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Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is a glycoprotein that plays a critical role in mucosal immunity. More IgA is produced in mucosal linings than all other immunoglobulins (IgG,IgM,IgE), combined; between 3 and 5g are secreted into the intestinal lumen each day. IgA, in its secretory form, is the main immunoglobulin found in mucous secretions, including tears, saliva, colostrum, intestinal juice, vaginal fluid and secretions from the prostate and respiratory epithelium. It is also found in small amounts in blood. Because it is resistant to degradation by enzymes, secretory IgA can survive in harsh environments such as the digestive and respiratory tracts, thus providing a first line of defense against pathogens that multiply in body secretions.

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Purpose of the test

The immunoglobulins blood test measures the amount of immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, in your blood. These antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to combat germs such as viruses and bacteria. The test typically evaluates three primary types of immunoglobulins: IgM, IgG, and IgA. Each of these antibodies has a unique role in protecting the body from infections. The test helps in diagnosing various health conditions that might affect the immune system.

Who Should Get Tested

Individuals might require an immunoglobulins blood test if they frequently experience infections or symptoms suggesting their immunoglobulin levels might be low, indicating an immunodeficiency. Symptoms of low immunoglobulin levels include repeated sinus, throat, and ear infections, respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis, and severe infections from germs that don't typically affect healthy individuals. The test is also recommended for those with a family history of immunodeficiency or if there's a suspicion of autoimmune diseases or certain cancers affecting the blood, bone marrow, or immune system.

Blood Test Preparation Guidelines
Time of day
It is recommended to schedule your appointment for blood tests in the morning hours between 7:00-10:00.
It is recommended to fast for approximately 12 hours before blood sampling. The last meal of the previous day should ideally be consumed around 6:00 p.m. On the day before the test, avoid heavy and fatty meals as well as alcohol.
Stay hydrated
Drinking water prior to testing can help with sample collection.
Other factors
Tests should not be performed after a sleepless night or intense physical activity. It is recommended to avoid exercise and stress immediately before blood collection and to not smoke. A short rest is recommended.
Medications and supplements:
Blood samples should be collected before the morning dose. Some drugs can interfere with test results. Consult with your doctor whether you can delay your dose because of lab tests.
Biotin supplements:
High doses of biotin supplements can affect test results, causing false elevation or reduction. It's recommended to avoid taking biotin for at least 72 hours before blood collection. If you are taking biotin, inform the personnel collecting the blood so that they can provide specific instructions.
Interpreting Test Results

The results will compare the levels of IgM, IgG, and IgA in the blood. Abnormal levels can indicate various health conditions. Low levels might be due to conditions that reduce protein in the body, complications from diseases like diabetes, or genetic disorders. High levels might be indicative of autoimmune diseases, chronic infections, or certain cancers. It's essential to note that an immunoglobulins blood test alone cannot diagnose conditions. If results are abnormal, further testing might be required to determine the cause. It's crucial to discuss the results with a healthcare provider for a comprehensive understanding.

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