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Low White Blood Cells, Platelets & Ferritin?


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#1 vbecton

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 04:08 PM

I need some help on my latest blood work. My GI is sure I have celiac disease, but all blood tests repeatedly say "nay." My endoscopy was negative despite obvious, visual scalloping. The only thing that says maybe is my high genetic marker for celiac disease. I'm no longer concerned with getting a diagnosis because I've responded so well with the diet. But, I have this suspicion that something else is going on!

Since going gluten-free 2 months ago, I am so tired that I want to sleep...like forever! My vitamin levels are all back to normal, but here's what is off:

WBC (white blood count) 4.02 (normal is 4.50-11.00)
Platelets 145 (normal is 150-400)
Ferritin 31 (normal is 38-384), for reference, Iron 88 (40-160), Iron Binding Cap. 269 (260-460)
Protein (blood protein) 8.3 (normal is 6.3-8.2)

From what I looked up, nothing looks attractive :P So, I'm hoping you guys will come back and say this is all Celiac related and it's part of the process. I'm highly frustrated because I'm usually like hyperactivity on steroids. I feel like I fixed one thing and broke another, or this is all highly coincidental and happened simultaneously. I'll meet with my GI on the 16th, but I'm far to impatient to hold out that long for where to go next. Help? Suggestions?
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Diagnosed with Celiac Disease, July 2010, after 20 years of chronic low blood sugar and GI issues. I blame undiagnosed Celiac Disease for not becoming a professional marathon runner and being such a pathetic athlete in college. I was robbed :)

Gluten Free 04/2010
Dairy Free 06/2010
Soy Free 05/2010
Legume Free 05/2010
Caffeine Free 05/2007

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#2 RoseTapper

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 05:41 PM

All I can say is that, with the low ferritin level, you're definitely going to feel tired. When I was diagnosed with celiac, it took a long time for my ferritin level to increase--I finally needed intravenous iron infusions over a two-year period.

With regard to testing, at a recent celiac conference, one expert stated that in 7 out of 10 celiacs, the blood tests come out negative unless there has been total villous atrophy. Also, another expert feels that biopsies are fairly useless because the surgeon oftentimes biopsies the wrong areas, the scope may not be able to reach the area that has been affected by celiac, and pathologists are notorious for not being trained well enough to recognize a positive biopsy for celiac. If the diet agrees with you, I'll bet your numbers will come up eventually. However, if the ferritin level remains low, you might ask your doctor to prescribe intravenous iron.
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#3 trents

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 08:12 PM

I take it the "Iron 88" refers to your Hematocrit level. Do you have any numbers for Hemoglobin? Ferritin is an iron storage protein. It can be low on a short term basis and not give you symptoms as long as your hemoglobin and hematocrit are adequate. Is there more to your blood work that you haven't posted like RDW (red cell distribution width) and MCV (mean corpuscular volume)? Its not only the amount of iron in your blood cells but the shape and size of the cells themselves is also important. Have yhou been on prednisone or some other immuno suppressant medications recently? That will knock down your white blood cells. Infection can also cause low whites. That and your fatigue symptoms I would wonder if you have an occult infection of some kind. None of your values are out of spec far enough to cause most docs to get excited. A few are marginally out of spec but nothing dramatic. You may have to press your docs to get them to pursue this.
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#4 Looking for answers

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 09:59 PM

Bare with my typos, I'm on an iPad and it's hard to type :). I don't have advice for you but I wanted to let you know ive had just about the same readings on my WBC and platelets for two years. My doctor is not concerned with it. And I can tell you I'm still alive and healthy :) there's so many things that can drive down our immune systems...vitamin and mineral deficiencies, stress, other food allergies, etc. I'm going through other food allergy testing now and I will let you know what comes of it if it would be helpful. I have a sneaky suspicion hay it may play a role in my case.
  • 0
2010- Gluten, Soy, Corn, Dairy, Eggs, Nut free. Sugar, non-gluten grains lite(Yes, still plenty to eat!)
2010-Doctor diagnosed me as Celiac then took diagnoses back, then said avoid gluten for life
2009 Low T3 thyroid hormone, muscle twitching and adrenal fatigue
2006- Elevated Speckled ANA. GI suggested Celiac. Started gluten-free diet, but sloppily
2005 - Thought I had wheat "allergy." Stopped eating bread, oats problem too
College years - Still vegan -sickest point in life. Every classic celiac symptom
Teenage years - Stomach pain prompted veganism -> BIG mistake!
Child - Awful gas, D, C. Chronic infections, appendix and tonsils removed

