally different. What other tests or steps could you suggest?”  Regards Kasia

I reply: You ask about symptoms that are typical for gluten intolerance. You wonder that, in the face of negative gluten blood tests, could other foods could cause the same symptoms.

This is an excellent question.

1) I wonder what blood test that you had done.  The tests for gluten intolerance are not always accurate, and are seldom requested by most health professionals. Most GPs will only do a tTG test (tissue transglutaminase antibody test). The tTG is a specific test for celiac disease, but it is not a test for gluten intolerance. The only sure way to know that gluten is a problem is to do an elimination and challenge. This means removing gluten entirely from your diet for 3 months, and then reintroducing it to see if you get sick.  In my clinic I do the Anti-Gliadin-Antibody test (AGA) that often does pick up gluten sensitivity.

2) The other part of the answer is “Yes!” Many other foods can cause exactly the same symptoms as the gluten intolerance. These can be tested for by looking at the IgG antibody levels.  But again, the most reliable way to diagnose these other intolerances is elimination and challenge. Often, I see this: that gluten intolerance did not show up in a blood test.

My suggestion is this: trial gluten-zero for 3 months and see how you feel.  Do let me know of your progress.

By Rodney Ford