Digestion Q&A by Dr. Lee

Do you know if oat bran contains gluten? And is it OK to eat if I have celiac sprue?

Medical Author Dr. Dennis Lee

Answer:

Gluten is the protein fraction of wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten contains several different types of protein, each with a different arrangement of amino acids. (Proteins are chains of amino acids hooked together.) It is believed that several of these proteins are responsible for the inflammation that causes celiac disease (also known as sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy). The proteins of rice and corn are different from the proteins in gluten and are made up of differently-arranged amino acids. They do not cause inflammation in patients with celiac disease. The arrangement of the amino acids in the proteins from oats is intermediate between those of gluten and the proteins of rice and corn. The most recent studies suggest that oats do not promote inflammation in patients with celiac disease or that only large quantities of oats can do so. One concern with oat flour (and possibly oat bran) is that there may be contamination with wheat, rye, or barley during the process of milling.

Thank you for your question.


Last Editorial Review: 11/14/2006



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