#5 vbecton

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 06:21 AM

I take it the "Iron 88" refers to your Hematocrit level. Do you have any numbers for Hemoglobin? Ferritin is an iron storage protein. It can be low on a short term basis and not give you symptoms as long as your hemoglobin and hematocrit are adequate. Is there more to your blood work that you haven't posted like RDW (red cell distribution width) and MCV (mean corpuscular volume)? Its not only the amount of iron in your blood cells but the shape and size of the cells themselves is also important. Have yhou been on prednisone or some other immuno suppressant medications recently? That will knock down your white blood cells. Infection can also cause low whites. That and your fatigue symptoms I would wonder if you have an occult infection of some kind. None of your values are out of spec far enough to cause most docs to get excited. A few are marginally out of spec but nothing dramatic. You may have to press your docs to get them to pursue this.


Hello trents,
All my other levels were in the normal values (RDW, MCV, Hemoglobin, Hemotocrit). I read that low ferritin can be a sign of beginning stages of hypothyroid? Any one else seen or read this? I haven't been on any immuno suppressants, and definitely haven't been ill. But, I do have this feeling that something is wrong. That's why I was concerned about the low numbers. And, especially since I'm so fatigued. I don't get fatigued EVER. In fact, I used to make fun of my husband for liking to taking naps. I used to say people who needed a nap, needed a better diet (ha...eating my words now!!!). I'm most concerned about the low WBD and platelets and elevated protein (under Hepatic Function). I think the low ferritin is a separate issue. Maybe? Thanks for your insight and help!
  • 0
Diagnosed with Celiac Disease, July 2010, after 20 years of chronic low blood sugar and GI issues. I blame undiagnosed Celiac Disease for not becoming a professional marathon runner and being such a pathetic athlete in college. I was robbed :)

Gluten Free 04/2010
Dairy Free 06/2010
Soy Free 05/2010
Legume Free 05/2010
Caffeine Free 05/2007

#6 Looking for answers

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:37 AM

FYI, all my other numbers are normal as well. I should mention that I have a history of my thyroid levels being perfect, except for my T3, which is the active form of the hormone. I've been monitoring that closely to see if I need medication. Be sure to get copies of your blood work. My doctor told me my thyroid was fine until I got a copy of my blood work and began probing him about the T3 counts. Most doctors are behind the times with these tests...turns out I may have a conversion problem due to a mineral/vitamin deficiency...the body need selenium and iodine to convert t4 thyroid hormone into the active t3.

I too have gone through periods of great fatigue. I can say iron and liquid vitamins have helped a great deal. Also, I recently took a antibiotics for one week due to a dental issue and have felt so much better since then. The what I call the "medicated" dragged out tired feeling is gone now. I wonder if I was fighting some sort of low-grade infection. I can tell you autoimmune disorders, food allergies, and low-grade infections, etc can drive down WBC and platlets. Have you had a full thyroid panel done? I'm really curious to see what others post here...I've been dealing with the same and was glad to see your post.
  • 0
2010- Gluten, Soy, Corn, Dairy, Eggs, Nut free. Sugar, non-gluten grains lite(Yes, still plenty to eat!)
2010-Doctor diagnosed me as Celiac then took diagnoses back, then said avoid gluten for life
2009 Low T3 thyroid hormone, muscle twitching and adrenal fatigue
2006- Elevated Speckled ANA. GI suggested Celiac. Started gluten-free diet, but sloppily
2005 - Thought I had wheat "allergy." Stopped eating bread, oats problem too
College years - Still vegan -sickest point in life. Every classic celiac symptom
Teenage years - Stomach pain prompted veganism -> BIG mistake!
Child - Awful gas, D, C. Chronic infections, appendix and tonsils removed

#7 vbecton

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 08:12 AM

All I can say is that, with the low ferritin level, you're definitely going to feel tired. When I was diagnosed with celiac, it took a long time for my ferritin level to increase--I finally needed intravenous iron infusions over a two-year period.



