Gluten Sensitivity Testing: What Options are Available?


Dr. Marni Ross, ND

The rise in gluten sensitivity is becoming quite evident.  Most grocery stores have gluten-free alternatives these days and many restaurants are providing gluten-free substitutes.  So what is causing the shift to eliminate gluten from our diets?  Is it because people cut it out for a certain period of time and they note marked improvements in their health?  Or are people having testing done to see if they are in fact gluten sensitive?

When it comes to my practice, most of my patients have often tried avoiding gluten before coming to see me, if they feel they could have problems with gluten.  Sometimes, an elimination diet is enough and they are confident to say that they are gluten sensitive.  However, more often than not, an elimination diet is not conclusive.  Compliance with this diet can be difficult for many people and the symptoms are not consistent.  This is when gluten sensitivity testing can be quite valuable.

At Sage Clinic, we offer a variety testing options:

  • IgG/IgE Blood Serum Blood draw (as part of a food panel)  – If you are looking to do overall food allergy testing, in addition to gluten, this is the way to go.  This tests for both immediate (IgE) and delayed (IgG) reactions to 95 different foods.
  • IgG Fingerstick (as part of a food panel) – This is another general food allergy test, that only tests for the delayed (IgG) reactions to foods.  It does not involve a blood draw, rather a simple prick from the tip of the finger.
  • Saliva Testing as part of an adrenal hormone panel – This is a useful test if you feel you have a cortisol imbalance (cortisol is your “stress” hormone).  There is a link between ingestion of gluten, gut inflammation and increased cortisol levels.  If you choose to test for a gluten intolerance through saliva, without doing the entire adrenal panel, this is an option as well.
  • Gluten Sensitivity Stool Testing – This type of testing has become popular due to the large amount of immune cells that line the intestinal tract assigned to protect the body from foreign invaders.  In this case, a specific antibody that your body produces against gluten called fecal anti-gliadin IgA is assessed.
  • Gluten Sensitivity Gene Test (cheek swab) – This tests for your risk of having or developing a gluten intolerance based on your genetic predisposition.

Removing gluten from your diet, if you are allergic or intolerant, can change every aspect of your health and well being.  Talk to your Naturopathic Physician to see what options are best for you.