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Br Med J. 1974 Oct 26; 4(5938): 189–191.
PMCID: PMC1612349

Lack of Harmful Effect of Oats on Small-intestinal Mucosa in Coeliac Disease


It is well established that wheat, rye, and barley are harmful to patients with coeliac disease, but the effect of oats remains in doubt. Four patients with coeliac disease, who had shown complete mucosal recovery after prolonged treatment with a strict gluten-free diet, volunteered to consume oats in addition to their gluten-free diet for a period of one month and were studied by jejunal biopsy before and after the experimental period. The patients remained entirely symptom-free and, more important, the jejunal mucosa was undamaged as judged by appearances under dissecting and light microscopes, quantitative histological studies, and disaccharidase content. It is concluded that oats are harmless to coeliac subjects and can be included in a gluten-free diet.

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Selected References

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  • Anderson CM, Gracey M, Burke V. Coeliac disease. Some still controversial aspects. Arch Dis Child. 1972 Apr;47(252):292–298. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • DICKE WK, WEIJERS HA, VAN DE KAMER JH. Coeliac disease. II. The presence in wheat of a factor having a deleterious effect in cases of coeliac disease. Acta Paediatr. 1953 Jan;42(1):34–42. [PubMed]
  • Dissanayake AS, Truelove SC, Whitehead R. Jejunal mucosal recovery in coeliac disease in relation to the degree of adherence to a gluten-free diet. Q J Med. 1974 Apr;43(170):161–185. [PubMed]
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  • FLETCHER RF, McCRIRICK MY. Gluten-free diets. Br Med J. 1958 Aug 2;2(5091):299–301. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Peña AS, Truelove SC, Whitehead R. Disaccharidase activity and jejunal morphology in coeliac disease. Q J Med. 1972 Oct;41(164):457–476. [PubMed]

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