Answer Bank

Frequently Asked Questions


I self-diagnosed and started a gluten-free diet. Do I have to eat gluten prior to getting screened for celiac disease?

Yes. We recommend 12 weeks of a gluten-containing diet prior to blood testing (2 weeks prior to a biopsy). However, you could first take a genetic test that would tell if you have the genes for celiac disease. If the genes are present, then 12 weeks with gluten in your diet prior to your blood analysis and, if your blood shows elevated antibodies, a follow-up biopsy will give you the most accurate results. It’s entirely possible, of course, to have an adverse reaction to gluten, but not have celiac disease. In these cases, there are still important reasons to understand your situation. Celiac disease is hereditary, 1 in 20 first-degree relatives (kids, siblings, parents) and 1 in 39 second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, grandparents) may also have it. Knowing if you have it is important to your family. We urge those who have screened negative, but have had the symptoms to take the genetic test (which does not diagnose celiac disease, only the potential for it and does not require eating gluten) so that others in your family can be aware of their prevalence for the disease. In addition, the prevalence of multiple autoimmune diseases in one person is on the rise—for this reason we ask that you do what you can to diagnose and understand your own health risks. November, 2012