Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Do Oats Contain Gluten?

This is a “loaded question” to answer if you are the distributor of a product that is classified as “gluten free” in other parts of the world BUT here in Australia we are unable to label it as such. We are asked this question on a daily basis here in the offices at GK Gluten Free Foods, where we are always careful to explain to people why we are unable to label or claim a gluten free status here in Australia.

The following excerpt has come from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.

A large body of scientific evidence accumulated over more than 15 years has proven that oats are completely safe for the vast majority of celiac patients. Oats are not related to gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley and rye. They don’t contain gluten, but rather proteins called avenins that are non-toxic and tolerated by most celiacs (perhaps less than 1% of celiac patients show a reaction to a large amount of oats in their diets).

Oats can be in a celiac’s diet provided they are selected from sources that guarantee a lack of contamination by wheat, rye or barley.

Some who add oats to their diet may experience GI symptoms. This may actually be a result of the increased fiber that oats provide instead of a reaction to the oats themselves.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Molecular and Immunological Characterization of Gluten Proteins Isolated from Oat Cultivars That Differ in Toxicity for Celiac Disease

Molecular and Immunological Characterization of Gluten Proteins Isolated from Oat Cultivars That Differ in Toxicity for Celiac Disease

This is an exert from the US National Library of Medicine – National Institute of Health published Dec 2012

Cultivated oats are hexaploid cereals belonging to the genus Avena L., which is found worldwide in almost all agricultural environments (reviewed by [11]). Recently, oats have been receiving increasing interest as human food, mainly because the cereal could be suitable for consumptions by celiac patients[12]. Oats have other nutritional attributes such as those derived from β-glucan content [13], or the protein amino acid composition [14].

The inclusion of oats in “gluten-free” foods is controversial, as previous studies have shown contradictory results on its toxicity. Some researchers claim that celiac patients can tolerate oats without signs of intestinal inflammation [12]. However, other studies confirm the toxicity of oats in certain types of celiac patients [15], [16]. More recently, the utility of the G12 antibody to identify potentially toxic oat varieties for celiac patients has been reported [17]. This finding allowed classification of oat varieties into three groups based in their degree of affinity for the G12 antibody: a highly recognized group, one of moderate recognition, and one with no reactivity [17]. The reactivity that T-cells isolated from celiac patients exhibited with three oat varieties (one from each of the classified groups) correlated directly with the moAb G12 reactivity. The diversity observed in the reactivity to the different oat cultivars suggests variations in the avenin composition, and therefore in the amount of immunotoxic epitopes similar to the 33-mer present in these varieties.

In comparison with wheat gliadins, the avenins have been little studied, and the number of full avenin genes present at the moment in the databases is limited and from few genotypes, so that the variability of avenin genes in oats is not well represented. With this background, the aim of the present work was to obtain further gene sequences from different toxic and non-toxic varieties of oats in order to provide more information on the structure of avenin genes and on the evolutionary relationships with the prolamins and glutenins of wheat and other cereals. It also would facilitate the identification of toxic epitopes described in other cereals that might be present in oats. Furthermore, these sequences could lead to the discovery of new undescribed toxic epitopes in cereals and explain why certain varieties of oats are toxic for celiac patients and others are not. In this work we demonstrate that oat grains have both monomeric and polymeric avenins, designated in this paper gliadin- and glutenin-like avenins. We found a direct correlation between the immunogenicity of the different varieties of oats and the presence of the specific peptides with a higher/lower potential immunotoxicity. Our results suggest that there is a wide range of variation in the potential immunotoxicity of oat cultivars that could be due to differences in the degree of immunogenicity in their sequences.


Friday, 16 May 2014

Gluten: What You Dont Know Might Kill You

Could a slice of bread be the source of your health problems? Dr. Mark Hyman says yes! He explains in this short video, how a common compound, gluten, found in many foods can trigger chronic disease and even raise your risk of dying—and he tells you how to eliminate it from your diet, safely and easily.

Gluten is a staple in our modern diet. Predominately in wheat based products, breads, cereals, wraps etc...

The scary thing is, 99% of people who have a problem with eating gluten don't even know it.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed and latent Coeliac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer. This study looked at around 30 000 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in 3 groups.

