The Role of Gluten Testing In Allergies & Celiac Disease

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Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye and plays a crucial role in providing elasticity and structure to various foods. However, when some individuals may have adverse reactions to gluten; such a health condition is known as gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Although both medical conditions can negatively impact the digestive system, gluten sensitivity could have short-term effects, while celiac disease is a chronic digestive and immune disorder. It’s necessary to undergo gluten testing essential for those who experience symptoms to assess their health better and watch their diet. This article will explore the different types of gluten tests, the importance of accurate diagnosis, and the significance of understanding the role of antibodies and genetic factors in celiac disease.

An image of patient and doctor for medical testing.

Understanding Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease

As we’ve seen, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease have similar symptoms but are distinct conditions with different effects on the immune system and digestive system:

  • Gluten Sensitivity: This condition involves an allergic reaction to gluten, causing symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue. However, unlike celiac disease, gluten sensitivity does not result in damage to the small intestine. The effects of gluten sensitivity are usually short-term.
  • Celiac Disease: It is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten and results in damage to the small intestine’s lining. It can lead to malabsorption of nutrients, causing nutritional deficiencies, anemia, and long-term complications, such as osteoporosis and weakened bones.

The Role of Antibodies and Genetic Testing in Celiac Disease Diagnosis

In the diagnosis of celiac disease, antibodies and genetic testing play a crucial role:

  • Antibodies: Blood tests for celiac disease look for specific antibodies, such as tissue transglutaminase (tTG), endomysial antibodies (EMA), and deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP). The presence of these antibodies indicates an autoimmune response to gluten and can help confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease.
  • Genetic Testing: Some individuals may undergo genetic testing to determine their risk for celiac disease. Specific genes, such as HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8, are closely associated with the disease. However, having these genes does not guarantee a diagnosis, as only some with these genes develop celiac disease.

Types of Gluten Tests There are several methods of testing for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease:

  1. Blood Tests: These tests look for specific antibodies related to celiac disease, such as tTG, EMA, and DGP. If the test shows elevated levels of these antibodies, it suggests an autoimmune response to gluten.
  2. Stool Tests: These tests can detect the presence of gliadin, a component of gluten, in the stool, which can be an indicator of gluten sensitivity.
  3. Biopsy Tests: A biopsy of the small intestine is the best & most accurate test for diagnosing celiac disease. This procedure involves taking a tissue sample and examining it for damage related to gluten exposure.
  4. Genetic Test: This test determines the presence of specific genes associated with celiac disease, such as HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8.

An infographic on types of gluten testing.

The Importance of Health Insurance in Gluten Testing

In some cases, health insurance may cover the cost of gluten testing, depending on your specific plan and the tests recommended by your healthcare provider. It is essential to check with your insurance provider to determine what tests are covered and any potential out-of-pocket expenses.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the availability of online gluten tests. These at-home tests offer an alternative for individuals who prefer a more convenient option or have limited access to healthcare facilities.

Some reputable companies that provide online gluten tests include:

  1. Everlywell: The Everlywell Celiac Disease Test measures the levels of specific antibodies (tTG-IgA) in the blood, which can indicate an autoimmune response to gluten. The test kit includes everything needed for a finger-prick blood sample, and the results are provided through a secure online platform. The Everlywell Celiac Disease Test is priced at $99.
  2. LetsGetChecked: LetsGetChecked offers a Celiac Test that analyzes blood samples for the presence of tTG-IgA antibodies. Similar to the Everlywell test, this kit includes all necessary components for collecting a finger-prick blood sample at home. Results are available online within 2-5 days after the sample is received by the laboratory. The LetsGetChecked Celiac Test costs around $99.
  3. imaware™: Provides a Celiac Disease Screening Test that checks for tTG-IgA, DGP-IgG, and DGP-IgA antibodies. This comprehensive test offers a more detailed assessment of the immune response to gluten. The kit includes materials for a finger-prick blood sample, and the results are accessible online. The imaware™ Celiac Disease Screening Test is priced at $99.
  4. HealthLabs: HealthLabs offers a Celiac Disease Comprehensive Antibody Profile, which can be ordered online and requires a visit to a local laboratory for a blood draw. This test includes tTG-IgA, EMA-IgA, and DGP-IgG/IgA antibodies. Prices for this comprehensive test start at $198.

Please note that the costs mentioned are approximate and may vary depending on promotions, location, or other factors.

It is essential to keep in mind that while these online gluten tests can provide valuable information, they should not replace a consultation with a healthcare professional. If you receive a positive result from an at-home test, it is crucial to follow up with your doctor for further evaluation and guidance on potential dietary and lifestyle changes.

In addition, it is important to consider the limitations of these tests, as a blood test alone may not provide a definitive diagnosis of celiac disease. In some cases, a small intestine biopsy might be necessary for an accurate diagnosis.


