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Q & A with Dr. Vikki: How Can I Determine if I’m Celiac or Gluten Sensitive?

Dr. Vikki Petersen, a Doctor of Chiropractic and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, is founder of the renowned HealthNOW Medical Center in Sunnyvale, California.

She is co-author of  “The Gluten Effect,” a bestselling book that has been celebrated by leading experts as an epic leap forward in gluten sensitivity diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Vikki herself is acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of gluten sensitivity.  Featured in an exclusive interview on CNN Headline News, Dr Vikki is also endorsed by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America for her contributions to gluten awareness in our country.

Dr. Vikki,

I am trying to determine if my son and I are gluten intolerant/celiac.  I have taken the quiz on your website but it was not a 100% ‘yes.’  I do not have a lot of confidence in the tests out there; the information seems to be changing all the time and many of them seem to be unreliable.  Is there a test you recommend?

My mother has been diagnosed with CD and my father believes he is gluten intolerant so both of them are GF as well as off of dairy and eggs.  As for myself, my biggest problem has been a change in my menstrual cycle after having my second child; very long periods with very heavy bleeding for a couple of days.  I have also struggled with depression but it’s easy to write that off due to kids, change in job (now a stay-at-home-Mom) etc…I do not have any digestive problems.

My son has had floating stool for as long as I can remember and has developed a rash on his elbows and knees over the last six months.  The rash has become noticeably worse in the last two weeks.  My pediatrician says this is dry skin or simple eczema.  My son is about 75th percentile for height and weight.  He looks very small compared to his younger sister who is off the charts and outweighs him by five pounds.  Everyone writes this off due to the fact that she was over 10lbs at birth and my son was just over 7lbs.  My husband and I are very tall, 6′ 4″ and 6′ respectively.

I have started a GF diet for me and my kids (I do all the cooking) about a week ago.  My mother has been an excellent resource for this new challenge!  How long would it take for any of these symptoms to resolve if gluten is the problem?  My biggest challenge is the lack of an extremely accurate test.  My husband does not have a positive attitude and does not believe any of these ‘problems’ are symptoms of anything.

Is there any advice/opinion you can offer?

Thank you very much,

Dear Rachel,

I’m not sure where you live but we can definitely set you up with a blood test that is one of the most accurate on the market.  If your son has already been gluten-free for more than 2 1/2 weeks then probably best to order the gene test from Enterolab.  You can contact them online.

With your Mom having celiac that certainly increases the chances for your son and he certainly does have symptoms consistent with a possible gluten intolerance, be it celiac or gluten sensitivity.

In regards to how long he should be off gluten in order to notice a difference, I believe the minimum should be 30-60 days.  You may see a difference in his stool at about the one month mark but skin changes can take longer.  He may very well have some secondary infections that are adding additional stress to his system and are often seen with skin conditions that are gluten- related.

In regards to convincing your husband, I invite him to visit my site, book and YouTube videos.  There is a tremendous amount of information supporting the association between gluten and your son’s symptoms.

For you, by the way, you would likely benefit from a program to rebalance your adrenal glands and optimize your progesterone levels. This is a common result after having more than one child, but is not normal and you don’t need to put up with those symptoms. You’re a busy mom who deserves to enjoy her children!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen
Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect
Dr. Vikki’s blog
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Hi Rachel, Heidi here.  I took the adrenal stress profile when I went to see Dr. Vikki back in February and I blogged about it here.  I also tested my youngest son through Enterolab last year and I shared his results here (he had already been gluten free for about a year at that point).

I can also relate to your bewilderment over whether or not you truly have a problem with gluten.  I was confused and doubtful for a very long time (my first blood test wasn’t overwhelmingly convincing) and, like you, I lacked the digestive issues that are most commonly thought of when it comes to gluten sensitivity.  I shared many of my symptoms (including heavy periods and depression) in this blog post.

There is a really good article by Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou (a neurologist in the UK and his research interest has been the neurological involvement in celiac disease) called Gluten Sensitivity: From Gut to Brain.  Also, the website called The Gluten File has more of Dr. Hadjivassiliou’s papers and you can access those here, (I also encourage you to read this page which is full of articles pertaining to depression).

For me, reading the work of Dr. Hadjivassilou helped to broaden my understanding of how truly vast and systemic the symptoms of celiac and gluten sensitivity are (with or without digestive complaint and/or gut damage), and the renowned Dr. Rodney Ford is also a tireless crusader on this subject.

And now, for the winner of the Five Star Natural Meat Marinade Giveaway!

Congratulations go to:

Cassandra Wood

“My favorite weird dipping sauce has to either be hummus on top of M&Ms or my homemade applesauce on GF banana pancakes.”

Hummus on top of M&M’s?  That was just too weird for me not to try it (only I had dairy-free chocolate)…not bad Cassandra, LOL! 😀  I will send you an email for your shipping information, enjoy the marinade!

If you have a question that you would like Dr. Vikki Petersen to answer in a future blog post here on Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom, please email your question(s) to me at:


  1. Dear Dr. Vikki,

    I have been recently diagnosed as highly sensitive to gluten, and have started to change my diet a lot and am almost all the way gluten free now.

    I am on coumadin for life, due to pulmonary embolism, and would like to know if there are any special considerations for people on coumadin.

    Thank you and have a great day!

    Angela Sommers