Gluten-Free Diet Tips:
Get Tested for Celiac Disease BEFORE Going Gluten Free

This page elaborates on one suggestion in my quick list of gluten-free diet tips.

Gluten-Free Diet Tips: First Get Tested for Celiac Disease!

An image suggesting that by following these gluten-free diet tips, you will go the right way, not the wrong way, with your health

I went gluten free in 2006. If only I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten tested for celiac disease before removing gluten from my diet. 

The thing is, if you are gluten free (and assuming you have not been exposed to hidden sources of gluten), you could test negative for celiac disease—even if you actually have it—after being on the gluten-free diet for as little as three to six months.

Celiac disease tests look for damage caused by eating gluten-containing foods. If you stop eating gluten, that damage can at least begin to heal, and testing can yield negative results.

Why Should I Get Tested for Celiac Disease Before Going Gluten Free?

You really do want to know if you have celiac disease. Here are three good reasons:

  • If you have celiac disease, it might motivate you to be fully compliant with the gluten-free diet. You don't want to mess with the possible complications of untreated celiac disease.

  • If you also have other health issues, such as osteoporosis, you might have uncovered the reason why. One of the complications of celiac disease is osteoporosis.

  • If you do test positive for celiac disease, your first-degree relatives (your parents, your siblings, and your children) should also get tested for celiac disease. You could help prevent untold suffering if it turns out that any of these relatives also have the disease.

According to Mark Hyman, MD, an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten—whether from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity—don’t even know it. (1)

Begin With Conventional Blood Tests to Rule Out Celiac Disease

Before you eliminate gluten from your diet, talk to your doctor and get tested for celiac disease using the conventional blood tests. If those results warrant the gold standard test for celiac disease (an endoscopy of the upper part of the small intestine), do that, too.

Most doctors no longer recommend a gluten challenge for those of us who have already eliminated gluten and have observed an improvement in symptoms. A gluten challenge involves resuming the consumption of gluten and then retesting for celiac disease. The health risks are simply too high.


1. Hyman M. Gluten: What You Don't Know Might Kill You. The Huffington Post. Nov 17, 2011. [Article] home page > Gluten-Free Diet TipsGet Tested for Celiac Disease BEFORE Going Gluten Free