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Ask the Doc: How long to get gluten out of system?

Q. How long does it take to get wheat or gluten out of your system?

A. No one knows for sure, but given the digestive rate, absorption of gluten and glutenin peptide fragments, and the turnover rate of the intestinal cells, about 3-7 days would be a rational guess. How much time it takes to recover from damage done by gluten, however, depends on a number of factors: the dose of HLA DQ2, DQ8 genes that you receive from your parents, the position of the genes of chromosome 6 (genes on the same side of the chromosome-“cis” position are more potent than on opposite sides of the chromosome-“trans” position), the reactivity of your innate system at the level of the intestinal cell, and on the adaptive immune system’s pre-programmed drive. That said, the more advanced your biopsy (Marsh III), the longer it will take to completely reverse the disease. Marsh III’s take about 2 years, while Marsh I’s may take 6 months to a year. All the more reason to have a biopsy at the time of initial diagnosis, and another one one year after being free from gluten.
Health and happiness,
Dr. Aron

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