Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity & Celiac Disease

The following is a guest post from Dr. Daniel Schlenger, D.C.

Getting a proper diagnosis about your body’s reaction to gluten is vital. Gluten has been shown in study after study to increase the probability of serious disease along with increased rate of mortality at every age, if you are sensitive to gluten and continue to eat it.

Even if you have full-blown celiac disease, your chance of having that properly diagnosed in a medical doctor’s office is about 2%. Doctors in general still miss the signs and are unfamiliar with proper diagnostic protocols. If you have what is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the symptoms can be more subtle and your chance of having that properly diagnosed is less likely still.

Most people on a gluten free diet have diagnosed themselves. This approach has some merit as an observant person can notice that some symptoms worsen when they eat gluten and go away when they don’t. Many mothers have put their kids on a gluten free diet as they notice that many allergies and behavioral problems are dramatically improved on a gluten free diet.

This approach is effective but still won’t pick up everyone at risk. What if your primary problem is osteoporosis because the bone building cells (osteoblasts) are being inhibited from doing their job by gluten stimulated antibodies? What if the problem is interference with certain enzymes in the brain that leads to gluten ataxia or loss of cerebellar function after 50 years of gluten ingestion?

Therefore we can conclude that some people can tell by simple observation that gluten is detrimental for them and some cannot.

This is where lab testing comes in. For celiac disease the smoking gun is the small intestine biopsy. Even this is not fool proof however. Some studies have shown that the commonly used light microscope analysis only picks up the more serious and advanced cases. The detail revealed by an electron microscope exam is needed to be truly diagnostic. This technique is not used either because not enough people read those articles and/or because it is cost prohibitive.

About the time that biopsies had begun being used for diagnosis, one researcher noticed that gluten stimulated certain antibody reactions too. Most labs have a basic celiac screening panel that has a high correlation with light microscope biopsies.

At OVitaminPro.com we use a variety of specialized tests from a few different labs to help determine negative reactions to gluten. Each has its own approach and they are all valid. Which one we use depends on what we are looking for.

The labs we use are Enterolab, Cyrex Labs and Alcat. Enterolab and Cyrex are looking for antibodies. In addition, Enterolab does some genetic testing. The Alcat test is looking at the actual response of live neutrophils to gluten and other common foods or allergens.

It is unlikely that you are gluten sensitive and would still show negative in tests from these labs. For more information you can check with our gluten resources pages.

Daniel Schlenger, DC, DACNB
Diplomate American Chiropractic Neurology Board
30 Years of Clinical Experience
Faculty of Online Continuing Education
Family including children and grandchildren all gluten free

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.


  1. says

    Great information. I tested negative but feel better without gluten. Then I found out some of the symptoms and I had them. Thanks.

  2. KimH says

    I have had severe fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue for years. After years of pain & testing to no avail, I went on the Atkins diet (no gluten products back then) and within 4 days I was a different person. I still dont test positive, either blood or intestinal biopsy, but the arthritis like pain is severe after a few days of eating glutens. My endocrinologist told me to consider myself allergic to glutens & I do.

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