Thanks for this suggestion. I'll speak to my GI about this. I feel like I definitely need some shots of FEEL GOOD! :D
  • 0
Diagnosed with Celiac Disease, July 2010, after 20 years of chronic low blood sugar and GI issues. I blame undiagnosed Celiac Disease for not becoming a professional marathon runner and being such a pathetic athlete in college. I was robbed :)

Gluten Free 04/2010
Dairy Free 06/2010
Soy Free 05/2010
Legume Free 05/2010
Caffeine Free 05/2007

#8 vbecton

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 08:18 AM

FYI, all my other numbers are normal as well. I should mention that I have a history of my thyroid levels being perfect, except for my T3, which is the active form of the hormone. I've been monitoring that closely to see if I need medication. Be sure to get copies of your blood work. My doctor told me my thyroid was fine until I got a copy of my blood work and began probing him about the T3 counts. Most doctors are behind the times with these tests...turns out I may have a conversion problem due to a mineral/vitamin deficiency...the body need selenium and iodine to convert t4 thyroid hormone into the active t3.

I too have gone through periods of great fatigue. I can say iron and liquid vitamins have helped a great deal. Also, I recently took a antibiotics for one week due to a dental issue and have felt so much better since then. The what I call the "medicated" dragged out tired feeling is gone now. I wonder if I was fighting some sort of low-grade infection. I can tell you autoimmune disorders, food allergies, and low-grade infections, etc can drive down WBC and platlets. Have you had a full thyroid panel done? I'm really curious to see what others post here...I've been dealing with the same and was glad to see your post.



Very interesting that we've had the same readings. My doctor sent my blood & endoscopy results to me via mail and commented on every aspect of the findings EXCEPT what I mentioned here. He did remark that there were no signs of anemia. Well, if I'm not anemic, I'm certainly a walking zombie. I think my doctor was hot on the trail to find Celiac that he didn't look beyond that. Which, is also okay, because no other doctor has even tried to find Celiac.

Interesting about taking the antibiotics and feeling better. I'm also anxious to see what other people post!
  • 0
Diagnosed with Celiac Disease, July 2010, after 20 years of chronic low blood sugar and GI issues. I blame undiagnosed Celiac Disease for not becoming a professional marathon runner and being such a pathetic athlete in college. I was robbed :)

Gluten Free 04/2010
Dairy Free 06/2010
Soy Free 05/2010
Legume Free 05/2010
Caffeine Free 05/2007

#9 knittingmonkey

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:37 AM

I need some help on my latest blood work. My GI is sure I have celiac disease, but all blood tests repeatedly say "nay." My endoscopy was negative despite obvious, visual scalloping. The only thing that says maybe is my high genetic marker for celiac disease. I'm no longer concerned with getting a diagnosis because I've responded so well with the diet. But, I have this suspicion that something else is going on!


ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura) is an autoimmune disease that runs along the same DNA markers as celiac. It results in low platelet counts.
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#10 Looking for answers

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:53 AM

ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura) is an autoimmune disease that runs along the same DNA markers as celiac. It results in low platelet counts.


