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kellysensei

What Does Low Iga Mean?

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I just got an email from the lab saying "We cannot interpret your celiac disease blood test because of the low IgA level." Apparently, the range they consider normal is 91-414, and mine was 61.

 

What does that mean, that my IgA was low?

 

My liver enzymes were also significantly elevated, so I have to redo the blood test next week.

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Low total IgA means that you do not have enough for the tests to be valid.  IgA (antibody) is made in the mucosal lining of the intestines, which is a very large part of the immune system. When you have active Celiac, your body will be pumping out IgA like crazy. It's the antibody reaction that they are looking for. So.......the blood test for Celiac won't work for you. I am not sure if they can just do an IgG based test, which is another part of the blood work.  There is IgA and IgG tTg testing.  Most people go for the biopsy when their total IgA is too low.

 

Having elevated liver enzymes is very comon with Celiac Disease so that could be an added clue. They usually go down into normal once people are on the gluten-free diet for a bit.

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I figured my tests wouldn't be valid, since I hadn't been eating gluten for a month at the time of the blood draw. But are my IgA numbers low *because* I hadn't been eating gluten? Would my numbers supposedly be higher on a gluten diet, even if I wasn't Celiac?

 

I'm not convinced quite yet that I have Celiac or even a gluten sensitivity...I just don't know. I had gluten accidentally on Thanksgiving, and the only thing that happened was that I got a headache three days later, so I can't really connect the two events. I think my next step, besides getting my liver enzymes retested, is to go back to gluten for a couple weeks and see what happens. If I feel it's affecting me, I'll do the Enterolab stool test.

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My daughter has low IgA as well, so her celiac test was inconclusive. She has tested positive with more sensitive blood tests however. I don't know what these tests are, but there are supposedly more accurate than ELISA, which is what most labs/doctors use. Good luck! I hope you're able to figure this out soon!

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Total IgA only checks to see if you make enough IgA antibody for the Celiac testing to be accurate/reliable.  It is not a diagnostic test for Celiac.   The DGP and tTg/IgA and tTg/ IgG are the ones that are used for an actual diagnosis.  Those who make sufficient IgA for testing will have a normal range that the IgA falls in between and that should be listed on any testing you have done.  If you have full blown Celiac that is undiagnosed, you may have elevated total IgA because your intestines would be a mess from eating wheat and would be pumping out antibodies like crazy. My total IgA at time of diagnosis was in the 700's and now that I have been gluten free for a long time, they fall into the normal range given by the lab. But I also failed all Celiac blood tests by HUGE numbers. Labs use different testing methods so the normal ranges are not standard in all labs...they can differ a bit.

 

The DGP tests for reaction to gluten that is ingested.  The tTg tests for damage to the intestinal tract. But any Celiac testing should include a Total IgA or you will not know the validity of all the other tests.  I would expect that if you came back with off the charts numbers for Celiac but didn't do the total IgA, it would be a moot point because of the other really high numbers.  I know this is very confusing and that's why it is so hard to get an ultimate answer.  If you do not have Celiac Disease, then I would imagine that your Total IgA would not become elevated as you would not be reacting to gluten. But Iga is made in the intestinal tract and everyone has it by differing numbers. It is part of your immune system.

 

It is very important to be ingesting gluten, as much as possible, for any blood draw.  Antibodies can go down quickly in some or may go down into normal range, even in the presence of Celiac, if they weren't very high to begin with.  You could have just tripped over the normal range for a positive but if you go gluten-free for a month, it could drop a few points and then they get a negative back......even if you do have Celiac.

 

worriedseattlemom......Elisa testing is for allergies, not intolerances like Celiac. Two very different animals.  If your daughter has low IgA, low enough that it is out of range low on the Total IgA, then any Celiac blood work would be inconclusive or negative, even if she has Celiac.  There are no other blood tests for Celiac, that I know of. Was she tested for allergies, as opposed to Celiac Disease? 

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