Gluten Cross-Reactivity: IgG & IgA Food Sensitivity Testing

Embarking on a gluten-free journey can be confusing, especially when symptoms persist despite strict adherence. This article sheds light on the enigmatic concept of gluten cross-reactivity through ELISA IgG/IgA food sensitivity testing. By detecting specific antibodies, this test unravels the immune system’s response to foods mistakenly identified as gluten. Our exploration aims to provide you with critical insights to more effectively manage food sensitivities and improve your well-being on a gluten-free journey. Discover the pivotal role of ELISA testing in identifying hidden culprits and fine-tuning your diet for optimal health.

Laboratory testing of food samples for sensitivity analysis, depicting a hand holding a test tube

Deciphering ELISA IgG/IgA Testing

The Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) is a precise tool for identifying specific antibodies that are critical in determining food sensitivities. It quantifies the immune system’s response to various foods by detecting IgG/IgA antibodies in the blood, indicating which foods are perceived as threats and result in the production of IgG/IgA antibodies.

Understanding Gluten Cross-Reactivity

Imagine carefully avoiding gluten, only to find that an ELISA IgG/IgA test reveals antibodies to wheat/gluten. Such a result may seem puzzling, but it highlights the importance of recognizing cross-reactivity. Dairy, rice, oats, corn, millet, yeast, sesame and instant coffee (due to potential gluten contamination) can be mistaken by the immune system for gluten and elicit a similar antibody response.

Here’s an important clarification: for a food to be considered a potential cross-reactor with gluten, the ELISA IgG/IgA test must show positive antibodies to it. This indicates an immune response to the food, suggesting the possibility of cross-reactivity due to shared epitopes (amino acid sequences) between gluten and the food in question.

Addressing Cross-Reactivity in Testing

ELISA IgG/IgA tests may detect antibodies to wheat/gluten even after gluten avoidance, suggesting cross-reactivity. Importantly, the test can also detect antibodies to known cross-reacting foods. The presence of antibodies to these foods confirms their potential as cross-reactors. Conversely, if antibodies to these foods are not detected, they cannot be considered cross-reactors in your specific immune response.

Sample report of Cyrex Array 4 testing for food cross-reactivity, illustrating immune responses to different foods

Image: Cyrex Array 4 sample report

The Significance of Total IgG & IgA Antibodies Measurement

Measurement of total IgG and IgA antibodies is essential because it allows quantification of the specific IgG/IgA response to foods. This comprehensive approach provides a clearer picture of the immune response and helps to identify specific food sensitivities and cross-reactivities. By assessing both total IgG/IgA antibodies and specific IgG/IgA responses to individual foods, we can more accurately tailor dietary recommendations, leading to improved management of food sensitivities.

Strategic Approach to Diet and Testing

A strategic approach to diet and ELISA IgG/IgA testing is essential for those managing gluten sensitivities and cross-reactivity. Retesting for IgG/IgA food sensitivities prior to reintroduction of suspected cross-reactive foods can provide critical insight. Foods with positive antibodies are confirmed as sensitivities or cross-reactors and should be added to your diet with caution.

Thorough analysis of your test results is key to making informed dietary adjustments. If you test positive for gluten antibodies despite strict avoidance, carefully evaluate your diet for the presence of confirmed cross-reactive foods. Eliminating these foods may help lower antibody levels and relieve symptoms.


The ELISA IgG/IgA Food Sensitivity Testing provides a window into the complex interplay between our immune system and the foods we consume, particularly in the context of gluten sensitivity and cross-reactivity. By identifying specific antibodies, this testing method not only clarifies the immune response to certain foods, but also unravels the often misunderstood phenomenon of cross-reactivity. It underscores the importance of recognizing that even with strict dietary adherence, unseen cross-reactors can trigger symptoms that mirror direct gluten exposure. Armed with knowledge of specific antibodies and potential cross-reactive foods, individuals and healthcare providers can develop more precise and effective dietary strategies.

This approach not only helps manage gluten sensitivities more effectively, but also improves overall well-being by minimizing unnecessary immune responses. As we continue to advance our understanding of food sensitivities and cross-reactivity, ELISA IgG/IgA testing remains a cornerstone in the pursuit of personalized nutrition and health optimization.


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