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Should Celiacs Eat Oats? Depends on the Oat


New study indicates that the type of oats matters for celiacs.

Celiac.com 03/14/2011 - It is still a matter of controversy whether or not oats are safe for people with celiac disease. The general consensus at this point seems to be that pure oats are safe for most, but not all, people with celiac. Since oats can easily be contaminated with wheat during harvest, storage, or other stages of processing, it has been stressed that the oats be certified as pure. Although the classic 33-amino acid long oligopeptide that acts as the immunogenic stimulus in gliadin had not yet been found in oats, other peptides isolated from oats do activate T-cells isolated from celiac patients. A new study performed in Spain by Isabel Comino et al. suggests that it is not that some celiac patients can’t tolerate all oats, but rather that all celiac patients can’t tolerate some oats. Their results are reported in the January 2011 issue of GUT: An International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Dr. Comina and her colleagues examined nine different cultivars of oats. They exposed each of them to a sensitive monoclonal antibody generated to recognize the toxic 33-mer from gliadin, and also measured if each of the oat varieties could elicit an immune response in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from celiac patients. They wanted to see if they could correlate recognition by the monoclonal antibody to induction of a T-cell response, and found that they certainly could.

The nine varieties of oats segregated neatly into three groups of three varieties each: those for which the antibody had high affinity, low affinity, and no affinity. This affinity was validated by two different experimental methods, so was not an artifact of the technique chosen. When T cells from patients with celiac were exposed to extracts of the oat variety the antibody bound to strongest, they proliferated the most and released interferon-gamma, an immunostimulatory cytokine whose aberrant expression is associated with autoinflammatory disease. In contrast, the oats that didn’t react with the antibody did not elicit these immune responses. The authors note that the avenin – the storage protein in oats – from even the most immunogenic oats they saw bound to this antibody with 40-400 fold less affinity than gliadin (from gluten – the storage protein in wheat).

This study thus leaves us with two valuable conclusions. One is that some oats are more toxic than others, regardless of their purity. And the other is that reactivity with this antibody can be correlated to toxicity, making it a potential tool for evaluating the toxic gluten content of other food.

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21 Responses:

 
Angie Halten
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said this on
14 Mar 2011 10:18:22 AM PST
I thought most oats were the same but after reading your article I discovered that some oats are more toxic than others. This sheds a bit more light on the whole controversy concerning eating oats. Thanks!

Angie.

 
Lisa
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said this on
21 Mar 2011 7:37:01 AM PST
The article may answer the question, but as a non-scientific person, I'd prefer a straight, non-scientific answer. So.....specifically what oats are safe and which are not? Just tell me, so I don't have to try and understand the science.

 
Donna
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said this on
21 Mar 2011 9:05:48 AM PST
A good start. Now we celiacs need a list of which oats we can try eating, and which to avoid, by brand or at least by some consumer-visible guideline. Looking forward to seeing that, sooner than later. Oats generally can be so good for people, I'd like to resume eating them.

 
Sue
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said this on
21 Mar 2011 1:18:51 PM PST
This study just confirmed why I have reactions to oatmeal. The oats I purchased from a reputable store were guaranteed gluten free. I tried 2 different manufacturer's of oats and had the same gut reaction. Since I am not willing to keep trying other oat types, oats are out of my diet.

 
rozzy
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said this on
11 Oct 2012 9:39:52 PM PST
I have such a terrible reaction to regular oats that I am afraid to try the certified GF kind.

 
Nikki
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said this on
21 Mar 2011 4:19:51 PM PST
I too had a terrible reaction to a reputable brand of gluten free oats. If there are specific oats which are less likely to cause a reaction, I'd like to know and would give it one last try. BTW, I get the same reactions from corn and soy.

 
Robin
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said this on
21 Mar 2011 4:37:04 PM PST
The researchers in the study cited in the article used an antibody called G12. It is in the Glutentox Kit, now on the market in the United States.

 
Karen
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said this on
21 Mar 2011 7:59:38 PM PST
Okay, so some oats are bad and some oats are good. That's great, but what type of oats fall under what category? I guess I don't like wasting my time on something that really doesn't give me any information.

 
Patty
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said this on
14 Oct 2011 9:27:41 AM PST
That is pretty much what I thought. If it doesn't explain the difference in which oat is which, why bother explaining the science behind it. I'm more interested in the bottom line I guess.

