Periodically, we receive inquiries as to whether Avena (Oat) extract contains gluten. To be better informed, we tracked down some helpful information regarding this issue. The research included below may help a person make a more informed decision in regards to their health and well-being, or in making a decision with their practitioners.
After a series of phone calls to various analytical companies, we found ourselves speaking with a researcher at the University of Nebraska where there is a well-developed allergy research program. It was explained to us that the protein in oats, avenin, is "likely safe for gluten-sensitive consumers". This statement we take with our own bit of skepticism. The point made, however, was that even though oats may be safe they are almost always contaminated in the commercial market by other grains that do contain gluten.
We have read elsewhere that the quantity of avenin (how much exists in a particular variety of oats) may be significant for sensitivity. This researcher stated that avenin is the main storage protein in oats and, because of this, the quantity of avenin is not the issue. Rather, the issue is whether the individual is sensitive to avenin or not. As stated, most are not. There is no ELISA test for avenin...the test used to find gluten from wheat. Other biochemical approaches do not quantify the avenin found, so again the avenin quantity becomes non-topical for this discussion.
Galen's Way purchases fresh oats from a grower that saves their own seed. The oats are not mixed into any commercial grains that might contaminate, so we feel confident of the purity of our Avena extact.
While we are happy to have this much clarification, we are left with some sense of unknowing. Concerns around allergic sensitivity seem to require the practitioner and the client to answer the question through their own personal experience.
Gluten-free oats are available from Cream Hill Estates in Quebec.