Oats are an excellent snack and bring several nutritional benefits. But if you feel unwell and have itchy skin or stomach problems after consuming a bowl of oats, you might be experiencing Oat Intolerance Symptoms. Oat intolerance is often a trigger to your immunity system.
Depending on the level of sensitivity, your body can experience mild to severe symptoms when coming in contact with oats or consuming oats. Oat Intolerance Symptoms are different from wheat intolerance ones as the constituent of wheat that triggers the immune response is gluten, whereas, in oats, it is the protein avenin.
More than 20% of people worldwide have some kind of food allergy or intolerance . This forms a sizable chunk of the population, and as some allergy flare-ups are more aggressive than the others, you need to know which ones relate to what allergy to manage your sensitivities well.
Sometimes what you might term as oat intolerance could be a reaction to gluten. Even though oats don’t contain gluten, they are usually manufactured alongside other grains with gluten (like rye), and your intolerance could be the result of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination like this often results in misdiagnosis. To know the difference, you can read more on symptoms of gluten intolerance.
What Is Oat Intolerance?
Oats have a protein called avenin that is excellent for manufacturing new cells and muscular build-up, but certain individuals can either develop or have a hereditary sensitivity towards avenin.
Oat intolerance triggers your body’s immune system releasing antibodies to fight off avenin, which the body now views as a threat. Like other food items, oat intolerance leads to the production of Immunoglobulin G or IgG antibodies in the body. Severe allergies trigger the release of Immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies that exhibit a much more violent response .
Oat intolerance can trigger several reactions, from itchy skin to watery eyes. While some symptoms might be more violent than others, knowing and managing your condition is the best option. If you experience severe symptoms like anaphylactic shock, you will need immediate help from your doctor. Anaphylactic shock occurs on rare occasions, and it’s usually a sign of a severe allergic reaction rather than intolerance. It occurs approximately one hour after consumption.
If you’re intolerant to oats or you think you might have an allergy to them, you should always check labels on products for avenin, oats, and oat powder.
It is dire to know when you or someone else is having an anaphylactic shock in order to get immediate help. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include; hives, itchy skin, trouble breathing or wheezing, diarrhoea, vomiting, swollen throat or tongue, fainting, dizziness, weak, rapid pulse, and a drop in blood pressure. Although one might not get all these symptoms at once, if you or someone else has most of these symptoms, the simplest way to get help is to call 911 or your doctor if that’s easier.
7 Worst Oat Intolerance Symptoms
Avenin or oat exposure can trigger an autoimmune response from the body, and an individual can experience the Oat Intolerance Symptoms that include:
- Blotchy, irritated, itchy skin
- Rash or skin irritation on and in the mouth
- Scratchy throat
- Runny nose or Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes
- Common cough
Unfortunately many of these symptoms can look like Covid, so we have helped you further understand the difference here.
Other less common but oat related symptoms include:
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty breathing
Different people can experience different symptoms, but if your symptoms are similar to any of these, then chances are you might be allergic to oats. Mild sensitivity can trigger a runny nose or a scratchy throat. Still, a serious one is accompanied by difficulty breathing as the nasal passages swell up and can also exhibit symptoms like rashes and uncontrollable itches.
If the exposure is not reduced, the symptoms can further flare up and last for hours. Physical contact usually leads to skin-related symptoms, while consumption is accompanied by respiratory, digestive, and skin-related ones.
When children have a reaction due to wheat consumption, they experience a protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). FPIES affects the gastrointestinal tract causing symptoms like vomiting, dehydration, diarrhoea, and poor growth. If this condition drags on for a long time or is severe, it can lead to starvation and lethargy. Multiple foods can also lead to FPIES besides oats.
Oat allergy is different from most other allergies as most other food-related allergies focus on gluten, something commonly found in wheat. If the oats are grown in the same field as wheat or rye, then gluten allergy symptoms can also appear, making it impossible to diagnose the allergy by symptoms alone.
How Can I Diagnose Oat Intolerance?
Oat Intolerance Symptoms are not conclusive evidence for the presence of oat intolerance, and one must always depend upon scientific inquiry when possible. Thankfully, a simple blood test can diagnose oat intolerance alongside countless other allergies that an individual might have. If you take this test, not only will you know whether you’re intolerant to oats, but you will also know any other intolerances you might have and weren’t aware of.
Test sample kits can also be ordered online and allow individuals to manage their allergies in a meaningful manner that doesn’t disrupt their daily life or compromise their quality of life. Once you receive the kit in your mail, all you’ll have to do is collect your sample as instructed in the manual then mail it back to the lab. In the lab, experienced technicians will look at your sample and compare it to many other common food intolerances, and you will get an email in seven days with your results.
Oat intolerances are painful, especially when left undiagnosed. Regularly consuming anything that your body has shown a reaction to is dangerous, and can cause severe side effects like disorders, infertility and even sight issues. Getting tested is important, but also a handy way to eat without worry. Imagine how simple mealtimes for your family would be if you print the results from an allergy and Intolerance test and pin them to your fridge? Or go to a restaurant, pull the Healthy Stuff app out of your pocket and order stress-free? Test Your Intolerance are the team to help get you there.
About the Author
Kate Young is a clinical bio scientist and embryologist in both clinical NHS hospitals and private laboratories in the UK and Japan. She graduated with a BSc in Human Biological Studies from Leicester University, moved to Japan in 2006, where she specialized in IVF and embryology.
The early years of her career included Lab supervisor at Nottingham City Hospital’s Sperm Bank and Product Research and Development Technician at Boots PLC in Nottingham, testing sunscreen SPF’s and non-irritant baby products before focusing her expertise in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) and Genetics, which became her passion. You can find more about Kate, Healthy Stuff Lab Manager, here.
- TJCuk, J. R. Biesiekierski, P. Schmid-Grendelmeier and D. Pohl, “Food Intolerances,” Nutrients, 2019.
- Platts-Mills, T. Schuyler, A. J. Erwin, E. A. Commins and S. P. &. W. J. A., “IgE in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disease,” The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, pp. 1662-1670, 2016.