Tests for celiac disease

Q: What are the current standard tests to diagnose celiac disease? Answer Celiac disease (CD) is diagnosed by evaluating symptoms, conducting blood tests and a small intestinal endoscopy (biopsy). People with CD can have many different symptoms or no symptoms at all, up to 200 symptoms are associated with CD,

Gluten allergy

Q:  Is "gluten allergy" the correct term to use in regards to having celiac disease? Thank you. Answer Celiac disease (CD) is not an allergy but an autoimmune disease. People with CD have an autoimmune reaction involving IgA antibodies when gluten is ingested. An allergy is different and involves a

Manufactured in shared facility

Q:  I just bought a product labeled gluten-free but it has this statement: "this product was manufactured in a plant that also processes wheat products.” I am very confused, is it still ok to eat? Answer A lot of manufacturers put these advisory statements on their products and this can

Straws

Q: I've been reading a lot about plastic straws being swapped out for wheat/pasta/gluten-containing straws. Are most non-plastic straws made from a wheat ingredient? Being a celiac, is this one more thing we need to be aware of when dining out? Answer As we have become more aware of the

Do I need to check that my medication is gluten-free?

Q: Do I need to check that my medication is gluten-free? Answer You should always check anything you are ingesting, that includes medications. Gluten may be used as a binder or filler in medications, although this is rare according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).1 However, you should always

Tolerating beans

Q: I just switched to a plant-based diet and I am having a hard time tolerating beans is this normal? Answer It is quite common to react to beans and high quantities of fiber when first introduced. It is best to introduce high fiber foods like beans gradually. Beans contain indigestible

Are soy products ok?

Q:  Are soy products ok to eat when you have celiac disease? Answer Soy is naturally gluten-free but some soy products contain other gluten-containing ingredients. Soy and soy products are fine to consume as long as they are gluten-free and providing you do not have a soy sensitivity or allergy.

Is vinegar gluten-free?

Q:  Is vinegar gluten-free? Answer Most vinegars are gluten-free. Some examples of gluten-free vinegars include: Apple cider vinegar Distilled vinegar/grain vinegar/spirit vinegar/white vinegar Balsamic vinegar Wine vinegar/grape vinegar Note that plain distilled vinegars are gluten-free even when made from gluten-containing grains. Gluten is removed during the distillation process rendering the

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) or non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS)

Q: Can you address non celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)? How is it diagnosed? What are the symptoms of NCGS?  What are possible complications with NCGS vs celiac disease? What is the treatment? Answer Non-celiac gluten sensitivity, also called non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS) is a much-debated, poorly understood, and intensely researched

Why can I NOT tolerate GF oats?

Q: Why can I NOT tolerate GF oats?  The reaction I have is not as severe like when I've inadvertently gotten into gluten in the past but I still react w/mild GI symptoms.  Mainly gas and bloating.  I REALLY miss eating oats and they are not considered an allergen so

Are canned vegetables, fruits & juices gluten-free?

Q: Are canned vegetables, fruits & juices gluten-free? Answer Most plain canned vegetables, fruits and juices are safe. Canned fruits, veggies and juices sometimes have added ingredients and have been somewhat processed. Always read the ingredient label carefully. It can also be helpful to look any allergen statement. Fresh whole

Do baking ingredients need to be labeled GF?

Q: I’ve seen recipes with gluten-free vanilla and gluten-free baking powder and gluten-free confectionary sugar. Do these products or some brands contain gluten? Thanks. Answer The risk with some baking powders and confectionary sugars is that they may contain wheat starch or wheat flour. Make sure to always read all

Can a chef with CD taste food he cooks with gluten?

Q: Hi! My partner is a chef with celiac disease. Is it ok if he follows a gluten-free diet but still tastes the food? (very small amount of food containing gluten) I just want to know how risky it is. Answer Following a strict gluten-free diet free of cross-contact is

Support for a low FODMAP diet

Q: I have celiac disease and follow the gluten-free diet. I also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Where can I find online support for following the Low FODMAP diet? Answer First, a very brief review of the Low FODMAP Diet:  Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be a co-existing disorder found

Electric food smokers

Q: Are electric meat smokers safe for celiac patients? We have learned charcoal and propane may not be safe. Electric smoker uses and electric element similar to an electric oven with woods skips for the smoke taste. Answer The issue with charcoal is if you use briquettes, as they may contain wheat starch.

