Are you worried that you may be intolerant to gluten? If you’re experiencing problems with your health or digestion, or are interested in optimising your diet to live a healthier lifestyle, checking for gluten intolerance can be a sensible step. At our private doctors clinics, gluten testing is something we can do for you. If you’d like to book a gluten blood test, click here, or read on to find out more.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a dietary protein that can be found in 3 types of cereal; wheat, barley and rye.
Gluten is present in any food that contains one or a combination of these cereals. For example; pasta, cakes, bread and breakfast cereals. It’s also present in a range of other foods including certain sauces, ready meals, sweets and alcoholic beverages.
Gluten acts like a binding agent in food, holding together and adding a firmer, stretchy like quality to food to stop it breaking apart easily. Bread dough is a good example of this. This is why you may often find gluten alternatives have a different, more crumbly or drier texture than their counterparts.
What is gluten intolerance?
Gluten intolerance is a common complaint and can cause symptoms that result in mild discomfort to serious health problems.
The most severe form of gluten intolerance is Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that is triggered by eating foods containing gluten. In this case, the ingestion of gluten triggers the body to attack its own tissue which causes damage to the small intestine.
Although celiac disease is serious, it’s far less common than gluten sensitivity, a milder, non-celiac reaction to gluten but one which can still cause discomfort and unpleasant symptoms.
What are the symptoms of gluten intolerance?
Gluten intolerance can cause several uncomfortable side effects including some not obviously linked to digestion. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Bloating and gas
- Stomach cramps and abdominal pain
- Foul smelling stools, diarrhea and/or constipation
- Skin problems
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Unexplained weight loss
- Joint or muscle pain
- Numbness in legs, arms or fingers
- Brain fog or confusion and problems with memory
- Other autoimmune disorders
Some of these symptoms can also occur as a result of other food intolerances and conditions. This is why it’s important to be sure it is gluten that’s the culprit. The easiest way to do this is to get tested by a qualified doctor or health professional.
Can you become gluten intolerant later in life?
Yes. It’s certainly possible to suddenly develop an intolerance to gluten even if you’ve never had a problem with it before. You may have had some symptoms of the condition become more apparent as you get older, however for some people it appears seemingly abruptly. Your likelihood of developing an intolerance to gluten can be based on genetic factors.
Should I get a gluten test for intolerance?
If you don’t have a gluten intolerance, there is no evidence to suggest that gluten is harmful to the body and so cutting it out of your diet could be unnecessary. As gluten can be found in so many foods, removing it from your diet entirely can be difficult, in addition, gluten free alternatives are often more expensive.
Finding out if you need to avoid gluten for your health, or not, can give you the peace of mind that you’re looking for and help you avoid any unnecessary and inconvenient changes to your diet.
One of the easiest ways to find out if your body has trouble processing gluten is to take a simple blood test. First, celiac disease must be ruled out.
You need to be eating a diet that contains gluten to ensure that any blood test you take is accurate. It’s recommended that you eat 2-4 servings per day of foods that contain gluten for around six weeks before the test.
Book a gluten test
Tests should only be carried out by a qualified doctor or medical professional. To book a gluten intolerance test please visit our booking page here. To check out our clinic locations visit our locations page here.
What’s the best diet for gluten intolerance?
When you cut out certain foods from your diet for health reasons, it’s important to ensure that you’re not also cutting out any important nutrients by adapting your diet in a healthy way that works for your lifestyle and your body.
At London Doctors Clinic we also offer dietary support through our specialist dietitian services to help you create a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Gluten Blood Test Locations: Birmingham City, Canary Wharf, Chislehurst, Esher, Guildford, Guy's and St Thomas', Kings Cross, Kingston, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Manchester, Marylebone, Old Street, Oxford Street, Paddington, St Albans, St Paul's, Twickenham, Victoria, Wandsworth, Waterloo and Wimbledon or you can book an Online Doctor