Intestinal damage can be just the tip of the iceberg of gluten’s repercussions on a patient with celiac disease. The disease is also commonly associated with liver damage, and current medical guidelines recommend routine screening of liver function tests (LFTs) in patients diagnosed with celiac disease.
A team of researchers, including Dr. Joseph Murray, M.D., recently set out to accurately estimate rates of liver function test (LFT) abnormalities in celiac disease, and to assess the effect of a gluten-free diet on LFTs. The team found that just over forty percent of individuals showed elevated LFTs at celiac disease diagnosis, but the vast majority, nearly eighty percent of those patients showed normal LFTs within a year and a half of adopting a gluten-free diet.
In the study, published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, Dr. Murray explains that strict adherence to a gluten-free diet can reduce LFT abnormalities within a year and patients with sustained LFT abnormalities despite a gluten-free diet should be evaluated for coexisting liver diseases.
Read the full study online here.
For more information about celiac disease, visit mayoclinic.org/celiac disease.
Dr. Murray is a gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert at Mayo Clinic.