I always have this in the back of my mind since my readings are similar. However, they won't consider looking at this until they get dangerously low (40,000 and under if I remember correctly). My fluctuate between 121-160. I do think a gluten-free diet will help resolve this over time.
  • 0
2010- Gluten, Soy, Corn, Dairy, Eggs, Nut free. Sugar, non-gluten grains lite(Yes, still plenty to eat!)
2010-Doctor diagnosed me as Celiac then took diagnoses back, then said avoid gluten for life
2009 Low T3 thyroid hormone, muscle twitching and adrenal fatigue
2006- Elevated Speckled ANA. GI suggested Celiac. Started gluten-free diet, but sloppily
2005 - Thought I had wheat "allergy." Stopped eating bread, oats problem too
College years - Still vegan -sickest point in life. Every classic celiac symptom
Teenage years - Stomach pain prompted veganism -> BIG mistake!
Child - Awful gas, D, C. Chronic infections, appendix and tonsils removed

#11 jebby

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:04 PM

I was diagnosed a few months ago and had similar lab values to you (in terms of WBC, platelets, and ferritin), after being gluten-free for a few months. I am pretty sure that it is celiac-related...I think that in some cases the autoimmune process involves the part of the bone marrow which produces white blood cells and platelets. One month later my CBC counts had normalized, but I suspect that in some of us, when we are exposed to gluten, our counts may drop again.
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#12 Looking for answers

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 08:32 PM

I was diagnosed a few months ago and had similar lab values to you (in terms of WBC, platelets, and ferritin), after being gluten-free for a few months. I am pretty sure that it is celiac-related...I think that in some cases the autoimmune process involves the part of the bone marrow which produces white blood cells and platelets. One month later my CBC counts had normalized, but I suspect that in some of us, when we are exposed to gluten, our counts may drop again.


I agree. vbecton, I did want to assure you that I found some research online today that said low platelets and WBC is indeed related to Celiac. Mine has gone from low normal to out of range (platelets) over the past few years, while the WBC have always been in range, except once, but most often they come back at the very lowest point before going out of range. I do think it's autoimmune related/vitamin and mineral issue. When I went on metagenics vitamins everything began to normalize...but I can't handle those vitamins....ways too strong for my sensitive stomach! I've been looking for better supplements since and can't seem to find anything that fits just yet.
  • 0
2010- Gluten, Soy, Corn, Dairy, Eggs, Nut free. Sugar, non-gluten grains lite(Yes, still plenty to eat!)
2010-Doctor diagnosed me as Celiac then took diagnoses back, then said avoid gluten for life
2009 Low T3 thyroid hormone, muscle twitching and adrenal fatigue
2006- Elevated Speckled ANA. GI suggested Celiac. Started gluten-free diet, but sloppily
2005 - Thought I had wheat "allergy." Stopped eating bread, oats problem too
College years - Still vegan -sickest point in life. Every classic celiac symptom
Teenage years - Stomach pain prompted veganism -> BIG mistake!
Child - Awful gas, D, C. Chronic infections, appendix and tonsils removed

#13 Gemini

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:00 PM

I need some help on my latest blood work. My GI is sure I have celiac disease, but all blood tests repeatedly say "nay." My endoscopy was negative despite obvious, visual scalloping. The only thing that says maybe is my high genetic marker for celiac disease. I'm no longer concerned with getting a diagnosis because I've responded so well with the diet. But, I have this suspicion that something else is going on!

Since going gluten-free 2 months ago, I am so tired that I want to sleep...like forever! My vitamin levels are all back to normal, but here's what is off:

WBC (white blood count) 4.02 (normal is 4.50-11.00)
Platelets 145 (normal is 150-400)
Ferritin 31 (normal is 38-384), for reference, Iron 88 (40-160), Iron Binding Cap. 269 (260-460)
Protein (blood protein) 8.3 (normal is 6.3-8.2)

From what I looked up, nothing looks attractive :P So, I'm hoping you guys will come back and say this is all Celiac related and it's part of the process. I'm highly frustrated because I'm usually like hyperactivity on steroids. I feel like I fixed one thing and broke another, or this is all highly coincidental and happened simultaneously. I'll meet with my GI on the 16th, but I'm far to impatient to hold out that long for where to go next. Help? Suggestions?


Scalloping seen on an endoscopy IS evidence of Celiac Disease. This is why using the biopsy as a "Gold Standard" of diagnosis is just plain wrong. The medical profession misses so much and patients continue to wonder and suffer symptoms.

