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Comprehensive, Randomized Double Blind Study Finds Oats Safe for Children with Celiac Disease

Gut. 2004 May;53(5):649-654

A multi-center Swedish study involving eight separate pediatric clinics looked at 116 children with newly diagnosed celiac disease. The group was randomized into two groups, and one group was given a standard gluten-free diet, while the other was given a standard gluten-free diet that also included oats. The study period was one year, small bowel biopsies were performed at the beginning and end of the study, and serum IgA antigliadin, antiendomysium, and antitissue transglutaminase antibodies were monitored at 0, 3, 6, and 12 months. The median intake of oats for the oat-eating group was 15g per day.

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By the end of the study all patients were in clinical remission for celiac disease. Neither group differed significantly from one another with regard to serology markers or small bowel mucosal architecture (including numbers of intraepithelial lymphocytes). Out of the original 116 children 93 finished the study, and significantly more younger patients withdrew from it than older patients.

The researchers conclude:

"This is the first randomized double blind study showing that the addition of moderate amounts of oats to a gluten-free diet does not prevent clinical or small bowel mucosal healing, or humoral immunological downregulation in coeliac children. This is in accordance with the findings of studies in adult coeliacs and indicates that oats, added to the otherwise gluten-free diet, can be accepted and tolerated by the majority of children with celiac disease."

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