You can be tested for gluten intolerance

Self-tests for gluten intolerance - more risk than safety!

Test packs that can be purchased from the pharmacy or via the Internet promise a quick diagnosis at home if a gluten intolerance is suspected. But be careful: they often even harbor risks.

The choice is getting bigger and bigger: breath tests for lactose or fructose intolerance, stool tests for suspected celiac disease or histamine intolerance, immunoglobulin tests for suspected allergies. People who are supposedly affected hope for a quick confirmation of their concerns or for an acquittal - without waiting for a doctor's appointment. An uncomplicated purchase in the online shop or a pharmacy should bring certainty. The prices are usually between 20 and 100 euros per test pack, some including laboratory findings.

Currently in great demand: "Gluten test"

They are mainly advertised online under “Self-test for gluten intolerance”, “Celiac test”, “Gluten self-test” or “Gluten stool test”; in Switzerland they are already available in supermarkets. Such tests are intended to detect gluten intolerance or the immune disease celiac disease.

For the test user, however, it says:

  • The knowledge value of the tests is often low with additional financial expenditure.
  • Who guides to correct preparation and implementation?
  • Self-tests are no substitute for a visit to a specialized doctor.
  • Therapy recommendations in the test appendix are often inadequate or counterproductive.

What does a gluten self-test look at?

The test person takes a blood sample (a drop) and mixes the blood with a liquid contained in the test pack. After a short time, the test uses lines that appear to indicate whether there are antibodies in the tester's blood that could indicate celiac disease. But: It is not certain whether the test takes the meaningful antibodies into account. Stool tests are also offered, in which the antibodies in the stool sample sent in are examined. This diagnostic method is considered insufficient and should not be used.
Another problem: If the test person has already been on a gluten-free diet as a precautionary measure, the test can be negative, as the antibodies are only present in a small part or possibly not at all in the blood!

In some cases, the test providers recommend temporarily starting a gluten-free diet on your own after a positive test result. However, this procedure enormously hinders the further proper diagnosis by a doctor, who will not only arrange his own blood test anyway, but often has to perform one or more small intestine biopsies under normal gluten exposure. Only after a doctor has definitely ruled out celiac disease, further tests for wheat allergy, wheat sensitivity or gluten sensitivity can be carried out.

Important: After a reliable medical diagnosis, a qualified nutritionist supports those affected in a symptom-free everyday life. You can also get this therapeutic advice in many VSB counseling centers.

Celiac Disease - a serious condition

Celiac disease is a serious immunological disease of the small intestine. The mucous membrane of the small intestine reacts to the adhesive protein gluten with inflammation and the regression of the mucous membrane villi. Diarrhea and flatulence often occur, and poor digestion and nutrient absorption lead to a lack of vitamins and minerals, weakness and weight loss.

However, at least half of those affected show atypical disease courses with neurological deficits, osteoporosis, a tendency to constipation, fatty stools or skin changes. Many are also symptom-free! There is a genetic make-up for celiac disease. According to estimates, the frequency in the population is currently 1: 100 to 1: 500. Women are affected twice as often as men on average.
The only therapeutic approach: Completely avoiding all gluten-containing cereals and their products, i.e. all domestic types of cereals (wheat, rye, spelled, barley, oats, green spelled, emmer, einkorn, triticale) must be strictly avoided in any form.

Further information:
German Celiac Society e.V. (dzg)
German Allergy and Asthma Association (daab)