How Long Does It Take For Gluten To Come Out Of Your System?

This is a question I get asked a lot. The short answer is 2-4 months. What?!!!! Yep. Here’s Dr O from the Gluten Free Society explaining it for us…and then me suggesting a strategy to help shorten that!

While you may feel better after a couple days following gluten exposure, there is a lot more happening behind the scenes that you may not be aware of.

Ingesting gluten can trigger IgA and IgG antibodies which will then cause leaky gut or intestinal hyperpermeability.  The breach of the gut barrier allows toxins to flood into your bloodstream causing systemic tissue damage and inflammation.

A number of factors will determine how your body recovers from the “unseen” damage caused by gluten exposure. Research has suggested that the half life of IgA gluten antibodies is about two months and the half life of IgG antibodies is 30-60 days.  Translation: it can take 4 months to clear out the antibodies. 

This means that antibody induced damage can go on for a minimum of two months. However, damage may last far longer, depending on other factors, like the overall state of your gut health, other pre-existing health conditions, your nutritional status, and how many gluten exposures you subject yourself to. 

In addition to the challenges associated with antibodies that present from ingestion of gluten, research has also shown that the mucosal lining of the intestine does not recover well, even when a gluten free diet is implemented. Specifically, the study notes that mucosal recovery was absent in a substantial portion of adults with celiac disease after treatment with a gluten free diet.

Dr Osborne

Note that last – really important – sentence!

In other words, some people will not heal enough on a standard gluten free diet.

This is likely because either you are continuing to eat some hidden gluten (think: toiletries eg. wheatgerm in moisturiser, hidden ingestion from eating out – have they used the oil before to cook something gluteny?, toothpaste etc). Or, it could be because you are cross-reactive to other foods where your body thinks you’re eating gluten because it looks structurally similar (other grains, dairy mostly)?

Read more about this in the TrulyGlutenFree section of the website here and in my Gluten Plan.

So, if you have accidentally ingested gluten, it’s going to take 2-4 months for the resulting inflammation to calm down. What happens if you accidentally – or deliberately, as some do – ingest gluten regularly? Yep: constant inflammation and leaky gut. Ergo: you will not heal.

One strategy can be to take a gluten digesting enzymes so there is less around to trigger trouble. Note: this is NOT a substitute for a Gluten Free diet, but it can help if you’ve accidentally ingested some or you’re worried that you might when you’re eating out. Dr O suggests his Gluten Shield supplement, which I’m sure will help some. However, we find that hypersensitives react to enzymes fermented on corn sugar (even though there should be none left after the process) and to extracts, which are usually using grain alcohol (unless stated it is from sugar beet or cane). It also contains DPPIV a specific gluten-digesting enzyme. It’s available in the states.

In the UK, I prefer to recommend using products using Tolerase-G, a gluten-digesting enzyme which many experts think is superior to DPPIV now. It’s still an enzyme and fermented very probably on corn as all enzymes are, sadly, but it doesn’t have the alcohol extracts in, so probably suitable for most, unless you are hypersensitive to corn. It also contains a dairy-digesting specific enzyme, which is useful because we estimate that over 50% of gluten sensitives are cross-reactive to dairy (ie. the body reacts as if it is gluten).

We’ve been waiting for a Tolerase G product to come on the market here and now Spectrum have listed the Gluten Dairy Digest, so that’s really helpful. I’m trying to get ND and Amrita to stock it too to make it easier for us to order. You can read more about it here.

To order, please bookmark this link and enter via that link each time you visit the Spectrum site to trigger a small referral commission for me if this info has been helpful for you. You’ll need to be logged in to find this product, then use the search function for Gluten Dairy Digest.

You might also find this Bringing A Reaction Down factsheet useful if you’ve had some gluten accidentally.

OK, I hope that helps! Let me know.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: