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The Blood Tests for Celiac Disease

It is extremely important that you are eating a gluten-filled diet when taking these tests.  If you are already gluten free, then there is a good chance the blood tests will be negative, even if you do in fact have celiac disease (the only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, which *should* result in the following antibodies returning to the normal/negative range).

According to The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, the following U.S. labs are best suited for conducting the following blood tests (and most importantly, interpreting the results).  These laboratories include:

Prometheus Labs

Quest Diagnostics

Mayo Clinic

The Tests

  • Total Serum IgA to test for IgA deficiency  ***Very Important! (this health condition can affect the accuracy of the following antibody tests)
  • anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG-IgA and tTG-IgG)
  • Anti-endomysial antibody test (EMA-IgA)
  • Deamidated Gluten Peptide (DPG-IgA and DPG-IgG)
  • Anti-Gliadin IgA (you may need to ask your doctor to specifically write this test on the lab order, many labs no longer include it automatically)
  • Anti-Gliadin IgG (you may need to ask your doctor to specifically write this test on the lab order, many labs no longer include it automatically)

*For descriptions and explanations of the above tests, please visit the websites of  Dr. Rodney Ford, and The American Celiac Disease Alliance.

Celiac Gene Test: This test will not tell you if you have active celiac disease, rather, it will tell you your likelihood of developing the disease at any point in your lifetime (a person is not born with celiac disease).  This test can also be helpful for those who had symptoms and began a gluten free diet before being tested for active celiac disease but do not want to do a gluten challenge.

The following are labs offer at-home specimen collection kits:

My Celiac ID

Enterolab

Kimball Genetics (you will need to get your results from your physician)

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Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    I was told by a fellow celiac today that there is a blood work test that is completely reliable, checks for genetic markers, and you can be completely gf when you take it. She said it is fairly new, but it is how she had her kids tested after her own test was positive. Her household was gf for awhile before her kids were tested (this is my case – two children that I need to have genetic work done and would like to go ahead and see if celiac shows up in blood work, but both are already gf). What do you know about this test? She also said it was simple to order at my local lab in Santa Fe. Hmmmm.

  2. Maggie says:

    Thanks for posting this helpful information Heidi. You have referenced some great resources.

    -Maggie, Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery

  3. Karen Cortis says:

    Even more recent testing is available now for Gluten Sensitivity, Intestinal Permeability and Cross Reactivity to foods that may mimic gluten and cause the Inflammatory Cascade. Testing is from CyrexLabs. Find information at Cyrexlabs.com. This You Tube Link talks about the tests. Interviews about GS, CD and the tests can be found at this site: http://www.thedr.com/index.php?option=com_content…. This YouTube Video discusses GS/CD and the tests. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ9p7CmcAzs

  4. Debbie says:

    Hello, I have been tested for celiac and my test came back negative. I was NOT on a gluten-free diet when I took the test. The doctor never told me to eat a gluten- free diet when the test was taken. Does it really change the test results? How long would I have to be on a gluten-free diet before retaking the test? Thank you for your informative site. I love it.

  5. Vanessa says:

    What if you can't get a doctor to write a script? My daughter is on Medicaid until next spring when she will switch to CHIP… our pediatrician, who is usually very agreeable refuses to do all the tests. He will only order anti-gliadin tests. Will the labs do the tests without a script if I pay out of pocket?

    • Hi Vanessa,

      Why won't your daughter's doctor order the full celiac panel? Would it be possible to find another doctor who will order the tests? I honestly don't know how labs work, but I highly suspect that you do need a doctor to order the tests for you.

  6. Melanie says:

    Hi Heidi,

    My dr tested me for food allergies and has sent me on my merry way saying that my problems are all anxiety and hypothyroid. I was reading that a Gluten Free diet can help with hypothyroid. So here I am on the internet trying to find answers.

    The tests you list above are different tests than food allergies, right? I did go to Quest. I am going to call my dr. tomorrow and request copies of the tests I had done.

  7. Ti says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that I have Celiac. Since going GF six months ago, my Lupus has become non-existent, joint pain and throat swelling…all gone. Anemia…getting better every month. My RA wants to test me officially for Celiac and it's scheduled for January but I've been gluten-free for some time now. He never told me to be eaten gluten beforehand. How soon before the test should I eat gluten? A couple of days before and leading up to it?

    Right now, I am MISERABLE if I have even a little bit of gluten so I'm not sure I want to subject myself to days or weeks of agony just to get a positive result, even though I know it would be beneficial for treatment down the line to have it.

    • Hi Ti,

      There is no hard and fast rule of thumb for a gluten challenge because everyone's body works differently. The following is from Dr. Joseph Murray of The Mayo Clinic (click here for the full article):

      The length of time it takes to relapse with a gluten challenge is variable. Adequate gluten, 3–4 slices of whole-wheat bread/d, should produce damage in 2–4 wk. This dose may need to be reduced in some extremely sensitive patients to prevent severe symptoms. Patients who do not develop symptoms should be followed up and biopsy delayed until the occurrence of symptoms or positive endomysial antibodies, whichever is first. Most patients will relapse within 6 mo although in rare cases it may take years.

      • Ti says:

        Well, this is great info. It does not take me long to react when I have been glutenized. Perhaps that's due to the fact that I have been on a GF diet for only six months. There have been a handful of times where a restaurant did not prepare my food correctly and within 24 hrs, I have some sort of a reaction. I will keep all this in mind when I go for the testing. Thanks so much. You have a wonderful site. I plan to visit often as my daughter is showing signs of GS.

    • Kaydee says:

      Dr. Tom O'Bryan doesn't recommend a gluten challenge. He says it can do irreparable harm. Download his article here: http://www.thedr.com/images/glutenchallenge.pdf

  8. Amy Johnson says:

    I have been having bloating problems and no energy. About two months ago, a friend suggested for me to avoid wheat products. So I thought it was worth the try. The week and a half I was on a gluten free diet, I could tell a big difference. I no longer bloated and a felt like a human. My bloating had gotten so bad, I had people asking me all the time if I was pregnant. I would go from flat in the morning to looking about 4-5 months pregnant. I decided to call me GI doctor to let him in on what I have found out. He suggested for me to go back on a regular diet for 4 weeks, then he would have me do some blood work and an EGD. I just got my results back today! My doctor has been out of the office for two weeks, so another associate of his preformed the EGD. I found out that I have GERD and gastritis, but the biopsies of the small intestines came back normal. I really thought they would be positive. So I asked if they had the bloodwork back. She said yes but the doctor won’t be back until Wed to read them. She did tell me that my numbers were high. So I asked if it was possible to develop it but there wasn’t damage to the intestines yet for it to show up. She said she didn’t know that I would have to wait for the doctor to come back and review my results. What do you think about all this?

    • Amy Johnson says:

      My doctor called me back. My blood work showed my levels being a 33, which is a strong positive! Said to watch my kids for symptoms, they have a 1 in 20 chance of developing it too.

Trackbacks

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  2. [...] intestinal biopsy for celiac disease (his celiac blood panel was positive however, for both tTG and EMA, plus he was beginning to suffer from symptoms and he is also a celiac gene carrier, HLA-DQ8 to be [...]

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