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.
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.