Quinoa makes the grade

By Van Waffle

Summary: Quinoa is a nutritious seed popular in the gluten-free diet. Previous studies involving tissue samples taken from people with celiac disease showed it might cause an immune response.

This British and Spanish study sought to evaluate the safety of quinoa in human patients. Researchers recruited 19 adults with celiac disease and had them add 50 grams of quinoa to their diet for six weeks. Blood tests were taken and gastrointestinal symptoms monitored for all the patients while 10 underwent intestinal biopsies before and after to check for tissue damage.

Conclusion: Despite some initial discomfort in a few participants, they tolerated quinoa well. Overall blood indicators and gut tissue improved, and blood cholesterol dropped. The group study size was small and did not evaluate long-term consumption. While quinoa is already widely considered safe and a valuable addition to the gluten-free diet, this is the first clinical study to show that people with celiac disease tolerate quinoa and may benefit from eating it regularly.


[1] “Gastrointestinal effects of eating quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in celiac patient”, Zevallos VF, Herencia I, Chang F, Donnelly S, Ellis HJ, Ciclitira PJ, #The American Journal of Gastroenterology#, 2014 Feb; 109: 270-8, doi:10.1038/ajg.2013.431

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