Five-Year Follow-Up Study Finds Oats Suitable for Celiacs
In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease. In 1998 I created The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore!, and I am the co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.View all articles by Scott Adams
Celiac.com 03/19/2002 - According to a long term study conducted by Dr Matti Uusitupa and colleagues from the University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland, long-term ingestion of a moderate amount of oats in an otherwise gluten-free diet is safe for adult patients with celiac disease. In a previous study Dr. Uusitupa found no harmful effects from oats after patients ate them for 12 months, which was reflected by the patents symptoms, nutritional status, duodenal villous architecture, and mucosal mononuclear cell infiltrate, as seen in celiac patients who are in remission. The earlier study also showed that ingestion of oats did not delay recovery of mucosal damage in newly diagnosed celiacs.
Dr. Uusitupas first study compared the effects of a gluten-free diet and a gluten-free diet that included oats with a randomized trial involving 92 adult celiac patients: 45 in the oats group whose intake averaged approximately 34 grams per day, and 47 patients in the control group. Patients in the oats group were allowed to eat oats freely in conjunction with an otherwise gluten free diet. After five years 35 patients in the original oats group, 23 of whom were still eating oats at least twice a week, and 28 in the control group that was on a conventional gluten free diet were examined. The results confirmed that eating oats did not cause ANY duodenal mucosal damage to the adult celiac patients in the study. Further, the patients were also examined using histological, histomorphometric, and immunological methods, and AGA, ARA, and EMA serological test results of those in the oat group showed no negative effects that could be linked to eating oats.
According to Dr. Uusitupa, the high antibody levels that appeared in some of the patients that were in both groups are most likely explained by poor compliance to a gluten free diet, and the reason why celiac patients can tolerate oats must be based on structural differences between the proteins of oats, wheat, barley, and rye. The toxic portion of the harmful gluten protein lies in the ethanol soluble fraction called gliadins, whose toxicity remains after digestion. With oats, however, it is possible that the absence of specific amino acid sequences that are found in wheat gliadin but are not found in oat avenin allow oats to be tolerated by celiacs. Last, the researchers note that taking oats off of the list of forbidden cereals might improve patient compliance to the gluten-free diet by giving them more food choices.
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