Getting on with your other questions.....I am pretty well versed in all this as I have multiple immune disorders and diseases and have learned quite a bit in the past 5 years. Your white cell count is perfectly normal for someone with an autoimmune disease. That would be another clue that you do indeed have Celiac Disease or another autoimmune disease going on. It's only a problem if you are becoming sick all the time. My normal white cell count is always 2.9 and has been for over 20 years. I rarely even catch colds now that I am gluten-free so I don't give it a second thought.

Your platelet count is not all that much lower, just outside the normal range but you may want to keep a check on that level for a year or so. Not trying to scare you or anything because you may just need time to heal if you are staying gluten-free but ITP is an autoimmune disorder that affects the platelets and is seen more commonly in people with celiac disease. It can be life threatening so anytime you present with any autoimmune disorder and your platelet count comes up slightly lower than normal, just keep a watch on that. The guy I work with is being treated for ITP as we speak and he won't even consider that he may have celiac disease. He has some symptoms and I have tried in vain to talk to him about the connection but he won't hear it. His life is hell right now because of the treatments so tell me again why wheat is so damn important to eat? :huh: Are Cheerios's really that important? :blink:

Blood protein levels may become elevated in the presence of (you guessed it) autoimmune disorders also. Mine was elevated slightly, like yours, for awhile and I am sure you have read what that could mean. Just remember that the first thing doctors are trained to look for is cancer. It trumps all other diseases but does not mean you have cancer. I consulted a hematologist and she explained to me that it is common with AI disorders so not to worry about it. So.....I didn't. ;) Five years post gluten, my levels are all in the normal range, except for the white cell count. I have 4 autoimmune diseases total so have no reason to believe that will correct itself. Doesn't really matter, though, as I am fine.

Ferritin levels are usually always low in a newly diagnosed celiac. I did nothing for mine except eat really good food and take supplements. Over time, it should rise to normal levels. I was tired but who isn't nowadays, if you work for a living?
I was not too interested in going to any more doctors because they made so many mistakes over the years so stayed away and did my own thing with regards to healing. It worked really well but be prepared to be tired for awhile. You will not recover overnight...it's a longer process. Just soldier on with the thought that you will get better if you stay gluten-free. I am a different person now than I was 5 years ago...much stronger and healthier. It may not take 5 years for you to heal but it will take a year or two for you to really notice big changes.

One more thing....GI docs are not notoriously well versed in Celiac Disease and the other stuff that goes along with it. It took seeing a hematologist before I got any meaty information. With all you have told us, you are a Celiac and this other blood work adds proof to the diagnosis. Stay gluten-free and watch your blood work normalize, over time. Don't forget to relax! :D
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#14 Gemini

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:05 PM

I agree. vbecton, I did want to assure you that I found some research online today that said low platelets and WBC is indeed related to Celiac. Mine has gone from low normal to out of range (platelets) over the past few years, while the WBC have always been in range, except once, but most often they come back at the very lowest point before going out of range. I do think it's autoimmune related/vitamin and mineral issue. When I went on metagenics vitamins everything began to normalize...but I can't handle those vitamins....ways too strong for my sensitive stomach! I've been looking for better supplements since and can't seem to find anything that fits just yet.


Metagenics vitamins are some of the BEST vitamins on the market.I don't know if you'll find better. Your stomach may not be able to handle them at the moment but, with time, that will change. They really work well and are highly absorbed by the body. I use their calcium and vitamin D supplements, plus the fish oil caps. Maybe they have a childrens dose that may work better for you?
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#15 vbecton

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:59 PM

Scalloping seen on an endoscopy IS evidence of Celiac Disease. This is why using the biopsy as a "Gold Standard" of diagnosis is just plain wrong. The medical profession misses so much and patients continue to wonder and suffer symptoms.

Getting on with your other questions.....I am pretty well versed in all this as I have multiple immune disorders and diseases and have learned quite a bit in the past 5 years. Your white cell count is perfectly normal for someone with an autoimmune disease. That would be another clue that you do indeed have Celiac Disease or another autoimmune disease going on. It's only a problem if you are becoming sick all the time. My normal white cell count is always 2.9 and has been for over 20 years. I rarely even catch colds now that I am gluten-free so I don't give it a second thought.

