Typically the first step to diagnosing celiac disease is a blood test. The blood test normally consists of several tests including Total IGA, TTG IGA and TTG IGG. Sometimes they also test EMA IGA, EMA IGG, DGP IGG, and DGP IGA. If any of those pop up as positive, typically gastroenterologists recommend an endoscopy to confirm a diagnosis of celiac.
Once the diagnostic process is complete and people start their treatment, they wonder how long before their blood tests will normalize. Sometimes doctors give patients a hard time because their blood tests aren’t normalizing quickly enough.
There are two different studies to look at and both are quite recent.
One study looked at children diagnosed between 2007 and 2014. They looked at a variety of factors, but on the whole 80% of children had normal TTG IGA tests after 407 days. Children that had both celiac and Type 1 Diabetes had significantly longer recovery time – 1204 days. The scientists also noted that those with lower TTG IGA at diagnosis took a shorter time to return to a normal blood test result.
The other study says that adults diagnosed with celiac will reach normal TTG IGA after approximately 11 months and normal gut mucosa at 16 to 24 months. So, the blood test returns to normal and then the gut recovers.
It also must be noted that “clean” celiac blood work does not indicate that the gut has recovered from celiac. A study of studies (meta-analysis) indicates that “clean” celiac blood tests have a below 50% chance of indicating mucosal recovery in celiac.
There is another study that shows that people without college degrees and lower socioeconomic status have a greater degree of persistent villous atrophy. This one is interesting – is it because people don’t have the resources to purchase gluten free foods or is it something else?
It just goes on an on – there are lots and lots of studies looking at various aspects of recovery from celiac disease. I’ve already spent like 2 hours looking at this stuff. This is a fun rabbit hole to go down, but I’ve got to get on with my day!