top of page

How to test yourself for celiac disease (gluten intolerance)

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Although the symptoms of celiac disease (gluten intolerance) can be difficult to track, modern tests make it much easier to identify this autoimmune disease.

Celiac disease is a serious form of intolerance to gluten – a plant protein found in many of the cereals we consume in our daily lives.

For people with celiac disease, gluten triggers the production of antibodies by their immune system. The most common type of antibody is tissue transglutaminase (t-TG) antibodies of the IgA type. Most diagnostic tests for celiac disease are designed to detect these antibodies. In addition to these tests, there are several other methods that can be used to determine whether the person has gluten intolerance.

A combination of the following factors should be considered when identifying celiac disease:

  • Symptoms that match those of celiac disease

  • The presence of specific antibodies in the blood

  • Improvement of the general state of health when following a gluten-free diet

  • Changes in the lining of the small intestine (confirmed after biopsy)

  • Genetic predisposition – HLA-DQ2 / DQ8

There are two groups of people who can be diagnosed with celiac disease, regardless of their age. These are people with symptoms of gluten intolerance and people who are in a risk group (for example, people with parents or children who have already been diagnosed with celiac disease).

Serological tests to determine antibodies in the blood

In cases of celiac disease, specific antibodies of the IgA type directed against tissue transglutaminase (t-TG) are formed. Serological tests such as GLUTEN'ALARM are designed to precisely detect these antibodies. When antibodies are sufficiently concentrated (>10U/ml, determined against reference panels of samples), they are used as proof of gluten intolerance.

High performance blood tests are the first screening method that should be used to detect celiac disease. With an accuracy of 97%, this type of testing is extremely reliable in identifying gluten intolerance.

In some cases, despite the presence of symptoms, the levels of IgA immunoglobulin in the blood may be too low, leading to a false-negative test result for celiac disease. The reason is usually starting a gluten-free diet too early and before performing the necessary tests. In these cases, the concentration of IgA immunoglobulin in the blood should also be tested.

Next steps after testing

If you get a positive result after testing for gluten intolerance (celiac disease) with GLUTEN'ALARM, your attending physician may resort to an endoscopy of the small intestine (enteroscopy) and biopsy. The sample is examined under a microscope to check if the villi of the small intestine are damaged.

In children, a biopsy can be avoided if the following conditions are present:

  • Manifested symptoms of celiac disease

  • A positive test for antibodies to tissue transglutaminase (t-TG) of the IgA type

  • IgA immunoglobulin deficiency is ruled out

  • Positive anti-endomysium antibody (EMA) test

  • Genetic predisposition – HLA-DQ2 / DQ8

It is important to note that in some people, gluten intolerance is asymptomatic and harder to detect. In recent cases of celiac disease, symptoms such as constant fatigue or pain in the joints, muscles, and bones are more common than gastrointestinal symptoms.

As soon as celiac disease is correctly identified, it is important to start a strict gluten-free diet to avoid possible health complications. The gluten-free diet should be introduced only after consulting a medical professional.



bottom of page