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KathrynL

How Long To Eat Gluten For Accurate Blood Test

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I've just started a gluten challenge in order for my doc to run an accurate IgA and TTG blood test. I had been been gluten free for 10 months prior. My GI doc said I only had to eat gluten for 1.5-2 weeks. However, everywhere else I've read it can take 4-6 weeks. Which is true?

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It seems to be different for everybody. I was only gluten free for 10 days, but it was enough to change my blood test from positive to negative. My doctor (at BIDMC Celiac Unit here in Boston) told me to eat gluten (equiv. of 4 slices whole wheat bread daily) for 3 months.

I tried to do some research to see if it really takes that long and couldn't really get an answer, as it is different for each individual. My MD did agree (at my urging) to do the blood test after 6 weeks (1/2 way) to see if I need to go the entire 3 months.

From what I read, 3-6 months seems pretty standard after an extended time gluten-free, which I don't really think I was.

Good luck -

Cara

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I've just started a gluten challenge in order for my doc to run an accurate IgA and TTG blood test. I've been gluten free for 10 months prior. My GI doc said I only had to eat gluten for 1.5-2 weeks. However, everywhere else I've read it can take 4-6 weeks. Which is true?

Hi Kathryn, I posted a reply to your question last night, but I must have just hit the preview button, instead of the post button. I do know that Mayo Clinic, Dr Joseph A Murray, head of Celiac Research at Mayo suggests 4 weeks gluten challenge consuming the equivalent of 4 slices of wheat bread per day. If at four weeks, the test is still negative, he will retest up to 6 months, but not longer. Here is a link to a rather technical video that was made for other doctors, but it has some very helpful info right from the doctor's mouth for you. The gluten challenge is more toward the end of the video, and he specifically tells you how long and how much. Hope this helps. http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/mediax/articles/hottopics/2010-06a2-insight/index.html Good luck with your challenge, I think its good that you're doing it.

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Hi Kathryn, I posted a reply to your question last night, but I must have just hit the preview button, instead of the post button.

I also replied last night and now my reply is gone. There must have been a glitch. :huh:

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Really good video. Thanks!

You're very welcome... glad I could help. ;)

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Thanks so much for the help! I'm on day 2 of my gluten challenge and I'm feeling pretty miserable. Digestive upset was my chief complaint before I quit gluten. This time, I'm feeling a little less digestive upset, but I feel like I have the flu. My limbs feel heavy and my brain is foggy. My nose is running, and I feel like I have chest congestion. My joints are also significantly more painful. I'm also super bloated and gassy. Such a joy to be around right now.

I've decided to only do the gluten challenge for 12 days. I realize that it's probably not enough time, but that's all I can do. I'm not sure if I'll even make it that far given how awful I feel right now.

Does anyone know how long it takes for the blood test results to come back? My GI ordered a Ttg and EMA IgA (I think that's right). The lab is at my local hospital where his office is. I want the blood test results to come in before my Thursday appointment, so I was thinking of going in Monday afternoon. Is this enough time?

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Can you get a genetic test done instead? Just wondering if that would be a better option then eating gluten again. I am thinking about getting it done. Trying to find out if insurance would cover it. I heard it's just a cheek swab.

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I've decided to only do the gluten challenge for 12 days. I realize that it's probably not enough time, but that's all I can do. I'm not sure if I'll even make it that far given how awful I feel right now.

Honestly, I'd ask this question: What are you going to do after the test? Are you going to go gluten free or continue eating gluten? Because at the moment, it sounds like you're getting a pretty positive 'gluten is bad for me' reaction.

And if so...why put yourself through this? Is it going to change your lifestyle at all? Your diet? Because if not, you're damaging yourself purely so the doctor can check off a box on your chart. Is that really worth it?

Also...there are other ways. Do a genetic test. Make your doctor go check out the studies they have done with saliva tests on celiacs, where a little gluten is introduced into the mouth mucosa and there is an auto-immune response within a few minutes. I can't recall what is tested for, but see if he can do that, instead! He'll have to hunt it down, but better that than you get asked to hurt yourself to essentially be told: huh, guess you had a clue and were eating in a way that was healthy for your body.

sorry, I know it's kind of harsh, but...it just makes me SO upset that doctors think harming us is in any way a GOOD thing. If it hurts us, and there is no change that is going to happen afterward, it's a bad policy on their part. >:-(

I have a friend whose doctor had them do this with their child, and it literally almost killed her. Her immune system bottomed out so severely they had to keep her away from everyone for weeks, because the doctors were worried that if she caught anything at all, she might not survive.

And they could have simply let her stay on the gluten-free diet and been healthy. :angry:

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Do a genetic test.

I have a friend whose doctor had them do this with their child, and it literally almost killed her. Her immune system bottomed out so severely they had to keep her away from everyone for weeks, because the doctors were worried that if she caught anything at all, she might not survive.

This is actually kind of a good option, if you had positive IgG I think you said? The genetic test would do one of two things, it would confirm that you have the "typical" genetic markers that are related to celiac, pretty much giving you a positive diagnosis along with the positive serology and how you're reacting to the challenge, or it would tell you you're out of the pool for celiac, but since you are reacting to the gluten challenge, you have a gluten sensitivity, so you need to stay away from it. Maybe you could talk to your doctor about that.

T.H., that is just horrible beyond words, what that little child had to endure. :( I hope she is doing okay now!

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Everyone is completely right. Thank you TH especially. That story about your friend's child is heartbreaking. You'd think in this modern day and age, they'd have a better way to test than the gluten challenge. It seems so barbaric and unnecessarily cruel.

I'm definitely going to request the genetic test. I think it's completely ridiculous to do this gluten challenge. Yes, Ms Curious, it was a positive IgG and then a dramatically positive response to a gluten-free diet.

My first positive IgG test was ordered by a naturopathic doctor. Along w. the typical diarrhea and abdominal pain, I had a lot of the extra-intestinal Celiac/gluten intolerance symptoms like RA, lots of upper respiratory infections, fatigue and peripheral neuropathy. I wonder if my GI's refusal to accept that first test is due in part to the fact that a medical doctor didn't order it. Perhaps a bias of the medical community toward alternative health practitioners.

I know it sounds crazy, but I partly started this gluten challenge because my GI doc made me doubt the validity of my first result. Although my digestive symptoms stopped after 48 hrs. of being gluten-free, my GI made me question myself. I started to think that maybe I was just having a placebo effect. I started the gluten challenge to both prove to both my doctor and myself that I'm at the very least gluten intolerant.

This is my 3rd day on the gluten challenge. I'm not getting the extreme digestive upset that caused me to run to the bathroom which happened right before I gave up gluten. However, I do have flu-like symptoms, bloating, gas, and my arthritic joints are very inflammed. I dont' know what else to attribute those reactions to other than gluten.

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The genetic test would do one of two things, it would confirm that you have the "typical" genetic markers that are related to celiac, pretty much giving you a positive diagnosis along with the positive serology and how you're reacting to the challenge, or it would tell you you're out of the pool for celiac

You really can not rule out celiac if the genes tested for are not one of the two most commonly associated celiac genes. You can still have celiac without either of them.

With a positive blood test, relief from the diet and a reoccurance of symptoms when you start eating gluten again that is more diagnostic than the gene panel. It may take a few days before the challenge brings on the most severe of the GI symptoms but other problems may reappear sooner.

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