Reducing salt and sugar in GF foods

Q: Gluten-free food has too much salt and sugar, any suggestions? Answer Yes, it is true that gluten-free processed foods often have higher salt and sugar content than their regular counterparts. The food industry loves to add those in to increase the palatability of the food. Here are some things

Dietary supplements to help with hair loss

Q: Are there dietary supplements to help with hair loss? I have been gluten-free for decades, but in the last 3 years or so am experiencing significant scalp hair loss. Answer Hair loss can be due to multiple causes, below are the most common ones: Sudden weight loss Decreased protein

Interpreting a high IgG and negative IgA test result.

Q: If someone [with celiac disease] has a positive (high) IGG result and a negative IGA result what does that mean? Answer In short, not much. To answer this question, let’s assume that the question is referring to the IgG antigliadin antibody (IgG-AGA) and the IgA antigliadin antibody (IgA-AGA) tests. 

Confusion about food labeling

Q: I am so confused about food labeling. Is it ok to consume something that just says gluten free and therefore being under 20ppm? Are we supposed to buy just strictly certified gluten free products? Answer Food labeling can definitely be confusing when it comes to determining if a food

How to gain weight

Q: I have celiac disease and I desperately need to gain weight. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Answer If you are struggling to gain weight, make sure you follow up with your gastroenterologist or doctor to monitor your celiac disease, as weight loss/poor weight gain can be a sign of malabsorption

Ancestry type testing for celiac genes

Q:  My daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease by biopsy over 20 years ago with symptoms that resolved on a gluten-free diet. She recently found out through one of the “ancestry-type” site’s testing that she doesn’t even have the gene for celiac disease. How can this be? She’s now trying

Follow Up Care

Q: I have a confirmed diagnosis of celiac disease (CD). Do I need to see a gastroenterologist (GI doctor) for ongoing follow-up or can I just see my primary care provider regularly? Answer It is not clear from the research who should monitor the follow-up of patients with CD and

Silent Celiac Disease

Q: What is silent celiac disease? Answer In 2013 a multidisciplinary task force of 16 physicians from seven countries published an article evaluating the numerous celiac disease (CD) related terms that exist in the literature.  The team determined that “silent CD” is equivalent to “asymptomatic CD.”  Use of the term

Bone broth

Q: I am reading about bone broth and its touted benefits for people with celiac disease. Do you recommend it and how should I take it? Answer There has been a lot of hype about bone broth in recent years. However, at this time there is very limited research available

Confused about oats

Q: I have read both your & Gluten Free Watchdog’s statements on GF oats, purity protocols, testing methods, etc. My question is, if the product they are in is Certified Gluten Free, then do I really need to worry about what process was used? Because regardless, in the US, doesn’t

Crumbly foods

Q: Should I ask my family and friends not to bring crumbly cookies, bars and crackers to gatherings at our house? I feel as if the longer I am gluten free, the more sensitive I have become. Twice in the last couple of months, people have brought very, very crumbly

Is celiac disease curable by medicine?

Q: Is celiac disease curable by medicine? Answer There is currently no medication available to cure celiac disease. The only treatment available to manage celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. However, there are several medications that are being studied for celiac disease that may become available in the future:

Following GF diet but feeling unwell

Q: What should I do if I have confirmed celiac disease and follow a strict gluten-free diet but am still unwell? Answer There are several reasons why a person with celiac disease might have symptoms despite following a gluten-free diet. The first one is the most common – either accidental

Appointments with a registered dietitian

Q: How frequently should I see a registered dietitian? And why? Answer If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Institute of Health recommend consults with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) skilled in celiac disease.1,2 The NIH recommends continuous long-term follow-up

Airborne gluten

Q: Can a person with celiac disease have symptoms from airborne gluten? I was volunteering at a food pantry, I was putting bagels, cookies muffins into individual bags. I did have plastic gloves on, but today I was having some celiac symptoms. Answer Gluten has to get into the GI

