There’s a lot of confusion out there about what ELISA testing is. Is it specific to gluten? Who can do it? How? How do I know if something has been ELISA tested?
The full answer is long and complicated, but there are a few important highlights:
- ELISA stands for Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay.
- ELISA tests can check for any antibody (or antigen, which is the thing that causes your body to produce antibodies). They can detect gluten in foods, or HIV in a person’s blood, for example.
- ELISA tests can only be performed in a laboratory, because they require extensive scientific know-how and specific, expensive equipment.
- ELISA tests are manufactured by many different laboratories around the world. The word simply refers to a technique, not a brand.
- There are several moving parts to an ELISA test. The Big Two are:
- You can change the antibody/antigen inside the test (for example, an R5 ELISA uses the R5 antibody to detect gluten. A G12 ELISA uses the G12 antibody, the same antibody found in GlutenTox, to detect gluten).
- You can change the method of linking the antibody to the antigen: sandwich ELISA, competitive ELISA, direct ELISA, etc.
Next up: more on the difference between ELISA tests and Lateral Flow Devices in gluten detection.