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Are Oats Part of a Safe Gluten-free Diet for Celiac Disease Patients?

Are oats part of a safe gluten-free diet for people on celiac disease? Photo: CC--R. Pavich 05/01/2017 - To avoid symptoms, and promote full gut healing, people with celiac disease should follow a strict gluten-free diet. Oats might increase the nutritional value of a gluten-free diet, but their inclusion for people with celiac disease remains controversial, and data have been conflicting.

A team of researchers recently set out to determine the safety of adding oats to a gluten-free diet for patients with celiac disease. The research team included María Inés Pinto-Sánchez, Natalia Causada-Calo, Premysl Bercik, Alexander C. Ford, Joseph A. Murray, David Armstrong, Carol Semrad, Sonia S. Kupfer, Armin Alaedini, Paul Moayyedi, Daniel A. Leffler, and Elena F. Verdú.

They are variously affiliated with the Department of Medicine, Farncombe Family Digestive Research Institute, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the Leeds Gastroenterology Institute, St. James's University Hospital in Leeds, UK, the Leeds Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at the University of Leeds in Leeds, UK, the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester in Minnesota, US, the Celiac Disease Center at University of Chicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, US, the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, New York City, New York, US, and the Division of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, US.

For their systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical and observational studies, the team searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, and EMBASE databases for clinical trials and observational studies on the effects of including oats in gluten-free diet of celiac patients. The studies reported patient symptoms, serology test results, and histologic assessments. The team used the GRADE approach to assess the evidence.

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Out of 433 total studies, the team found 28 that met their criteria for analysis. Of these, 6 were randomized and 2 were not-randomized controlled trials comprising a total of 661 patients. The remaining studies were observational. All randomized controlled trials used pure, uncontaminated oats.

Their results showed that celiac patients who consumed oats for 12 months experienced no change in symptoms, histologic scores, intraepithelial lymphocyte counts, or serologic test results.

To provide a more authoritative conclusion, they call for clinical double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials, using commonly available oats sourced from different regions.

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2 Responses:

Ryan Callahan
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said this on
09 May 2017 6:47:30 AM PST
I was diagnosed the celiac disease on 1-6- 2012. I am 6 feet 1 inch tall and at that time I weighed 128 pounds and celiac was killing me. On April 28th 2012 just a few months after my diagnosis I ate a gluten-free oat bread sandwich. What happened next was the most excruciating torturous pain I have ever been through in my life and it was a miracle that I survived it. About 20 minutes after eating a sandwich I went into full anaphylaxis and that night I stopped breathing as I went into anaphylactic shock. It was mind-bending torturous pain, and it was all from Oats. Don't go around telling celiacs they can eat oats and that oats are gluten free and safe. Oats digest into a protein that can cause a life-threatening reaction in celiacs just like gluten (gliadin). I should have died that day in April, but I was saved by a miracle of God in the name of Jesus. I cannot even explain to you what that pain was like and what it was like to stop breathing as my heart came to a tight stop. If you are a celiac do yourself a real big favor and never ever ever eat oats again. You don't need them and they are not necessary in your diet just like wheat is not necessary. Most of the doctors don't know what they're talking about when it comes to celiac! Do your own research, listen to your body, understand your pain, and control the dragon that is celiac. The only way to truly diagnose celiac is through diet on the new nation and seeing how your body recovers after. The blood testing and endoscopy are absolutely ridiculous and totally inaccurate. Many people are told by doctors that they don't have celiac after the inaccurate tests are done so they go home continue to gluten and continue to suffer and it is all so utterly ridiculous and sad. Most doctors would rather pump you full of big Pharma drugs then actually help you. If you are a celiac, don't eat oats. You might just save your life.

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said this on
10 May 2017 12:33:00 PM PST
I feel true sympathy with Ryan for his frightening experience. However, as a medical professional I also wonder if he is allergic to oats or possibly something else that was in the bread/sandwich rather than it being a celiac issue since it would be extremely rare to have an anaphylactic reaction with celiac disease. I also disagree about inaccuracy of diagnosing with endoscopy and believe that most gastroenterologists are on top of their game with celiac disease; if not, find a new one! I agree that doing your own research is important as well as taking control of your disease. I personally only use organic oats.

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