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Corn Maize Gluten Causes Antibody Response in Celiac Patients

In this research study, testing confirmed that celiacs react to corn glutens independently of wheat.
Competition ELISA and preabsorption tests indicated that antibody reaction to maize storage proteins did not simply result from cross-reaction of antigliadin antibodies.


Clin Chim Acta. 1991 Dec 31;204(1-3):109-22. Getting the diagnosis of gluten sensitivity often sends a person to the gluten free aisles of the grocery store in search for substitute breads, cereals, and pastas. Many grab corn based products under two false and dangerous assumptions:
  1. That corn is gluten free
  2. Or that the gluten in corn is different from the gluten in other grain and is therefore safe.
A number of studies have shown that gluten sensitive individuals react to corn. Many going gluten free do not respond well to the traditional gluten free diet because they are still getting gluten. Corn gluten… Don’t be fooled by all of those who would justify the use of corn in spite of their own health. If you are gluten sensitive and want vibrant good health, you need to remove corn and it’s dangerous glutens from your diet as well. Remember that the corn industry will continue to try to sell you the lie. Remember that gluten research is still in its infancy. About 40 new damaging gluten proteins were just discovered this year. If you are on a traditional gluten free diet but remain sick with problems that won’t resolve, consider a TRUE gluten free diet… I have personally treated thousands of patients with gluten sensitivity. Those who continue the consumption of corn based products always have worse outcomes. All the best, Dr. Osborne

44 Responses

  1. I removed gluten from my diet about 6 months ago. I initially ate anything that was labeled “Gluten Free” but I soon found out not everything was truly gluten free. Corn was the main culprit. It gave me exactly the same side effects as wheat gluten did. Now I can’t have any form of corn: corn syrup, corn starch or corn meal. Since removing corn, I have noticed a huge improvement. I am interested in knowing what other foods out there have gluten too.

  2. corn makes me react in the same way as any other gluten, I get very sick. My gluten reaction is as if I have a stomach flu for at least 4 days. It is almost immediate after eating gluten.

  3. Dr. Osborne, you have made sweeping conclusions from what is essentially an inconclusive study that was never repeated. There are multiple published gluten challenge studies where celiacs eating corn on a gluten-free diet have no mucosal damage on biopsy and no elevation of antibodies. As with oats, it is not reasonable to assume that all celiacs react adversely to corn and people should not be encouraged to limit their diets beyond what is necessary for good health. Also, please consider that some of the corn reactions are to the allergenic bacterial proteins introduced by genetic modification.

    1. Concerned PhD,
      I appreciate your comment. If you watched the videos and read the rest of the information provided on the site, you would see that all of these issues are discussed and addressed.
      You do not delineate between celiac and gluten sensitivity. It is important to note that the two are distinctly different. Lab testing (antibodies and biopsies) are inadequate clinical tools and poor gold standards for diagnosing patients. False negative findings utilizing this approach are common. As a clinician with experience treating thousands of gluten sensitive patients, I see that corn whether it be gluten, genetic manipulation, pesticides, etc is a problem.
      I would encourage you to read and listen to more of the information on Gluten Free Society, as it is the most comprehensive site on the web discussing all of the aspects of gluten.
      Thanks for chiming in,
      Dr. O

      1. I found your website just after eating some corn crackers. I was perfectly fine for almost 6 months entirely avoiding gluten after a first episode of diverticulitis which led me to be very cautious with what i was eating. After I noticed that barley had given me some intestinal spasmas and consecutive diarrhea, i looked further into what exactly has gluten (i though it was only the wheat family that had) and found corn. Since I had bought corn crackers recently (not a regular buy) i decided to try and immediately got a high. I should add that the barley also gave me a high, for almost two days, since I had it as a salad for dinner and as a muesli for breakfast.
        I have also noticed that my sensitivity is increased by any toxin intake, be it a coffee or a glass of wine (more than 1 of and of these makes me so down/weak that I take 2 days to recover).
        thanks for your website.

