Oat is one of the lesser known food intolerances but for many it creates real issues. What is it and what can you do to alleviate symptoms?
Do you suspect that you are suffering from an oat intolerance? Oat intolerance is a form of Celiac Disease, which means that your immune system reacts to certain substances, usually grains, as though they were an enemy, and launch an attack.
Celiac Disease was previously just thought to centre around difficulties with wheat, barley or rye. However, recent studies have shown that this illness also includes oat intolerance. But what exactly causes oat intolerance? What are the symptoms to look out for? And how can you treat it?
Oat intolerance works the same way as other forms of Celiac disease. Its usually caused by a combination of environmental factors and genetics. Sometimes intestinal infection can lead to the condition, and sometimes it emerges on its own. When a person with Celiac disease eats grains, their immune systems go on the war path and release reactive T-cells.
This causes irritation to the intestinal tract, and results in an increase in mucous, and a lessened ability to absorb nutrients. Some symptoms of the illness include: Inflammation or irritation of the bowels, diarrhoea, cramping, constipation, headaches and malnutrition.
If you suspect you may be a sufferer, visit your GP immediately. Your GP will run tests which will involve removing certain foods from your diet for a while to see if the symptoms disappear. These foods will then be re-introduced to see if the symptoms return. If they do, this is usually a good indicator of the condition.
The only way to deal with the condition on a daily basis is to eliminate all foods containing the irritant. This can be challenging, but thankfully for sufferers, there are many foods on the market today that cater to those with special dietary needs. There are also discussion boards online, as well as numerous support groups that offer the opportunity to share experiences with fellow sufferers. If you have real difficulty adjusting your diet, talk to your GP or a qualified nutritionist, who can help.