The results showed there was

39% increase of death in those with full blown Coeliac Disease
72% in those with gut inflammation related to gluten
35% increase in risk who had gluten sensitivity

Another study compared the blood of 10 000 people 50 yrs ago to 10 000 people today found that there was a full blown increase in Coeliac Disease by 400%.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Oats – are they gluten-free? by Dr Rodney Ford

Oats – can they be part of a gluten-free diet?

There has been controversy for years as to whether it is okay, or not okay, to eat oats if you are gluten-sensitive.

Clinical studies have now provided very good evidence that oats do “not”damage the gut mucosa in most people who have coeliac disease. Following this, guidelines from some Celiac Societies now accept that moderate amounts of oats “can” be consumed by most coeliacs without risk.

Many experts concerned with coeliac disease have now concluded that oats are “safe” for coeliacs, as long as they limit their consumption to amounts “found to be safe” in these research studies. This quantity is up to one-half cup of dry whole-grain rolled oats per day. Of course, any oats that are consumed need to be free of any contamination from other grains.

Half a cup of oats each day is usually okay

Here is some of the information that this opinion is based on:

A study in Finland looked at 52 coeliacs who were in remission and who had been on a gluten-free diet for more than a year. They all had a duodenal-biopsy, then they ate about 50 grams of oats (half a cup) per day over the next six months. Finally, they had a second biopsy. None of the people had any villus damage.

Your gut can heal whilst eating oats

Another group studied 40 newly diagnosed coeliacs in the same way. As expected, their initial biopsy showed significant villus damage (this was of course because they were still on a gluten-containing diet until they began the study). These people started on their gluten-free diet as well as eating their 50 grams of oats each day for 12 months. At the end of the year, their biopsies showed no damage to their villi. The meaning of this study was that their damaged villi were able to heal while eating oats.

A few people get unwell eating oats

However, other studies have found that not all people with coeliac disease are able to tolerate oats. Especially, those who also have dermatitis herpetiformis. Researchers report that although oats are well tolerated by most coeliacs, they did find a few exceptions. Several people recounted initial abdominal discomfort and bloating. A few patients have been found to eventually develop total villous atrophy during an oat challenge.

Yet another study has investigated 20 adult coeliacs who were in remission, to see if they could eat even larger amounts of oats in their daily gluten-free diet. They consumed about 100 grams (one cup) of uncontaminated rolled oats in their daily diet for ” over a year.” They were tested four times during the study period. This included small bowel endoscopy and blood samples. They experienced no gut symptoms. Also, there were no adverse effects seen in small bowel histology or in their blood test results. The conclusion was that the vast majority of adults with coeliac disease could include large amounts of rolled oats in their diet without problems.

Oats have also been studied in children. A group of ten children with coeliac disease were investigated at the time of their diagnosis. They were put on a gluten-free diet but they were also eating about 25 grams (quarter of a cup) of rolled oats each day. After six months they were tested again. There was improvement in both their small bowel histology and their tissue transglutaminase antibody results.

Children tolerate oats well

However, there is still a word of caution. Oat proteins have been shown to trigger the immune response of cells taken from coeliac people. Therefore, the long-term effects of oat cereal added to a gluten-free diet in children still need to be determined.

Oats are useful fibre

The ability to use oats in your diet gives an important source of fibre as well as other important nutrients. This is very important in children who have other food allergies. If you are also allergic to cow’s milk and eggs, then going gluten-free is a big task. Therefore, if oats can be tolerated, this makes food planning just a little bit easier.

Each person will have to work out whether or not they can tolerate oats for themselves. This needs to be determined both clinically and with follow-up blood tests.

Finally, some gluten experts have expressed some further concerns about oats. These are:

Some food chemistry research studies suggest that avenin protein in oats does have toxic properties.
The purity of oat products in some countries is suspect. Oats and oat products can inadvertently be contaminated with wheat. This can occur during harvesting, milling and processing.
There is a possibility that gut damage from oats takes longer than six to twelve months to show up. Also, symptoms might not be readily apparent to the person.

The possibility that young children might have a higher cross-sensitivity to oats because of their relatively immature immune system.

These are real concerns. It is important that gluten-sensitive people know about the oats story. Whether or not they choose to eat oats, they should be under some sort of regular medical evaluation and supervision. However, the common opinion is that the long-time consumption of oats as part of the gluten-free diet is well tolerated among the vast majority of those with celiac disease.