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Reactor And Nonreactor
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A question keeps coming to mind whenever I read about the different reactions we are having to the same foods. Like today, when one post was recommending McGann's Irish Oatmeal because the poster never has a reaction to it and therefore considers it safe, and another post quickly offered the observation that she had a severe and unmistakable reaction soon after eating the oatmeal and so for her it was off limits.

The usual explanation--correct me if I'm wrong--is that we are different. Some can tolerate what others cannot. I'm not sure what this means, but I'm guessing that it means our digestive systems are different, that is, more or less damaged by the gluten, and possibly by food allergies, and so we can have a more or less (or no) reaction to the questionable food, or ingredient. If the condition is a food allergy I can understand one not bothering too much about the possible damage that is being done because our antibodies are doing supposedly their job. And apart from an elavated rise in antibodies there is no damage being done to the body, outside of, I would guess, a certain amount of wear and tear. (Is this so?)

My real concern is about those of us, probably most of us, who have celiac disease. Being an autoimmune disorder, isn't it slowly, and maybe not so slowly for some, wrecking havoc with our insides, whether we know it or not? And no matter how little gluten gets into our bodies? Or so I have been led to believe by reading the posts on this Board. If this is so, how can we be sure when ingesting a food that most would consider risky, like oatmeal--at least to the extent that nothing conclusive has been found either way--that we are not damaging our bodies? Especially if you're mostly a non-reactor, with only minor reactions. And isn't it possible for those who normally are very sensitive to gluten, or to certain forms of it, like in wheat, to be less sensitive to the form of gluten in other grains so that they are not visibly reacting but may be doing damage nonetheless. Is it possible to get a definitive answer to this? Or is it just one more troubling uncertainty that we will have to live with, along with everything else? --Aldo

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Aldo,

I don't know the answers to the questions you have posed (although I will say that your understanding of allergies concurs with mine), but I did have a thought to share. I wonder if celiacs who react to oats have the less common gene for celiac disease (or even a third, as a recent post here indicated DOES exist!). It would be really interesting to see this factor addressed in a future study. In the meantime, I am choosing to avoid oats for now. Back in the days when I was wheat-free but not gluten-free, I had huge reactions to barley but none (that were obvious, at least) to oats. Possibly, after a few years on the gluten-free diet and after a stool test from Enterolab indicates that I am doing acceptably well, I may decide to test oats and see what happens to my antibody levels. I hope I can eventually have them because I really enjoy them, but I am certainly doing fine without them.

I hope you're doing well!

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My body seems to have a love/hate relationship with oatmeal. Granted, the only kind I've been able to find here consistently (Korea) is the giant Costco pack of instant flavoured oatmeal. I gave it up for a while but after two months straight of brown rice flakes for breakfast, decided to give it another try since they had a different variety of flavours when I was at Costco last week. It's my suspicion that the cinnamon&spice variety was the culprit, since I haven't had any reaction yet. If it starts causing trouble again, I guess I'll have to resign myself to the brown rice flakes (a.k.a cardboard bits) till I move back to Canada.... :huh:

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