        1. I should add: during the diverticulitis episode, I have had all sort of tests, for gluten sensitivity, including coloscopy and endoscopy with biopsies and nothing was found.
          I must say that stopping gluten returned me my focus/concentration, which had been going up and down without me understanding why.

    2. Well I’m celiac and can’t have corn so if anyone can have corn they aren’t celiac they are just slightly sensitive and not allergic.i react to 100 % organic grains of any kind.xx.

      1. Thank you for this information! I have problems with corn, too. I had not eaten it in months, got some gf bagels certified- made of brown rice, and viola! I’m sick again. Headache, nausea, low grade fever again,mind fog, diarrhea. Fun times! I have tested this more than ten times with various corn containing gf foods as everyone kept insisting “celiacs can eat corn.”
        I suppose for non celiacs, it might sound hard to believe. But I know my body and my body does NOT like corn, particularly corn starch. Will never eat it again. I’ve had enough of being sick. And I’ve had quite enough of not being believed. Having Celiac is hellish enough without people insisting what your body warns against is wrong. Sigh.

    3. I’m no t allergic to corn.i have a gluten reaction to anything corn derived and oat.even glute free ones..I’m non celiac gluten sensitive.

    4. Too many people rely on these tests when they can’t explain why so many people are reacting the exact same way with corn. My daughter who is 9 years old reacts to corn as well. She can’t eat it. She ends up with sharp stomach pains and it is really horrible for her.

  4. About 3 years ago I recognized that I was sensitive to wheat [gluten] (…so much for my favorite homemade WW bread recipe of 35 years) and went traditionally gluten-free. Wow!, the brain fog I didn’t even realize I was in lifted and I started losing the stubborn extra weight without trying. However, I kept getting more and more sensitive to other foods and chemicals and was frustrated with feeling “overloaded” and tired. Then, about a year ago, the trauma of a car accident sent my already touchy immune system into “full nuclear” mode and I started having severe reactions to many more foods and chemicals, especially corn — if I eat even one taste of corn or soy I literally pass out for a while and then have brain fog and physical exhaustion for days. Not fun. A few months ago, thanks to the additional information and encouragement I found on this site, I went completely grain-free. Woohoo! Finally I feel like I’m getting myself back together again, plus immediately I went down 2+ pants sized in 4 weeks. Whatever it takes to reclaim your well-being, DO IT no matter what anyone else thinks. Grain-free is one thing that works for me.

  5. To a concerned PhD..
    You need to not accuse Dr. Osborne of anything, but need to do research of your own. Dr. O is correct in stating corn can be a huge issue for celiac/gluten intolerants. It’s an individual decision for people to believe or not believe. also, how many diagnosed celiacs actually do not react to gluten either? Most of them were diagnosed celiac by accident. Many do not have symptoms..just as many celiacs may not have a symptom from corn, yet may be damaging their systems no less.

    Oats often times are an issue for celiacs too, as is soy. I truly believe that many of us react to all glutens, not just the ones we originally were told to worry about. The research is finally being done.

    I am much healthier with no grains in my life, as are many others.

  6. To the conserned PHD:

    I am so fed up of people like you who do not have a problem injesting any type of gluten and despite this give everyone who does a hard time with your armchair expertise.

    Just becuase you are a “PHD” does not mean you know what is correct. If you take the time to read the posts put up by people who have sufferred for years with this condition, you will read that once they removed foods containing corn that their health improved. AND these people also were on what they were told was a gluten free diet.

    If people are still not well and on a supposedly gluten free diet then ut is great that they can access this type of informatin. I have been very sick for years and people think I am making this up and faking. They tease me at dinner parties and when I go out to eat – and it is becuase of epople like you who say that people who cannot have gluten can eat this or that when in fact they cannot.
    You do not have a clue what you are talking about. People have to right to access information that will help them when they have been on a gluten free diet and are still not well. You will never know what this is like and how you become socail otucast ebcuase of it.

