FALSE Negative Gluten Intolerance Blood Test?

Gluten Intolerance Blood TestAre you one of the many people who have had a gluten intolerance blood test that came out negative? Were you thrilled when you were told that your test results say that you can have wheat? But are you also one of the even greater number of people that remain confused about their test results being negative because you know you don’t feel well when you eat food that contains gluten?

YOU’RE NOT CRAZY!

If a blood test says you don’t have a problem with gluten then it must be right, right? Not so! You aren’t crazy, there are a variety of potential reasons that your gluten intolerance blood test results came out negative and yet you know you can’t eat gluten because it makes you feel bad when you do. I have patients who have been told…”it must be something else that you’re feeling because this test shows that it’s not gluten” or “Maybe you’re just getting swept up in the fad out there about being gluten free, because your test is negative, so you can eat it!

Once again, you aren’t crazy. Feeling badly when you eat gluten AND a negative test result CAN coexist. Let’s look at a few reasons why.

THE PRESENCE OF GLUTEN WHEN TESTING

Hopefully, whoever ordered your gluten intolerance test made sure that you had been eating gluten for the last several weeks and that you continued to eat it right up until testing day. The presence of gluten in your bloodstream for testing purposes may seem obvious to most but I still get several people every few months who tell me that their test results were negative AND they were following a gluten free diet before and during the time of testing. These negative test results would not be reliable to rule out Celiac or Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. I have seen jaws drop when I clarify this for a patient.

DO YOU PRODUCE ENOUGH ANTIBODIES?

This is a key area to understand and to instruct your provider to gather information about before or at least along with your test for gluten intolerance. Testing for gluten intolerance is a test of antibody response, we call them IgA and IgG’s. There are several reasons why you could be a low producer of these antibodies. If you are a low producer of these antibodies then your IgG and IgA antibody results against gluten could also come out low and be classified as negative when you may actually have gluten intolerance.

Low IgG and IgA production can occur from stress, variations in your genetic makeup, autoimmune conditions, the presence of immunosuppressive drugs and perhaps other reasons that science has yet to clarify. Excellent studies have been done showing up to 80% drops in IgA production when an individual is experiencing stress. Remember that stress responses occur in all age groups for all kinds of reasons and that there is good stress (weddings) and bad stress (funerals).

Autoimmune conditions can contribute to variable levels of antibody production. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition and many Celiacs have low antibody production – the exact group that is trying to be diagnosed could come out falsely negative on blood testing!

Steroids are the most common group of medications that are immunosuppressive. Anyone on these drugs should know that their antibody production against gluten may be quite low if tested while taking this type of medication and therefore negative test results shouldn’t be trusted. These medications might be taken with conditions such as Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

GET TOTAL IgG and IgA VALUES BEFORE YOU TEST FOR GLUTEN!

At the very least, get Total IgG and IgA levels tested along with your gluten intolerance test so that you and your provider know how to better interpret your results. While a traditional Celiac panel should include a total IgA level which is great, it doesn’t test for all of the different wheat proteins, subtypes of the gliadin protein or the subtypes of the enzymes against gliadin. Cyrex Labs does test for all of these different fractions but still does not include total IgG or total IgA with any of their panels. An excellent testing combination for better test accuracy and interpretation would be to use Cyrex Labs AND get total IgG and total IgA’s run at the same time – that way you are understanding your level of antibody production at the same time that you are doing a gluten intolerance blood test.

Related posts:

About Sheila Wagner PT, CN, BCHN

Sheila’s cutting edge ability to uncover hidden source(s) of health issues when no one else has is the first piece to her step wise approach in solving your persistent health complaints.

+Sheila Wagner is the ultimate expert assisting people nationwide to finally fix their health through 1:1 consults, group programs, lectures and classes.

Opinions & Feedback:

  1. Lena Rocchio says:

    Hi. I was tested for gluten allergy and other food allergies. The test came back negative but it’s foods I’ve stayed away from for years. Can the test be accurate if the antibodies aren’t in my blood? I feel really sick when I eat bread, pasta, pizza. There has to be an answer please help.

    • Lena, results from gluten testing can be tricky to interpret. If you were not eating gluten at all for quite ahwile
      when you were tested then this would be the primary reason that you had a negative antibody response. This, of course, does not mean you are not gluten intolerant. Your experience of feeling sick when you eat gluten containing foods sounds like your best test so far and there’s your answer! Contact me if you have more questions but I would take your ‘experiential testing’ as your best testing method at this point!

  2. Hello,
    I just received my results from aTiss Tran Ab test, a Gliadin IGA test and a Gliadin IGG test, and I am upset to find a negative. I have had GI issues for years and the past year, I have been having major “attacks” of pain vomiting and diarrhea that are worse than normal (although I always have GI symptoms). I constantly look pregnant even though I am only 110 lbs, I have joint pain like no other, I am being tested for narcolepsy because I am constantly exhausted, and I have kidney stones, which I have heard can be caused by celiac. Is it possible that my tests were wrong? Will the doctor still do an endosc. ? I have had one before but they were looking for a hiatus hernia (which I have). The doctor I just saw assured me that hiatus hernias do not cause excruciating pain. Is there another disease that presents with the same symptoms? Joint pain (especially fingers, shoulders and knees), diarrhea (but still full bowels all of the time), upper gastric pain, vomiting, constant nausea, and chronic fatigue? I have been tested for so much and it is constantly negative. I find myself hoping for a positive.

    • Hayli, your negative test results are so frustrating when you feel the way you do , I know! you could still be positive for gluten intolerance (non Celiac) but antibody suppression could have resulted in false negative results. OR, you could have a parasitic or bacterial intestinal infection that could cause these symptoms as well. You have to make sure that you do stool tests with specialty labs like Genova Diagnostics or Doctors Data to investigate this possibility.

  3. Lena Rocchio says:

    Hi I was wondering if I add gluten back into my diet a little at a time would there be negative affects on my intestines or any health risks?

    • Lena, if you are gluten intolerant this is NOT advised to do. Yes, there can be negative affects on your intestines and your health in general. The trickster is when you have symptoms that aren’t clear to you or that you can’t notice, you’ll think eating gluten is ok, but it is NOT! Be careful!

  4. I have been having severe left side stomach pain since February. The only thing that helped was when I stopped eating gluten. My dr ordered an upper GI andbiopsied for celiac. I came back negative of course because I didn’t have any gluten in my system. Recently my tattoos have taken on a 3-d raised effect when I am exposed to wheat or gluten. I went to my primary care for an allergy blood test and it came back negative as well. I even accidentally used a wheat containing bath oil, and had allergy symptoms including what looked like a sunburn. Am I going crazy? How can I be negative on wheat and gluten but have such strong reactions? I also had been previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but since I stopped eating gluten, all the pain has gone away. Me and my doctors are stumped.

    • Kelly, your false blood test results juxtaposed to your positive experience of symptom reduction from gluten elimination is a fairly common finding. There are a variety of reasons why blood test responses can come up negative when you are actually gluten intolerant as I discussed in the article. Sounds to me like you are one of those individuals who are experiencing just that! Don’t let your blood test results confuse you, you know what your experience is and stick with that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Your Comments: