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Oats and bowel disease: a systematic literature review.

Thies, Frank; Masson, Lindsey F.; Boffetta, Paolo; Kris-Etherton, Penny


Frank Thies

Paolo Boffetta

Penny Kris-Etherton


Whole-grain foods such as oats may protect against colorectal cancer and have benefits on inflammatory bowel disease and coeliac disease. The present study aimed to systematically review the literature describing intervention studies that investigated the effects of oats or oat bran on risk factors for bowel disease. A literature search was conducted using Embase, Medline and the Cochrane library, which identified 654 potential articles. Thirty-eight articles describing twenty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Two studies carried out in participants with a history of colorectal adenomas found no effects of increased oat-bran intake on indirect risk makers for colorectal cancer. One of two interventions with oat bran in patients with ulcerative colitis showed small improvements in the patients' conditions. Most of the eleven studies carried out in adults with coeliac disease showed no negative effects of uncontaminated oat consumption. The fourteen studies carried out in volunteers with no history of bowel disease suggest that oats or oat bran can significantly increase stool weight and decrease constipation, but there is a lack of evidence to support a specific effect of oats on bowel function compared with other cereals. A long-term dietary intake of oats or oat bran could benefit inflammatory bowel disorders, but this remains to be proven. A protective effect on colorectal adenoma and cancer incidence has not yet been convincingly shown. The majority of patients with coeliac disease could consume up to 100 g/d of uncontaminated oats, which would increase the acceptability of, and adherence to, a gluten-free diet.


THIES, F., MASSON, L.F., BOFFETTA, P. and KRIS-ETHERTON, P. 2014. Oats and bowel disease: a systematic literature review. British journal of nutrition [online], 112 (S2), pages s31-S43. Available from:

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Jun 17, 2014
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2014
Publication Date Oct 31, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2020
Journal British journal of nutrition
Print ISSN 0007-1145
Electronic ISSN 1475-2662
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 112
Issue S2
Pages S31-S43
Keywords Oats; Bowel disease; Inflammatory bowel disease; Coeliac disease; Bowel cancer
Public URL


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