Have you ever waited with a stomach ache and hoped that the gluten you consumed would flush out from your body? We all do, especially if someone has severe gluten intolerance or celiac disease. But how long does gluten stay in your system?
Gluten will stay for up to 4 hours in the stomach, 3 hours in the small intestine, and 40 hours in the colon. So, in total, gluten will remain for up to 4 days in the digestive system. And the IgA and IgG antibodies produced by gluten will stay for up to 4 months.
But several modern-day research also showed that the effect of IgA and IgG antibodies might last as long as 2 years in older adults. And the stomach lining can take even more time to heal completely. But, there are ways to expedite this process. Read on!
Table of Contents
- 1 How Long Does Gluten Stay In The System?
- 2 Short-Term and Long-Term Discomfort
- 3 How Long After Eating Gluten Do Symptoms Start?
- 4 How Long Does It Take to Heal?
- 5 How To Overcome Gluten Exposure?
- 6 Tips For Healing
- 7 Signs Of Recovery
- 8 Final Words
- 9 FAQ
How Long Does Gluten Stay In The System?
The gluten you have already consumed will remain in your body until it completes the total gastrointestinal transit time. After around 2.5 to 3 hours of consuming any gluten-rich food, 50% of your stomach content will be emptied. It will take around 4 to 5 hours for all the stomach content to be emptied.
50% of all the content in your small intestine will take another 2.5 to 3 hours. However, it can take up to 30 to 40 hours to transit through your colon. And if you calculate the total gastrointestinal transit time, it will be close to 39 to 52 hours, around 1.5 to 2 days. So, gluten will stay in your digestive system for up to 2 days after consuming it.
Short-Term and Long-Term Discomfort
It is not all to know how long gluten stays in your system. Gluten can cause several issues and discomfort even if it remains for just five minutes in your digestive system. There are two types of problems that will emerge once you consume gluten-right food.
Short-Term Discomfort: You will feel several short-term discomforts during the time it takes the gluten-rich food to move from your mouth to your bowel. And these discomforts will likely resolve once the gluten-rich food has passed through your digestive tract. However, this transit time will broadly vary depending on the health and proper functioning of your gut, pancreas, and liver.
Various non-digestion-related factors, such as gender, sleep pattern, exercise routine, water intake, and psychological stress, can also influence this transit time. Besides, the transit time will also depend on the type of food you have ingested, as proteins will take a much longer transit time than simple carbohydrates.
Long-Term Discomfort: Although the short-term discomfort will pass within a few hours, many things will still happen inside your body. Gluten will trigger two types of antibodies, IgA and IgG, which will cause intestinal hyperpermeability. The half-life of both these antibodies is close to two months (60 days). So, it can take up to 120 days for all the antibodies to be removed from your body.
However, several new studies revealed that even after you get rid of all the IgA and IgG antibodies from your system, the mucosal lining of your intestine will not heal properly, causing permanent damage. And a broken gut barrier will allow all the toxins to flow into your bloodstream, causing further tissue damage and inflammation.
How Long After Eating Gluten Do Symptoms Start?
The time it takes to kick the gluten reaction in your body will depend on several factors, although it varies largely from person to person. The short-term discomfort will start within 1 to 2 hours of ingesting gluten-rich food when it reaches your stomach and mixes with the gut fluids. Gluten will take around 4 hours to be completely emptied from the stomach, 6 more hours from your small intestine, and up to 60 hours from your colon.
So, after around 30 minutes to 1 hour of eating any gluten-rich food, you will likely start having discomfort. And it will last for up to 3 days. However, if you have celiac disease, the gastrointestinal transit time will be much higher in your body than in a healthy person. And it mainly happens due to small bowel immobility and malabsorption of nutrients in your gut.
How Long Does It Take to Heal?
Your digestion system and overall health will likely improve within a few days of ingesting gluten-rich food. And your symptoms will also improve within that specified time. But the damage to your small intestine will take up to 6 months to heal completely. Both the IgA and IgG antibodies will remain in your intestine for up to 4 to 6 months.
New research also found that it can take up to 2 years to heal the small intestine completely in older adults. However, this healing time will depend on several other factors, such as your eating habits, sleeping pattern, and mental stress.