 
Jared
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said this on
22 Mar 2011 4:58:08 AM PST
This study may have confirmed why I seem to have no trouble eating all varieties of Nature Valley granola bars. Like Lisa stated, I want to see a list distinguishing between safe and unsafe oats/brands.

 
dappycharlie
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said this on
22 Mar 2011 6:02:42 AM PST
nothing said specifically about what defines bad oats even if pure - so of little to no help.

 
Lil
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said this on
23 Mar 2011 3:13:15 PM PST
She did not say which specific brands of oats are okay to consume- what are we guinea pigs ???

 
Emily Kaufman
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said this on
25 Mar 2011 10:35:01 AM PST
The science is still really new, so information about which oats are/are not safe is just not available yet.

For now, the takeaway is still pretty significant -- First, that CC isn't the sole problem with oats / that some are inherently safer than others.

Second, that there's a mistake in the commonly-held belief that some celiacs are just more sensitive to oats than others (even oats labeled gluten-free). This may be true, but it's also likely that some of them are eating oats that aren't gluten-free despite labeling to the contrary. Many of the antibodies used in testing/certifying are only able to recognize CC in oats, not the gluten inside some oats -- these scientists used a different, new antibody (G12) that is so far the only one proven to detect CC-gluten and inherent-gluten.

This is a preliminary study, it paves the way for future studies that will identify safe oats and lead to better testing and labeling.

 
Robert H. Gibbs MD
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said this on
17 Nov 2011 2:02:41 PM PST
It would be good to know just what manufacturers are using when they say they use an 'Elisa' assay for that does not define the epitrope that the testing antibodies have been formed against. Also the author should have noted that the people who did the study treated the proteins prior to assay with enzymes (gut enzymes like we have) and that could make their data more meaningful than the simple testing of an oat slurry.

 
Nicketti
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said this on
08 Dec 2011 10:40:42 AM PST
A promising study. However, What's missing is, including the names of the different types of oats that were in the study. Then people can actually use this information.

 
sandy
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said this on
07 Jan 2012 7:32:23 PM PST
I tried gluten-free oats and had the same symptoms as with wheat. I think that no matter what the general consensus is or what the science says, if there's any question for you personally, oats should be skipped.

 
Brian
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said this on
05 Mar 2012 7:21:44 AM PST
Finish with the info on the good oats!

 
Kristin Jordan
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said this on
19 Mar 2012 12:51:02 PM PST
Very informative! It's good to see the oat topic and celiac disease still being scientifically explored. I appreciate this article because it informs us that the oats "debate" in the celiac community is not resolved. I had a severe reaction to Bob's Red Mill certified GF oats, two years after my celiac diagnosis and going gluten free. (It was my first time to try GF oats, and I will never get near any type of oats again!) I had tried the oats at this time because the "consensus" out there (what I was reading about celiac disease) was that the GF oats were safe for celiacs, and GF oats are now in so many "gluten-free" products. Now I know better and read more comprehensive studies before attempting anything that might be dangerous to my health.

 
woodchuck64
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said this on
15 Apr 2012 2:00:59 PM PST
How much oats can you safely eat per day?

"Catassi et al demonstrated that the ingestion of contaminated gluten should be kept lower than 50 mg/day in the treatment of CD. Based on the reactivity of the G12 antibody against the different oat varieties and gliadin and on the results published by Catassi et al, the tolerance to the most toxic oats might be in the range of 2–20 g/day."

Answer: 2g if you want to be safe, 20g if you're feeling lucky, according to the authors.

 
DJ
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said this on
19 Apr 2013 8:51:25 PM PST
I feel like I just watched a season ending cliff hanger... Was there something of usable value here that I missed? Why post this article: for people to waste their time? It serves no use.

 
Chris Samuel
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said this on
08 Feb 2014 12:17:08 AM PST
To quote from the original paper (linked to above):

"Therefore, three groups of oat varieties could be clearly distinguished depending on their recognition by the moAb G12: a group with high affinity towards the antibody (OM719, OA729 and OE717), a group with intermediate recognition (OH727, OL715 and OC723) and another group comprising oats that were not recognised by moAb G12 (OF720, OR721 and OP722). The alternative anti-33mer moAb A1 also provided equivalent results (data not shown)."




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