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Quinoa may be safe grain for people with celiac disease

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TUESDAY, Jan. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The grain quinoa seems safe for people with celiac disease, a new British study suggests.

People with celiac disease have an immune response in the small intestine when they eat the protein gluten, which is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Quinoa is often recommended as part of a gluten-free diet, but prior research in the laboratory had suggested that it might not be good for celiac disease patients.

To help settle the matter, researchers added 50 grams (just under 2 ounces) of quinoa a day to the gluten-free diets of 19 celiac patients for six weeks. The participants were free to choose how they cooked the quinoa. The investigators tracked the participants' health through blood, liver and kidney tests.

Quinoa was well-tolerated by the patients and did not worsen their condition, according to the findings published Jan. 21 in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

"It's important to note that further studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of quinoa consumptions in people with celiac disease," study author Dr. Victor Zevallos, of the gastroenterology department at King's College London in England, said in a journal news release.

"The clinical data [in this study] suggests that daily consumption of quinoa (50 grams) can be safely tolerated by celiac patients," Zevallos concluded.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about celiac disease.

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