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New Study Shows Eating Oats Safe for Patients with Celiac Disease 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.

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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 welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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17 Responses:

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said this on
11 Nov 2007 2:16:32 PM PDT
Excellent article and exciting news IF...IF I want to try oats and take the chance that I won't be doubled over in pain for 3-4 days for eating oatmeal's a scary thing. I was always told NO from those who eat oats but maintain an otherwise totally gluten-free diet?? Please share your experiences - good and bad. Thank you.

patsy wood
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said this on
18 Nov 2007 11:56:31 AM PDT
Many thanks, am a new diagnosed celiac disease patient and always glad to read news that I can stil eat some of my 'old' favorites.

Tracy Pyle
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said this on
28 Nov 2007 7:24:40 PM PDT
That was a great article to read. I have to say I was skeptical about the whole you can not eat oats thing because I have the disease as well as my son and neither of us have ever had an adverse reaction to eating anything with oats or oat flour. Actually I was told it was ok in moderation. Again we have had no problems after eating anything containing oats. So for me this article just confirms what I was already sure of. Thanks for the research.

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said this on
12 Dec 2007 8:50:49 PM PDT
Thank you. This article was very helpful.

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said this on
27 Dec 2007 11:27:48 AM PDT
I was diagnosed with celiac disease five years ago and stopped eating oats at that time, according to the then prevailing wisdom. About a year later, research was already indicating that oats might be safe for celiacs and I tried them again with no adverse effects at all. I now have a daily bowl of porridge for breakfast and enjoy the occasional flapjack - they certainly add variety. Good to hear that on-going research has confirmed the earlier indicators!

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said this on
01 Jan 2008 9:24:53 AM PDT
Another study, also done last year, has shown that there is some variance between varieties of oats and their affect on celiacs - some types being distinctly unsafe:
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 22 (4), 528–531.
In vitro tests indicate that certain varieties of oats may be harmful to patients with coeliac disease

Susan Callicoat
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said this on
01 Jan 2008 5:53:49 PM PDT
The first five comments make me feel confident that oats are safe to consume. The 6th comment makes me skeptical. Who is correct? These articles don't clearly state whether oats are safe are unsafe.

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said this on
08 Jan 2008 1:18:03 AM PDT
Please, please be true. I am expecting twins and do not want to take anymore risks. My husband on the other hand is going oats about this information, he just ordered gluten free oats and wants to add them to my diet. I developed Diabetes in my 2nd trimester and oats are highly recommended. No more Gluten Free snacks and or rice for me :(

Stephanie Broyles
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said this on
24 Jan 2008 7:49:25 AM PDT
You don't tell what brands of oats.

Patti Snyder
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said this on
01 Feb 2008 12:12:26 PM PDT
The article sounded promising, but I'm still uncertain about the results of the study with so small a sample.

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said this on
02 Feb 2008 11:04:26 PM PDT
The article does not communicate if this study is on gluten-free oats or regular oats?

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said this on
12 Mar 2008 5:25:32 PM PDT
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.

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said this on
19 Aug 2009 5:48:07 PM PDT
Rice Krispies are not gluten-free. They have a "malt" product in them which means they contain gluten.

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said this on
26 Mar 2008 8:26:07 AM PDT
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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said this on
01 Apr 2008 8:35:30 AM PDT
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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said this on
21 Jul 2008 3:40:38 PM PDT
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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said this on
12 Oct 2008 11:18:55 PM PDT
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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All Activity Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Forum - All Activity

Hi! My daughter is 19 was diagnosed at age 16. It took about 12-18 month s for her to fully heal from the damage and feel "normal" again. Also because of the damage done she had reactions to dairy, so you may want to try no or minimum dairy until youre fully healed. Just a suggestion. Hope you start feeling well soon!

Hi yall! New to this blog, but really glad it exists because I have lots of questions. First off, I'm Allie! I'm 17 and newly diagnosed Celiac after about 3 years of searching for answers. I initially went gluten-free on the recommendation of a friend, I felt better in about a month and then my pediatric gastroenterologist had me do the gluten challenge, and my symptoms were the worst they have ever been, and ones I barely noticed before became very present. I did the biopsy and was diagnosed, it's been about 2 weeks and my symptoms are still pretty bad, although my diet has no known sources of gluten or cross contamination. Wondering if anyone has any input on healing post gluten challenge, any tips or how long it took for you would be quite helpful! Thanks

Might want to look into a keto diet, I have UC on top of celiacs and keto is working great Yeah I have major nerve and brain issues with gluten, gluten ataxia with nerve issues and brain issues. Seems to cause my body to attack my brain and nerve system. My brain stumbles fogs, and starts looping, the confusion causes me to become really irritable, I call it going Mr Hyde. Like my mind will start looping constantly on thoughts and not move driving me literally mad, or it used to. Now days it is primary the numbness anger but the gut issues and sometimes random motor loss limit me motionless to the floor now days for the duration of the major anger effects. Used to be a lot more mental then painful gut. I did a mental trauma post on it on while back where I came out about all my mental issues with gluten.

^^^^^^ good info, tips and tricks^^^^^^^^^ yes, crumbs will make you sick. also, breathing flour/pancake mix, etc that is in the air because eventually, you're going to swallow some.

Hello I was diagnosed Dec 15 of last year and went totally gluten-free the next day. I actually got worse before I got better - it's a steep learning curve - but now, 4 1/2 months later I'm finally seeing improvement. Hang in there.