Your platelet count is not all that much lower, just outside the normal range but you may want to keep a check on that level for a year or so. Not trying to scare you or anything because you may just need time to heal if you are staying gluten-free but ITP is an autoimmune disorder that affects the platelets and is seen more commonly in people with celiac disease. It can be life threatening so anytime you present with any autoimmune disorder and your platelet count comes up slightly lower than normal, just keep a watch on that. The guy I work with is being treated for ITP as we speak and he won't even consider that he may have celiac disease. He has some symptoms and I have tried in vain to talk to him about the connection but he won't hear it. His life is hell right now because of the treatments so tell me again why wheat is so damn important to eat? :huh: Are Cheerios's really that important? :blink:

Blood protein levels may become elevated in the presence of (you guessed it) autoimmune disorders also. Mine was elevated slightly, like yours, for awhile and I am sure you have read what that could mean. Just remember that the first thing doctors are trained to look for is cancer. It trumps all other diseases but does not mean you have cancer. I consulted a hematologist and she explained to me that it is common with AI disorders so not to worry about it. So.....I didn't. ;) Five years post gluten, my levels are all in the normal range, except for the white cell count. I have 4 autoimmune diseases total so have no reason to believe that will correct itself. Doesn't really matter, though, as I am fine.

Ferritin levels are usually always low in a newly diagnosed celiac. I did nothing for mine except eat really good food and take supplements. Over time, it should rise to normal levels. I was tired but who isn't nowadays, if you work for a living?
I was not too interested in going to any more doctors because they made so many mistakes over the years so stayed away and did my own thing with regards to healing. It worked really well but be prepared to be tired for awhile. You will not recover overnight...it's a longer process. Just soldier on with the thought that you will get better if you stay gluten-free. I am a different person now than I was 5 years ago...much stronger and healthier. It may not take 5 years for you to heal but it will take a year or two for you to really notice big changes.

One more thing....GI docs are not notoriously well versed in Celiac Disease and the other stuff that goes along with it. It took seeing a hematologist before I got any meaty information. With all you have told us, you are a Celiac and this other blood work adds proof to the diagnosis. Stay gluten-free and watch your blood work normalize, over time. Don't forget to relax! :D



Thanks Gemini! I needed that pep talk. I'm sure everyone gets discouraged, or overwhelmed in the beginning. I am a quick fix person. I believe duct tape can fix almost anything :P unfortunately, it can't fix Celiac! The day of my endoscopy, my GI handed me photos of my small intestines saying he thought there was plenty of evidence to prove Celiac. However, pathology saw differently. I'm very relieved to hear my numbers fall in-line with Celiac. Everything so far can be explained by Celiac. My GI asked if I would do a gluten challenge so he could do a pill camera since the endoscopy wasn't enough info and I said no. A gluten challenge would steamroll me and I'd rather keep recovering on a slow steady pace, rather than a HUGE setback.

Do you have your numbers (blood work) checked every few months? And I think I might try those vitamins you just mentioned. My CalMag is killing my stomach!!! Do you continue taking your supplements once your numbers are in normal ranges? Or is this a lifelong affair?

And by the way, tell your friend Cheerios are diarrhea donuts ;) That's what my son calls them anyway. ha! I feel your frustration though. My mom came with me to my GI appointment and he urged her to get tested because she's a classic Celiac. She refuses saying that she doesn't have it because she doesn't have D. Even though my GI was very clear that D wasn't necessary. But, until I've got this gluten-free thing down, I won't pester her too much. Her time is a' coming!
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Diagnosed with Celiac Disease, July 2010, after 20 years of chronic low blood sugar and GI issues. I blame undiagnosed Celiac Disease for not becoming a professional marathon runner and being such a pathetic athlete in college. I was robbed :)

Gluten Free 04/2010
Dairy Free 06/2010
Soy Free 05/2010
Legume Free 05/2010
Caffeine Free 05/2007


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