For the last few years now it’s generally accepted that oats are gluten-free – but it’s the contamination in the processing or in the growing fields that makes them get “glutenized”. So we all know we’re supposed to look for guaranteed gluten-free oats. I still haven’t tried oats with my daughter.  But will a study just published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition change my mind?.

Researchers studied two groups of children, diagnosed with celiac disease and in remission. Officials randomly put them in two groups, one which would add oats back into their diet, and another that would do a full-on gluten challenge including wheat, barley, rye, and…yes…oats. The children were tested twice in two years by looking at “jejuna transglutaminase 2 (or TG2)-targeted IgA-class autoantibody deposits [which researchers consider], a potentially more sensitive disease marker than serum antibodies or conventional histology.”

First – before we go any further – let’s try and make this clearer to us regular folk. The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information explains in celiac patients, gluten “induces the secretion of IgA-class autoantibodies which target tissue transglutaminase (tTG).” And basically if you take away the gluten the tTG-induced antibodies go back down. So this test is looking at those transglutaminase autoantibody deposits left in the small intestine and whether oats causes them.

What the study found was the kids who ate just oats had no significant change in TG2. The deposits stayed the same over a two-year period. “In contrast, during the gluten challenge, the intensity of the deposits clearly increased and decreased again when wheat, rye, and barley were excluded but consumption of oats was continued,” the report said.

Overall conclusion oats didn’t appear to induce a gluten reaction or damage to the mucosal area (lining of small intestine) in celiac children.

I find this study worth knowing about and it is good information for researchers. I don’t exactly see myself grabbing a container of Quaker Oats at my local grocery store any time soon and feeding it to my celiac kids.  Much more research would need to be done.

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