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Another Study Okays Oats for Celiac Patients 03/26/2008 - According to the results of a recent study, adults with diet-treated celiac disease show no elevation in anti-avenin IgA by oats. Celiac disease is effectively treated with a gluten-free diet that is free of wheat, rye, barley and related grains. While it is well known that wheat, rye and barley trigger the disease, for decades there has been controversy about the safety of oats.

Recent evidence from a number of studies has supported the idea that oats are safe for people with celiac disease. In several countries, oats are now on the list of safe foods for people with celiac disease. The studies on oats and celiac disease have had various designs, but most have been small, and often with high patient drop-out rates. To date, there has only been a single randomized and double-blinded study measuring the effects of oats on celiac patients. The studies have been nearly unanimous in concluding that consumption of oats is safe to celiac disease patients.

Most of these clinical studies have assessed blood histology in reaction to oats, or measured normalization after patients had been diagnosed with celiac disease and were already following gluten-free diets. Three large studies from Finland have investigated the effect of dietary oats and their influence on antibody levels to wheat gluten and to tissue transglutaminase. Previous studies have shown that people with untreated celiac disease show elevated IgA antibodies in reaction oat avenins. However, only one study on treated celiac disease patients has investigated IgA antibodies to oats.

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Researchers know of just three confirmed cases of active celiac disease flaring up again in adults after these people ingested oats, which indicates that intolerance to oats among celiacs may be rare, but also may in fact have some role to play in celiac disease. It also points to the need for clinical monitoring of celiac disease patients who eat oats.

A research team made up of Vigdis Guttormsen, Astrid Løvik, Asta Bye; Jorunn Bratlie, Lars Mørkrid, and Knut E. A. Lundin recently conducted a small study to determine whether treated adult celiac disease patients who ate oats showed elevated levels if IgA. The research team compared blood samples of 136 adult patients with treated celiac disease against 139 controls. The team used ELISA to test the blood samples to measure IgA against oats avenin, wheat gliadin and tissue trans-glutaminase.

Eighty-two of the celiac disease patients had been eating oats as part of their gluten-free diet for 6 months or more.  Both the oats-eating and non-oats-eating celiac disease patients showed no significant differences in IgA against oats. However, both groups did show elevated levels of IgA against wheat, oats and tissue tTG compared to healthy controls. The groups also showed a significant positive correlation between anti-avenin and antigliadin IgA (pB0.0001), and between anti-avenin and anti-tissue transglutaminase IgA (p 0.0012).

The researchers concluded that eating oats does not cause increased levels of IgA in adult celiac disease patients on a gluten-free diet. The findings support the notion that most adult celiac disease patients can tolerate oats.

Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 43:2, 161 - 165. welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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9 Responses:

k bard
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said this on
29 Mar 2008 7:51:53 PM PST
Very clear and helpful. I've been eating oatmeal for over a year, having been on the gluten free diet for 10 years. No ill effects, ever.

Harry Nichoalds
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said this on
30 Mar 2008 5:15:58 PM PST
I have been on a strict (99-100%) gluten free diet for over 25 years. Ii'm over 80....I've waited for word on oats...thank you.

Tara W

said this on
01 Apr 2008 10:51:46 AM PST
I've reacted to oatmeal before. I have read that in the U.S. most oats are processed on the same equipment that's used for wheat processing and that the amount of gluten contamination can vary widely. I have found that I can tolerate organic oats with no problem -- maybe because it's processed more carefully?

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said this on
03 Sep 2012 5:51:45 AM PST
In Norway, the biggest producer of oat products ("Bjørn Havregryn"), have a gluten-free variant of oat grains for making oat porridge. This is guaranteed to be produced in a clean environment, and that means no wheat or other gluten products are produced by a nearby field, and it is processed in a clean environment that is not contaminated by gluten products.

Frank D
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said this on
15 Apr 2008 2:19:38 PM PST
Since I was diagnosed 5 years ago after 40 years of mistakes I have been eating oats. I try not to eat anything that was processed on machinery that process wheat. For me it is not worth the risk. I do not ever want to feel that way again.

Jamia H
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said this on
02 May 2008 6:11:25 PM PST
I knew I reacted to oats, and looked forward to obtaining gluten-free oatmeal. However, I also reacted to the certified gluten-free (expensive!) oats as well, with symptoms quite similar to what happens when I've eaten gluten. Although avenin sensitivity may be rare, it is obviously present for me!

Kristin J
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said this on
23 Mar 2010 2:17:06 PM PST
I'm oat sensitive, too, and learned the hard way. I tried a whole bowl of the certified gluten free oats for the first time two years after my celiac diagnosis. I was violently ill within two hours of eating them and stayed sick for a week. I used to eat oats daily before being diagnosed with celiac disease. I didn't realize how much more instantly sensitive of the food you can become after your system has healed on the gluten-free diet. I caution those celiacs trying "gluten-free" oats for the first time to start with a very small portion.

Mary T
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said this on
17 Jun 2008 7:44:40 AM PST
When I was diagnosed 4 years ago, I had read about the oatmeal being a safe produce to consume. I continue to eat oatmeal without any side effects. I guess I am one of the lucky ones.

Patti M

said this on
14 Mar 2014 4:33:06 PM PST
I am sensitive to oats. I am now finding that I need to read the label of GF products to see if they contain oats. A lot of producers think that they can now add oats to their recipes and still use the GF label. I was eating a muffin from a new GF bakery and could not figure why I was getting an upset stomach even after I read the label. Turns out they use oats in some of their products and this was a cross contamination. It was really good though - too bad.

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Yes, you can eat bananas but only on Sunday. Kidding. Peter has it right. Most fruits, veggies and meats are naturally gluten-free. The problem for celiacs are grains including wheat, rye, barley, and oats (only some celiacs react to oats). Any food though can be contaminated with thos...

Bananas are naturally gluten-free. Fruits do not contain gluten, nor do vegetables. Gluten is found in grain, and you won't likely find that in the produce department. Enjoy, and welcome aboard.

I'm new to this site. Had one test come back + and just had another one done yesterday. Just wondering are Celiac able to eat bananas.

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That this not the same thing at all! It?s a rinse in the laundry. Even if it didn?t rinse all the way out, you aren?t trailing flour around the house. There is no reason for people to over react and make life harder. Most of us don?t want to live like that! If this sort of thing w...