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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    New Study Shows Eating Oats Safe for Patients with Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 05/30/2007 - The results of a study recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology shows that patients with celiac disease can consume oats with no risk of adverse immunological effects.

    An international research team made up of doctors Tarja Kemppainen (1); Esko Janatuinen (2); Kati Holm (3); Veli-Matti Kosma (4); Markku Heikkinen (5); Markku Mäki (3); Kaija Laurila (3); Matti Uusitupa (1); Risto Julkunen (5), set out to evaluate local cellular immune response after 5 years of oat consumption by adult celiac patients.

    The doctors looked at a group of 42 celiac patients who had previously participated in a 6-12 month oats intervention study.

    22 of these patients already incorporated oats as part of their gluten-free diet. During the 5-year follow-up study, 10 patients who were concerned about the safety of long-term oat consumption stopped eating oats. The 12 remaining patients consumed oats for the whole 5-year period. The remaining 20 celiac patients formed the control group, and followed a strict, conventional, gluten-free diet that excluded oats.

    The team conducted biopsies and counted Intraepithelial CD3, TCR (IEL) and TCR (IEL) T cells to determine corresponding densities.

    No Adverse Effects for Celiac Disease Patients Who Eat Oats

    The results showed no differences in the densities of CD3, IEL and IEL T cells between the oat and the control groups. The researchers concluded that the mucosa of the small intestine show no immunological response in celiac patients who consume oats over a long period of time.

    Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Volume 42, Issue 1 2007 , pages 54 - 59

    Participating Institutions:

    • Department of Clinical Nutrition, University of Kuopio and Kuopio University Hospital. Kuopio. Finland
    • Department of General Medicine, Al Mafraq Hospital. Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
    • Medical School, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital. Tampere. Finland
    • Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, University of Kuopio and Kuopio University Hospital.
    • Gastroenterological Unit, Department of Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital. Finland

    About the Author: Jefferson Adams is a freelance health writer who lives in San Francisco and is a frequent author of articles for Celiac.com.


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    I too would like more information about the type of oats used because the information out there is contradictory. I'd also like to mention (after reading the message from Elizabeth, above) that just yesterday I was reading labels at the store and I believe it was Rice Krispies (either the name brand or the generic version) that contained some form of gluten.

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    Though it's a start, again the article didn't explain whether gluten-free oats were used. The problem I've been having (I'm 20 and was only diagnosed a few months ago) is not oats themselves, but the frequent encounters I've been having with contaminated oat products. Also to help Elizabeth out: Rice Krispies DO contain gluten (malt flavoring) - Kellogg's states that they cannot account for any of their products as being gluten-free at this time. This website will give all of you a comprehensive list of popular vendors and the amount of products they have (if any) that contain gluten! Trust me, it's been useful...

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    I am celiac and was confused by the 'oats - no oats' issue, so I tested it on myself. I purchased certified Gluten-Free no contamination oats from Bobs Red Mill and made myself some oatmeal. Then I later became incredibly ill. I had been eating Gluten-Free for some time before this, so I doubt it was a reaction to anything else. About 2 hours after eating the oats I felt like I was dying. Perhaps some celiacs can eat oats, and some cannot? This could explain the confusion...

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    I have been diagnosed with celiac disease a year ago, I have tried to stick to a firm gluten free diet but I still have those pimples all over, I do not suffer stomach pain as much as man…but the pimples are so annoying. To solve the pimples/blisters problems, I have been taken Dapsone, half a pill which helps take away the pimples, but it has many side effects and it does not cure the celiac disease. It has been a roller coaster ride and still is, facing problems in almost everything I eat; I am becoming wary about anything sold in a can? Before I was diagnosed I loved my cereals in the morning more than anything, I am sure all have the same or similar problems.

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    I have read in a few places about research showing oats to be safe for coeliacs as long as they are certified as uncontaminated. I have two children who are desperate for a filling breakfast which Rice Krispies is not. What I have found is that despite the research and their gastro specialist saying that they may eat oats, I have the dieticians warning me against it. The inconsistency is extremely disturbing, and makes me nervous, as I want to do the best for my 2 coeliac children.

    Rice Krispies are not gluten-free. They have a "malt" product in them which means they contain gluten.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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