How To Overcome Gluten Exposure?
You must have already known how long gluten stays in your system. And your body will flush out gluten and repair the stomach and intestine in natural processes. But you can also expedite this natural process by adopting four techniques that are as follows.
Flushing: If you have constipation or other digestive issues, you’ll have a higher transit time than usual. And due to that increased transit time, gluten will stay much longer in your body, causing prolonged discomfort and physical issues. However, you can shorten the transit time by flushing your bowel with potent vitamin C powders. While the vitamins will flush out glutens, the minerals in those powders will prevent acidity and stomach upset.
Digestion: Your overall digestion system will be imbalanced once you consume gluten-rich food. However, taking comprehensive digestive enzymes will likely ease this trouble. These enzyme mixtures will help your body to break down complex carbohydrates easily and at a much faster pace. Most of these enzyme mixes also come with various natural ingredients that can eliminate related digestive issues, such as gas and bloating.
Fasting: You may not know, but the cells in your gut will automatically regenerate every 2 to 7 days. But this regeneration process will be heavily compromised if you have consumed gluten-rich food. Fasting for a day will give your gastrointestinal tract a break from its natural duties. So, it will aid in a faster healing process for your gut.
Microbiome Rebalancing: Gluten can heavily disrupt the overall microbiome in your gut, which is the main reason for stomach upset, bloating, and gas. But, if you can reset the microbiome in your stomach, it will aid in a much faster recovery. You can take targeted probiotic mixtures orally to rebalance the compositions of your gut. Besides, you must have an adequate sleep to accelerate the healing process.
Tips For Healing
As you already know how long gluten will stay in your system, you can take several steps to decrease that time. So, here are some of the most effective tips you can follow.
- Eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible, such as broccoli, spinach, apple, and mushrooms. It will aid your natural defense against a compromised immune system.
- A digestive enzyme called amylase will start secreting during the saliva production in your mouth. So, you must chew your food properly to break down the complex carbohydrate faster.
- Eat plenty of digestive fibers, such as beans, nuts, and green vegetables. These fibers will force gluten to move quickly through your digestive tract, easing your discomfort.
- Drink plenty of water as it will help to reduce the acid influx caused by gluten in your stomach. Water will also flush out toxins in your body through urine and sweat.
- Don’t consume meat or meat-derived products, as those can cause acidity and inflammation. As you are already struggling to digest complex protein, don’t over-pressurize your stomach by eating meats.
You must also exercise as it will help food to move faster through your GI tract and boost your body’s overall immune system. Besides, taking a probiotic or enzyme mixture can also ease your physical discomfort.
Signs Of Recovery
Brain fog, dissolution, and fatigue will start getting better through a gradual process within the first week of gluten intake. However, various other symptoms, such as itchy skin, rashes, and dermatitis herpetiformis, may take much longer to get better. And the stomach lining will likely heal within two years.
You may also feel hungry throughout the day once you start recovering from gluten-induced issues. Your body can’t absorb the nutrients properly during the recovery process. And for that, it compromises the deficit by invoking hunger so that you eat more food. This increased appetite will eventually get better within 2 to 3 weeks.
You may ask, “how long does gluten stay in your system?” The simple answer would be 4 days. However, this time will depend on several other factors, such as your immune response, physical and mental stress, sleeping habit, diet, and exercise routine.
But you can expedite this natural healing process by consuming dietary fiber, probiotics, enzyme mixtures, and plenty of water. You must also visit a doctor if the symptoms remain after 4 days.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a type of complex protein that is naturally present in wheat, rye, barley, and several other grains. But gluten is not a single protein but a family of proteins found in many grains. It is also soluble in alcohol, which makes it different from other complex proteins.
Celiac disease is the most common condition related to gluten. However, there are four more major conditions that can also be induced by gluten: wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, and dermatitis herpetiformis.
Is gluten allergy the same as celiac disease?
Although gluten allergy can trigger similar symptoms as celiac disease, they are not the same. Gluten allergy is primarily caused by gluten intolerance which can be controlled by not consuming any gluten-rich food. But celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can damage the digestive tract. So, it needs immediate medical attention.