In summary, gluten testing is a critical tool for diagnosing gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. The various tests available each have their benefits and limitations, making it crucial to work with your healthcare provider to select the most appropriate test for your situation. Understanding the role of antibodies and genetic factors in celiac disease can provide valuable insight into managing the condition and improving overall health. Accurate test results can guide dietary and lifestyle changes, which may alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of complications, such as anemia and osteoporosis.


What is Gluten Belly?

Gluten belly, also known as “wheat belly,” refers to the bloating and discomfort some individuals experience after consuming gluten-containing foods. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it can cause digestive issues for those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergies.

Can cutting out gluten heal your gut?

Eliminating gluten from the diet can potentially heal the gut for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. By removing gluten, the immune system no longer attacks the lining of the small intestine, allowing the gut to heal and also to enhance nutrient absorption. However, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before making any drastic changes to your diet.

How long to eat gluten before a celiac blood test?

Before undergoing a celiac blood test, it is recommended to eat a regular gluten-containing diet for at least six to eight weeks. This ensures that the antibodies and other markers of celiac disease are present and detectable in the blood.

Can you test for celiac without eating gluten?

Testing for celiac disease without consuming gluten is not recommended, as the results may be inaccurate. Eating gluten is necessary for the accurate detection of antibodies and other markers associated with celiac disease.

Can an allergist test for gluten intolerance?

An allergist can test for wheat allergy through skin prick tests or blood tests, but they typically do not test for gluten intolerance or celiac disease. To diagnose celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it is best to consult a gastroenterologist.

How to test for gluten allergy at home?

At-home allergy testing kits are available for purchase, but they may not be as accurate or reliable as tests performed by healthcare professionals. To ensure accurate results, it is best to consult an allergist or healthcare provider for proper testing.

How do you test for non-celiac gluten sensitivity?

There is no specific test for non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The diagnosis is usually carried out by eliminating other gluten-related conditions, such as celiac disease and wheat allergy, and observing symptom improvement on a gluten-free diet.

What blood test shows gluten intolerance?

A blood test for gluten intolerance typically measures levels of specific antibodies, such as tissue transglutaminase (tTG) and endomysial antibodies (EMA), which are associated with celiac disease. However, these tests cannot definitively diagnose gluten intolerance or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Are gluten intolerance tests accurate?

Gluten intolerance tests, such as those for celiac disease, are generally accurate when performed by a healthcare professional. However, false positives and false negatives can occur. It is essential to consult a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and diagnosis.

Can you get a positive celiac test being gluten-free?

A positive celiac test is less likely while on a gluten-free diet, as the levels of antibodies associated with celiac disease may decrease. To ensure accurate results, it is recommended to consume gluten for six to eight weeks before testing.

How do you test a child for gluten sensitivity?

Testing a child for gluten sensitivity involves blood tests to measure specific antibodies associated with celiac disease. If the results are positive or inconclusive, further evaluation, such as an intestinal biopsy, may be recommended. Consult a pediatric gastroenterologist for proper evaluation and diagnosis.

Can celiac disease be diagnosed with a stool test?

Celiac disease cannot be definitively diagnosed with a stool test. Blood tests and intestinal biopsies are the standard methods for diagnosing celiac disease.

Can a positive celiac blood test mean something else?

A positive celiac blood test can sometimes be a false positive or indicate another autoimmune condition. Further evaluation, such as an intestinal biopsy, may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Where to get tested for celiac?

Testing for celiac disease is typically performed by a gastroenterologist or a healthcare provider with experience in diagnosing and managing celiac disease. Consult your primary care physician for a referral or find a local gastroenterology clinic that offers celiac testing.

How do I get tested for gluten?

To get tested for gluten-related disorders, consult your primary care physician or a gastroenterologist. They will guide you through the testing process, which may include blood tests, intestinal biopsies, or other diagnostic procedures.

Can you get tested for gluten-free?

There is no specific test to determine if someone is gluten-free. However, tests for cel

Cost & Insurance

Does insurance cover gluten testing?

Insurance coverage for gluten testing varies depending on the insurance plan and the specific test being performed. It is essential to contact your insurance provider to determine whether the test is covered and to what extent.

Is genetic testing for celiac covered by insurance?

Insurance coverage for genetic testing for celiac disease varies depending on the insurance plan. Contact your insurance provider to determine if genetic testing is covered and any associated costs.

How much does a gluten antibody test cost?

The cost of gluten antibody tests varies depending on the specific test, healthcare provider, and geographic location. Prices can range from $100 to $300 or more. Contact your healthcare provider or insurance company to determine the exact cost and any potential out-of-pocket expenses.

How much does celiac genetic testing cost?

The cost of celiac genetic testing varies depending on the testing facility and location. Prices can range from $200 to $500 or more. It is essential to contact your healthcare provider or insurance company to determine the exact cost and any potential out-of-pocket expenses.