Gluten intolerance, or non-Coeliac gluten sensitivity, is fast becoming a problem. Not just a health fad, one in ten people in the UK now avoid gluten; and gluten-free foods saw a significant 27% rise in sales in 2017 – a trend showing no signs of abating. Suspected causes range from the absence of traditional bread fermentation to the addition of new chemicals.
Whatever the cause, learning how to test for gluten intolerance is more important than ever.
Not sure if you need a food intolerance test? Think you may have gluten intolerance symptoms? Below we cover everything you need to know to fix your diet and gut.
What is Gluten Intolerance?
Not to be confused with Coeliac disease, gluten intolerance is not an autoimmune disorder. It is characterised by an intolerance of the gluten protein found in wheat, rye, oat, and barley goods like bread, pizza, and pasta. Gluten is made from two proteins – glutenin and gliadin – which together create a soft, chewy texture.
The NHS defines intolerance as “when you have difficulty digesting certain foods or ingredients in food. It’s not usually serious, but eating food if you’re intolerant can make you feel unwell.”
Gluten intolerance differs from wheat allergy, which triggers an immune reaction. Allergies typically present with itchy skin, wheezing, swelling of the lips, face, and eyes, and even anaphylaxis.
Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
It’s estimated that between 0.5% to 13% of people experience non-Coeliac gluten sensitivity. You could be one of them if you notice:
- Bloating: A swollen or gaseous feeling in the stomach after eating may indicate gluten intolerance.
- diarrhoea and Constipation: Regular occurrences of diarrhoea and constipation, especially after consuming gluten.
- Stomach Pain: Experiencing abdominal discomfort post-gluten ingestion is a common symptom of gluten intolerance.
- Headaches and Migraine: Increased susceptibility to headaches or migraine attacks may be linked to gluten intolerance.
- Fatigue: A persistent state of tiredness, especially post consuming gluten-containing foods.
- Depression and Anxiety: Higher prevalence of anxiety and depression in individuals with gluten intolerance. Improvement was noted in people following a gluten-free diet.
- Pain: Gluten can trigger inflammation resulting in widespread pain, including joints and muscles in sensitive individuals.
- Arm and Leg Numbness: People with gluten sensitivity may also experience this symptom, potentially linked to antibodies related to gluten intolerance.
- Brain Fog: Trouble with memory, thinking clearly, or mental fatigue may also signify gluten intolerance. This symptom is common among people with non-Coeliac gluten intolerance.
How to Test for Gluten Intolerance
Testing for gluten intolerance often involves ruling out Coeliac disease and wheat allergy.
Coeliac disease is diagnosed with in several ways, including:
- Nutritional deficiencies. Coeliacs can impair the absorption of key nutrients, like iron, vitamin B12, folate, and more, which can be detected with a routine blood test.
- Antibody tests. Two antibodies – tissue transglutaminase antibody and endomysial antibody – are tested to see if an autoimmune response is present. They’re not conclusive, however.
- Small intestine biopsy. The only verified Coeliac test is to take a biopsy of the small intestine’s lining to look for damage.
Next, a wheat allergy test can eliminate the possibility of an allergic reaction. Usually, this test either includes an elimination diet, where wheat is removed from the diet to see if symptoms subside, or a skin prick test, involving pricking the skin with a needle containing wheat and seeing if a reaction occurs.
The problem is that the biopsy, blood tests, and skin prick test range from somewhat to very invasive. Small intestine biopsies, in particular, involve an endoscope being run down your throat and through your stomach.
Want to know how to test for gluten intolerance noninvasively? Try the alternative food intolerance test.
Scientifically backed, the intolerance test requires a small drop of blood. This sample is then tested against 60+ common food intolerances to identify an IgG4 reaction. IgG4 is a type of antibody behind food intolerances and allergies and is more common than IgE reactions. This food intolerance test has a >97% reproducibility rate and can help inform an elimination diet.
You should always speak to a doctor or healthcare professional if you receive a positive result or your symptoms continue.
Struggle with bloating, fatigue, nausea, stomach cramps, or loose stools? These are the tell-tale signs of gluten intolerance. More than a fad, gluten intolerance is a genuine problem for millions of people worldwide.
However, with the diagnosis requiring potentially invasive tests to rule out Coeliac disease or wheat allergy, testing can be problematic. Finding a solution is crucial, so learning how to test for gluten intolerance can be your first step toward relief from these disruptive symptoms.
With Test Your Intolerance’s Food Intolerance Test, you can identify 63 food intolerances, including gluten. Get the results online within 7 days after we receive your sample. Buy our Intolerance Test today!