Wheat grass juice and barley grass in supplements

Q: 1. Is wheatgrass juice safe for people with celiac disease? 2. I bought a probiotic (pill form) at Sprouts Grocery. The front of bottle said “Gluten Free,” but when I read the ingredients in the back, it said contained barley grass. I have celiac disease and am very sensitive

Celiac genes

Q: If a person does not have the celiac genes, can celiac disease be ruled out? Answer The short answer is yes, celiac disease can be ruled out >99.0% of the time in this case.1 Negative tests for both HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes make celiac disease highly unlikely. Here’s why:

Quinoa

Q: Do you have any patients reacting to quinoa? Is quinoa consumption totally safe for celiac and for non-celiac gluten sensitivity patients? How would you approach a case where a patient is complaining about quinoa? Answer Yes, I do have some patients who do not tolerate quinoa. A couple of

Blood tests and supplements

Q: Should I get some kind of vitamin blood test done yearly? What type of supplements or vitamins should I be taking? My doctor just says to stay on a gluten-free diet. Answer It’s true that the only proven treatment for celiac disease is a life-long gluten-free diet. But you

Looking for GF toiletries

Q: I am looking for body lotions and hair spray, shampoos, conditioners and mousse that are gluten free. Can you help me? Answer This question comes up a lot in clinic so it bears repeating here. I encourage you to read the Q & A for a review of cosmetics

Arsenic in brown rice

Q: I have read that there is arsenic in brown rice. What about brown rice flour? As a celiac, brown rice and/or brown rice flour are consumed daily. Advice or any recommendations? Answer First, a little background: Arsenic is an element found in soil, water, and air. It is odorless

Alopecia Areata

Q: Is there any relation between alopecia areata (AA) and celiac disease? Is it one of the symptoms of celiac disease, or is it affected by celiac disease? Answer “Alopecia areata (AA) is a common autoimmune disease that causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and sometimes other body areas

Gastroenterologists who Specialize in Celiac Disease

Q: Is there a state by state register that lists gastroenterologists who specialize in celiac disease? Answer A few of the national support/advocacy groups and organizations maintain links to listings of clinicians specializing in gluten-related disorders. Beyond Celiac. Find a Doctor. Beyond Celiac partners with Amino and uses their doctor-finder

Do I have to avoid dairy products?

Q:  If you have celiac disease do you also have to avoid dairy products? Answer The short answer is “Likely, no.” In untreated celiac disease, the lining of the small intestine (microvilli) is damaged by the ingestion of gluten. The enzymes (lactase) on the tips of the villi are responsible

Finding GF items with less sugar

Q: When I buy packaged gluten-free cookies or other dessert items, I find they have too much sugar. How can I find gluten-free items with less sugar? Answer Before we start, just a quick reminder that “natural sugars” and “added sugars” are very different from one another. Natural sugars are

Tests Following a Celiac Diagnosis?

Q: Can you review which tests are important to have following a celiac diagnosis?  Should my doctor be checking Vitamins K, D and any others? Answer The following applies to labs for adults with celiac disease treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s (BIDMC) Celiac Center. There actually aren’t any

Making sure you are not getting any gluten

Q: My wife has celiac disease. How can she check to make sure she's not getting any gluten? Should she do a blood test? She hasn't had one in about 5 years. Also, how often should she be seeing her gastroenterologist? Answer Answer: There are several ways to monitor how

What does “weak positive” IgG test mean?

Q: I have celiac disease. I am a symptom-free celiac. I just had a blood test and my IgG is 6. It says "weak positive." What does that mean to me? Am I getting gluten in my diet? Please help. My doctor knows very little about it. Answer The IgG

Gluten-Free dining out while traveling to Italy?

Q: We have a trip to Italy planned in a few months with a group and many prearranged meals. I am just now embarking on a gluten free diet on the suggestion of my doctor. I am wondering how to navigate in this new food arena? Answer Italy has a

Is Zithromax gluten-free?

