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How Quickly Should Blood Tests Results Return To Normal After Starting Gluten-Free Diet?
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I was diagnosed wth Celiac last September, following a biopsy taken in connection with an endoscopy for an unrelated issue. When the biopsy results came back positive, My GI ordered blood work to confirm.

I'm not sure what the name of the test was but the lab report says "Celiac screen detects IgA and IgC antibodies to deamidated gliadin and tissue transglutaminase." The interpretation is normal at levels less than 20, weak positive 20-30 and positive for over 30.

My result in September was 211.

I have been on a gluten-free diet since then and am as careful as I can be. I have not knowingly eaten anything with gluten since then, and I am careful with label reading, food prep and restaurant choices. But because I have no "traditional" symptoms, it is hard to know if/when I have a cc issue. Some of my symptoms seem to have been helped by the diet, others not so much.

Following my dietician's advice (to repeat the blood test 6 months out) I asked my GI to order a new test two weeks ago, to see if my "levels" have returned to normal. The result of that test was 42. Much lower than 211, but still significantly positive.

I know that the damage that celiac causes to the small intestines can take time to heal. But I assume that the blood work should return to normal fairly quickly on a gluten-free diet, at least within 8 months between the tests.

I can think of three possibile causes for my positive result:

1. Despite not having traditional symptoms, I am highly sensitive, so that very small and infrequent cc issues are keeping my levels high.

2. My levels are in the process of going down and I'm doing fine with my diet, it just takes more than 8 months to go from 211 to below 20.

3. Something other than gluten else is causing the positive result. According to several sources I have read, a few other autoimmune issues can cause positive results.

So my main question is how long should it take for the blood test result to be normal after adopting a gluten-free diet? The answer to that question will help me decide whether to simply retest in six months, whether to consider other causes, or whether to tighten up what is already a pretty rigid gluten-free diet.

Thanks for your help.

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I would say there is no magic time frame that everyone falls under...depends on how high your levels were to begin with, how long you were sick, how your body heals, how strict you are about the diet, accidental glutenings, etc.

As six months I was much closer to the 'negative/normal' range but still slightly above it. As my levels were going in the right direction (DOWN!), and I had improvement in most of my symptoms the doctor who read my tests told me that I was on the right track and to continue what I was doing. He said to re-test at 1 year gluten-free to see how the numbers looked then. He said he would only worry if it had been 2 years (!) and I was still not in the 'negative/normal' range. He also said adults often take longer to 'heal' than children.

I'm not a medical professional but from the numbers you posted it looks like you're on the right track and have had a sizable decrease in your levels. Yay! If it is really worrying you, you take a moment to make sure you aren't getting 'hidden' gluten from something -- are all your meds (assuming you take some) gluten-free? What about lip balm, etc? Any chance of trace gluten getting you from CC issues in a shared kitchen? Do you eat out a lot? If none of that seems to apply it may simply take you a little more time. I wish that when I'd been given my diagnosis I'd been given a stern lecture on being patient because I've wanted everything to be better in a much shorter length of time that it is taking me to heal. This is obviously some sort of life lesson I needed to learn! :o

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I think it is different for each person.

My blood test went from positive to negative within two weeks of being gluten free.

My son's numbers barely moved after 6 months. At that time we "stepped it up" a bit, eliminating "questionable" things like gluten-free food that was "processed in a facility that handles wheat" and we stopped eating out - even if the place had a gluten-free menu (unless it was 100% gluten free). At his 1 year test, he is finally in the "normal" range. He is only 7 and does not have any physical symptoms so it was very hard to tell if we were doing it right. Turns out he just needed more time.

Cara

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Thanks for the responses. After I submitted my post I saw an earlier thread addressing a similar issue, and it does look like the consensus is that everyone is different.

I think I may keep my current routine for another few months and see where I am. If I'm still in the positive range I will look into places where I can tighten things up with my food strategies.

Thanks again for your responses.

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I think that from 211 to 42 is a massive drop!! Healing does not occur according to a doctor's preconceived time schedule. So long as you are keeping the gluten out the numbers will continue to go down, I am sure. Stay with the program!! :)

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    • Hi everyone, I've been reading this forum sporadically and have some questions of my own. I'm in my 40s and was diagnosed with celiac last December by biopsy and blood work after months of tests by my primary and then a gastro. My husband, around the same age as me, was dx'd with stage 4 cancer a month later, so admittedly it's took me longer than I'd have liked to learn about celiac. Now I feel pretty on top of my diet. I mostly make my own food - proteins and veggies, with some certified gluten-free snacks in the mix - and am pretty strict about what I will/won't eat at friend's houses or in restaurants (I prefer to go to dedicated gluten-free kitchens whenever possible). I'm doing okay on the diet, but still getting glutened every so often, usually when I let me guard down outside the home. I also periodically see my primary and a naturopath (who happens to have celiac!), but still, I have many questions if anyone would care to answer:

      -FATIGUE. I'm still so tired, fatigued so much of the time. My doctors blame this on the stress of my husband's diagnosis and my periodic trouble sleeping. But even during weeks where I'm sleeping enough (8-10 hrs a day), eating right, exercising as I can, trying to keep stress at bay, I'm still so bleeping tired. Maybe not when I wake up, but by late afternoon. Often my legs even feel weak/wooden. Has anyone else experienced greater fatigue early on after being diagnosed? This will pass, yes? I know I could cut out the sweets and that could help, but also, being a caregiver is hard and sometimes it's nice to eat your feelings between therapy sessions.  

      -SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY FATIGUE? Sometimes I'll have other "feels like I've been glutened" symptoms if I haven't gotten enough sleep, though I'm trying so hard to sleep at least 8 hours a night these days. Hasn't happened in a while thankfully, but there was a point this summer where my insomnia was bad and my arms were achy and I had some crazy flank/back pain I'd never experienced before. For weeks. Doctor ordered me to sleep sleep sleep, taking Benedryl if needed. I did, and the symptoms went away, but weird, yes? Has this happened to you? I ask because I want to make sure I'm getting all strange pains tested to the full extent if there's a chance it's something other than celiac. I do sometimes still feel that strange side stitch after a CC incident.

      -SKIN PROBLEMS. I have had a smidge of eczema since I was a teen and it - and the dermatitis herpetiformis I've acquired with my dx - are out of control right now. I recognize the connection with stress, but also, has anyone found any great natural remedies for DH to stop the itching? I've tried so many useless ointments and medicated creams, a number of them given to my by a dermo months ago. I see my naturopath this week, but thought I'd ask here too.

      -MOSTLY gluten-free KITCHEN GOOD ENOUGH? My husband is supportive of my diet and mostly eats gluten free meals with me, but we still keep a gluten-y toaster for him and the gluten-y dog food in a corner of the kitchen and he still makes the occasional meal with gluten for himself on his own cookware (ravioli, pizza, mac n cheese, etc). Or sometimes I make eggs/toast and the like for him when he's too sick to move. Otherwise, we're militant about how we cook, which cookware we use, etc. He even has a kitchen nook off our den where he makes sandwiches. But sometimes I wonder if having two separate sponges in our shared-ish main kitchen is enough and I should just banish all gluten whatsoever from the kitchen. I can't be the only one with a mixed kitchen, right? How do you do it if you have a mixed-eating family?

      Thank you so much!  
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