Autoimmune Tests

Unsure if you need an Autoimmune Test?

Check the Autoimmunity Factsheet here for more info generally, but if you have a condition that isn’t responding to normal interventions, that waxes and wains, have one or more existing autoimmune conditions or family history of them, then it can be very wise to check.

Autoimmune disorders come on very gradually; it’s not an overnight thing at all. The real point about autoimmune testing is prevention: to catch any signs early enough to reverse any damage or at least prevent it getting any worse or you developing other types. Autoimmunity normally comes in multiples, I’m afraid, so if you have eg. autoimmune thyroid issues or coeliac disease, sadly you are at risk for more.

Testing Summary

First, ask your GP to do a quick autoimmune marker test such as ANA or ANCA. Even better, do the Cyrex 5 Multiple Autoimmune Reactivity Screen for a comprehensive check, or any of the specific tissue/organ tests discussed below. Then, if positive, start investigating triggers.

Initial Autoimmune Screening

If someone suspects autoimmunity might be a factor in a condition, they will usually look at the main systemic autoimmunity markers. Those are usually ANA (anti-nuclear antibodies) and ANCA (Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic antibodies – easy for you to say!) and RF (rheumatoid factor). Your GP can do that for you.

The idea is to find evidence that autoimmunity might be going on and then do deeper screening to identify exactly what. These also act as a good general progress marker for treatment – levels should be reducing over time if your programme is working.

More than one autoimmune antibody is looked for generally because they can appear in perfectly healthy people – especially as we age or have inflammation. The trick is to see the trend.

ANA is used mainly to help diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but can also be positive in cases of scleroderma, Sjögren’s syndrome, Raynaud’s disease, juvenile chronic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, autoimmune hepatitis, polymyositis and many other autoimmune and non-autoimmune diseases.

ANCA is used when a person is suspected of having systemic autoimmune vasculitis. Early in the disease, symptoms may be vague or nonspecific, such as fever, fatigue, weight loss, muscle and/or joint aches, and night sweats. Later on, it starts to affect small blood vessels eg. in the eyes, skin.

RF may be present in people with rheumatoid arthritis but also in patients with Sjogren’s
syndrome and lupus.

If you find any of those positive and/or want a more comprehensive screen of key organs and systems, use Cyrex 5, the multiple autoimmune reactivity screen..

Multiple Autoimmunity Reactivity Screen

The Cyrex 5 test covers an awful lot of ground from parietal cells (why are you not producing stomach acid even with supplements…?), adrenals (why will they not pick up even though you’re doing all the right things?), ditto thyroid, gut autoimmunity (could this be why you can’t get your foods back in..?) to muscles, joints and connective tissues (could you have the start of an inflammatory disorder, MS or arthritis?).

Do you see how useful this is? You can see what’s covered and the conditions associated with each marker here.

Specific Autoimmune Tests

If you are being more specific, use Cyrex 6 for diabetes, Cyrex 7 or 7X for the neurological autoimmunity screen, Cyrex 8 for joint autoimmunity and Cyrex 20 for blood-brain. All of those separate tests are included in the Cyrex 5, which is what makes it so good! You can see all the Cyrex tests info here.

Autoimmune Triggers

OK, so you’ve found some positives. That’s good and bad. Good because forewarned is forearmed and all that – you can likely prevent it progressing or may even reverse it somewhat. Bad because I’d rather it wasn’t happening, clearly.

Next, you need to think about what is triggering the autoimmunity. We used to think it was just genetic or simple bad luck, but that is no longer the case. Often, it is triggered by a food – most often gluten/grains/dairy – a pathogen/infection of some kind, or a chemical/environmental exposure or sensitivity.

Check the various sections on those out.

Gluten Tests

Allergy and Intolerance Tests

Gut Tests

Infections Tests – use Cyrex 12 (Pathogen Screen)

Toxin & Chemical Tests

And don’t forget Vitamin & Mineral Tests either – is your body nourished enough to keep your T-reg cells under control? Vitamin D, for a start, is crucial to that.

Yep. I know what you’re thinking: blimey that’s a lot to consider!

I’m afraid it is a bit like going through a checklist with autoimmune disease because everyone’s trigger pattern is different. If it helps, so far, I have found gluten and cross-reactive gluten foods the number 1. It might not be the only factor but just by removing those triggers and making sure your Vitamin D levels are high enough can help the body regulate itself better.

Testing Summary

First, ask your GP to do a quick autoimmune marker test such as ANA or ANCA. Even better, do the Cyrex 5 Multiple Autoimmune Reactivity Screen for a comprehensive check, or any of the specific tissue/organ tests discussed below. Then, if positive, start investigating triggers.

Testing Tips…

Q: Do the Cyrex samples need centrifuging?

A: Yes.

Q: If I have one Cyrex test done, can I have another one done on the same blood sample?

A: Yes, you can. You can add on multiple tests within the first 21 days. They then freeze your blood sample for 90 days, so between 21 and 90 days you can add on other tests once only and they will be done once the sample has thawed. This is most commonly done, for example, if you have done Cyrex 3, found a problem and then want to test the cross-reactive foods with Cyrex 4 and/or the predictive autoimmune antibodies Cyrex 5. We just ask them to use the same sample. I wish all the labs would do this!

Q: Can children do Cyrex tests?

A: Yes, it is fine for under 16s. For small children, the lab says: “No restriction on age. If they are old enough to be eating gluten, they can be tested. The difficulty is generally taking the blood.”

Q: I have got saliva and blood vials in my test kit. Is that right?

A: Yes, there is one test kit for all the tests so just use the one you need and discard the other, or keep it for later in case you need a blood test further on. The UK doesn’t do the Cyrex saliva test.

Q: Will I need follow-up tests?

A: The best way of finding out your progress is to repeat your test so you know you are on the right diet, protocol and path to heal.

Q: Are there any medications, foods, conditions, or other factors that could interfere with the results of a Cyrex test?

A: Yes. While Cyrex is unable to provide an exhaustive answer to this question due to the interactive complexities and varieties of medications and patient circumstances, the following has been noted:

Immunosuppressant and corticosteroid drugs can reduce antibody production and cause false negative results. Inhalers specifically can affect the results of Cyrex’s oral fluid testing (Array 1). Wait two weeks after completion of inhalant dosages before collecting the specimen. If you are on steroid treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have the Cyrex tests, but you need to bear in mind that any scores might be lower than they would be without the steroids so that could mean they look OK or low level when they are not. If in doubt, talk with your health professional and/or Cyrex for advice.

Limited assessments on the effects of aspirin, acetaminophen, and antipsychotics on Arrays 2-4 have been performed. No noticeable effects were observed.

Unknown cross-reactive epitopes from foods and microorganisms may stimulate the antibody production in the absence of a true antigen. Cyrex has already developed Array 4 in order to recognize the most common antigens in this regard.

A gluten-free diet can cause false negative results on gluten protein/peptide tests.

Certain conditions, such as ileal pouch surgery, may cause a false positive celiac serology.

 Q: How soon after finishing steroids can a patient do Cyrex testing?

A: 60 days. It takes this period of time for the medication to clear the system and allow the normalized production of antibodies, required for immune testing, to resume.

Q: Do I have to fast before my Cyrex test?

A: Detailed specimen collection instructions regarding fasting are included in each Specimen Collection Kit, which must be read before collecting any specimens. Blood testing has no fasting requirements or collection restrictions. However, eating a high fat meal prior to your blood draw can cause your serum specimen to be lipemic. Lipemic specimens are rejected by Cyrex Labs.