Q: Is Zithromax gluten-free? I can't get a clear answer on this. Glutenfreedrugs.com lists it as gluten-free but my pharmacist says there may be small amounts or traces of gluten in suspension. Answer I contacted Dr. Steve Plogsted, expert celiac pharmacist and owner of the GlutenFreeDrugs.com website, to answer this

How do I convert my kitchen to a gluten-free one?

Q: My 19 month old granddaughter was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and we are trying to expedite our research and empower ourselves with knowledge to give her every advantage for a healthy life. Her gluten free life begins tomorrow. I am her alternate caregiver, and I believe it's important

Do wheat grass and barley grass contain gluten?

Q: Do wheat grass and barley grass contain gluten? I always assumed they did because of their names. However, I have read online that the grasses do not have any gluten and are safe for celiacs. I have purchased Orgain superfoods protein powder that says on the label "gluten-free" but

Non-organic farm raised meat

Q: If I eat meat/poultry/fish (non-organic/farm raised), would this trigger celiac disease? Answer To date, we understand that three components are needed for someone to present with celiac disease – a genetic predisposition (having one or both of the HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 genes), being exposed to gluten (which happens when

Is alcohol made from grain safe for celiacs?

Q: I recently purchased a Nima gluten tester. However, it says on the package that it cannot be used to test products with alcohol. I purchased Anthimmune organic elderberry syrup from Maine Medicinals, Inc.. It says gluten-free on the package but it contains up to 5% grain alcohol. When I

Can I eat a lot of ice cream?

Q: Can I eat a lot of ice cream? I like ice cream. Answer It’s not a great idea to eat a LOT of anything, especially a food so notorious for its sugar and fat content.What else can we consider when making this personal decision about eating ice cream?Has the

Are products “processed in a facility that also processes wheat” safe?

Q: As you probably know, almost all packages of tree nuts now come with the disclaimer "processed in a facility that also processes wheat". It is never followed by that wonderfully reassuring statement that careful manufacturing practices are followed. For some reason I am finding myself reluctant to purchase, use

Is it OK to be relaxed about the GF diet?

Q: A recent study states that hypervigilance to a gluten-free diet decreases your quality of life. Some people seem to think that it is OK to be more relaxed about following the GF diet. What is your advice? Answer The gluten-free diet is the only known treatment for celiac disease.

Are there certified gluten-free beans and other grains?

I am concerned regarding beans and other grains being contaminated with gluten-containing grains. How can I be secure that I won't get glutened? Are there any certified gf grains, either dried or canned? Do I need to worry about quinoa, teff, ground cornmeal, etc.? I miss having these powerhouses in

Relation between celiac disease and thyroid problems?

I was just in a support group online and asked how many had celiac disease and thyroid problems. Within 45 minutes I had just as many say both. I was shocked! Is this normal to have both? Answer Both celiac disease and thyroid disease are autoimmune diseases (the body mistakenly

Itchy skin / scalp caused by celiac disease?

I was diagnosed in June 2017, with celiac. I am 54 years old. I started having a pink scalp in April 2017, then it got itchy, this went on for a few months, I tried medicated shampoos, nothing helped. Then I noticed hair loss, went to Dermatologist in September, she

What is GliadinX product (digestive enzyme supplement)?

Do you know anything about the GliadinX product, [a digestive enzyme supplement]?Text in brackets has been added by Melinda to clarify information. Answer Gluten is a tough plant protein to digest. Our bodies release a variety of different enzymes to “chop up” or break down proteins in our stomach but

Is gluten ingestion damage permanent?

Q: With celiac disease, when I ingest gluten and it affects me days later, is it possible for the damage to heal or is it permanent? I’ve heard both in passing and I’ve been nervous that my ingestion over the past few years has affected more than just my intestines

Are gluten-free skin and body products important for people with celiac disease?

I am unsure of the importance of using gluten free skin and body products for someone with Celiac Disease? For example, lotions, makeup, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm or lipstick, etc., things that do not pass through the GI tract necessarily. Even touching things like Play Doh... Is the skin contact

Following a gluten-free diet but feeling tired

Q: I have celiac disease and fastidiously avoid gluten. However, I am very tired. Are there any new treatments I should be looking out for? Or do you have any suggestions about how I could feel less tired? Answer Gluten exposure is one of the most common reasons for continued