One of the most common questions people ask after being diagnosed with celiac disease is how long does it take for gluten to leave my system? This seemingly innocent grain-based protein is found in a countless number of foods, beverages and even condiments. To make matters worse, just a small trace amount of gluten can trigger severe reactions by the autoimmune system, causing a range of unpleasant symptoms.
Once you eliminate all sources of gluten from your diet, however, you will set your body on the right track for better health. It’s not something that happens overnight, but the negative symptoms associated with gluten/celiac disease will gradually fade away until you are back to living a normal life.
Now for the million dollar question: how long does it take for gluten to completely exit your system? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question, as numerous factors impact the speed at which it exits a person’s body. With that said, Dr. Peter Osborne at the Gluten Free Society notes that the half life of gluten antibodies is approximately 3-4 months, which means it takes at least this length of time to exit a person’s body.
Some of the factors that may impact the time it takes gluten to completely leave your system include the following:
- Amount of gluten currently in your system. People with large amounts of gluten in their system will require more time for it to exit. If you were recently diagnosed with celiac disease, you should immediately begin a strict no-gluten diet to speed up the removal process.
- Consumption of trace gluten. Even if you aren’t consuming foods or beverages with gluten, you may be unknowingly consuming trace amounts of thick sticky grain protein from cross contamination. Consuming even small trace amounts of gluten will greatly prolong the length of time it takes to exit your system.
- Dietary fiber. Think of fiber as nature’s own flushing mechanism for your body. While dietary fiber is important for everyone, it’s especially important for people who are trying to rid themselves of gluten. A fiber-rich diet helps flush this substance from the digestive system.
- Metabolism. Of course, a person’s metabolism levels also play a role in the speed at which gluten exits their body.
- Hydration. Are you drinking enough water throughout the day? If not, you can expect gluten to stay in your body for a longer length of time.