For Patients Going Gluten Free, it’s Worth Taking the Test

Over 3 million people in the United States follow a gluten-free diet.1 By 2020, the market for gluten-free foods is projected to be worth over 7.5 billion dollars.2 But many people are making the decision to reduce gluten intake without a specific diagnosis or a clinician recommendation. According to the Celiac Foundation, 80% of individuals in the United States with celiac disease are undiagnosed,3 leaving them at risk for long term effects of the disease.

A simple blood test can help clinicians identify the 3 major causes of gluten-related symptoms: celiac disease, wheat allergy, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For the growing number of patients eliminating gluten on their own, diagnostic testing might seem like a step backward. However, since there are several conditions that can result in gluten-related symptoms, when it comes to gluten sensitivity, knowledge is power.

Reasons to Screen

  1. Proper Nutrition4
    Going gluten-free can lead to nutritional deficiencies without proper dietary guidance. Eliminating products with gluten may lead to reduced fiber intake or vitamin deficiency if suitable substitutes are not introduced, and prepackaged gluten-free items can be high in calories and low in nutritional value, leading to weight gain.  For people who do have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it may be effective to eat a reduced-gluten diet. Testing to pinpoint the cause of gluten-related symptoms can provide clinicians with the information they need to guide appropriate nutritional plans and help patients avoid nutritional deficiencies.
  2. Personalized Treatment5
    People who begin a gluten-free diet may be adapting a strict lifestyle change that is not medically necessary and can be both expensive and difficult to maintain. As the spectrum of gluten-related disorders produces symptoms that overlap with other, non-gluten related gastronomical conditions, testing can be useful to help distinguish these patient groups.  Having a specific diagnosis can help clinicians and patients develop a comprehensive diet and lifestyle plan that targets their specific condition and symptoms.
  3. Food Safety4
    Some people who have celiac disease need only come in contact with a small amount of the protein to experience intestinal distress so severe that it can cause life-threatening dehydration. The only treatment is a lifelong avoidance of gluten. It is worth having a celiac diagnosis so that patients can know the degree to which they need to avoid gluten contact in their food preparation.

Get Clarity

True Health offers seven FDA-approved biomarkers to help diagnose gluten-related disorders. Learn more about True Health’s Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity testing.

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References

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/01/17/the-number-of-americans-going-gluten-free-has-tripled-since-2009-infographic/#1434c6d132f2

[2] https://www.statista.com/topics/2067/gluten-free-foods-market/

[3] https://celiac.org/about-cdf/our-role-impact/cdf-year-in-review/

[4] https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/considering-a-gluten-free-diet

[5] Infantino M, et al. Diagnostic accuracy of anti-gliadin antibodies in Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) patients: A dual statistical approach. Clinica Chimica Acta. 2015; (451) 135-141.