    1. Thank you i feel the same.i cant eat any gluten free cakes etc with corn ingredients regardless of how it is phrased nor can i eat gluten free oats.people think im making excuses but it makes me so ill

  7. After 1 year of going grain free, I made the mistake of buying an organic can of tomatoes with citric acid. The next morning after eating those tomatoes with my homemade bean soup, my husband found me vomiting. I called Muir Glen and they confirmed that their citric acid was derived from corn. Corn to my family is poison.

  8. Please folks, the “Concerned PhD” has a point: celiacs MAY be OK with corn.
    And they may not.
    The Concerned PhD may be right in saying that celiacs eating corn on a gluten-free diet have no mucosal damage on biopsy and no elevation of antibodies.
    However, their health may improve in OTHER ways on a corn-free diet.
    I agree that simply assuming that a celiac can’t eat corn may be a bad idea. Being corn-free is a MAJOR pain. It means you can’t eat most processed foods or use most toothpaste. Etc. etc.
    The only way I know to diagnose corn sensitivity is by doing a careful elimination diet and then, food challenges. Probably, that will tell you if corn is a problem for YOU.

    1. @ Laura,
      Not True. Corn gluten has been a problem for celiacs in every study ever conducted on corn gluten. I think the MAJOR pain is being in denial and maintaining an illness that doesn’t have to be.

  9. I looked on Medline, including the abstract of the study you cited, and I don’t see anything indicating that ALL celiacs have a problem with corn.
    Celiacs on a mailing list told me they lost their sensitivity to foods other than wheat, barley and rye, after 5-10 years of being gluten-free. Since corn doesn’t cause the intestinal damage that wheat does, if they can eat corn without symptoms there is no reason to think it’s unhealthy for them.
    Probably, many celiacs are corn-sensitive and don’t know it, because it’s so hard to avoid corn. So, I do understand your point about denial.
    A gastroenterologist once told me that mostly, celiacs seemed to do fine unless they get {wheat, barley, rye} gluten.

  10. Laura,
    Why do you persist? The articles cited above discuss celiacs and corn reaction. So either you didn’t read them all or you are just being stubborn. Corn can cause intestinal damage. It is one of the know foods that induce intestinal permeability.

    Symptoms are not always present directly when eating a detrimental food. Ask you gastro doc about the term “silent celiac”. Most celiacs go through life without the proper diagnosis until the damage is irreversible.

  11. I’ve been suffering from coeliac since I was a small child but wasn’t diagnosed until I was over 40 years of age. Recently, I have been suffering from an incredibly painful burning mouth and lips with facial tingling and numbness. After eating some gluten free caramel squares on 2 occasions which gave me a severe GI upset I have realised that the common ingredient in this snack and other foodstuffs is corn. I will be avoiding it in future if I’m aware of its presence in food, which is another nightmare ingredient to look out for 🙁 thank you so much for this site!

  12. My child has wheat allergy diagnosed by blood test. What would be the next step or recommendation for removing all gluten as well?

  13. A few Months ago my 2 yr old daughter broke out with psoriasis all over her arms and legs. Horrified I took to the Internet to learn her skins reaction was most likely due to gluten. Once I changed her diet and mine as well her psoriasis cleared up! I’m still very new to this and learning more every day, but what are the key differences between ciliac, gluten sensitivity and gluten allergies? And is there any way I can kinda pin point what’s going on with my daughter with out genetic testing? Currently I only have part time work and no health ins. The costs of testing I can’t afford. I just want to make sure I’m not poisoning my family still unknowingly until I can get an offical diagnosis.

  14. I was diagnosed Coeliac almost three years ago, and like many others on this site, inspire of going gluten free, felt unwell. Unfortunately it has taken until a month ago to find out why-all grains seem to upset me. I had IgG tests done us the biofeedback test for food intolerances and have spent lots of money with a Nutritionist with a special interest in Coeliac Disease. It is frustrating, infuriating and extremely upsetting to eat when you feel as if you’re playing Russian Roulette with food. I recently Googled going grain free, read so many similar stories to mine and decided to try it. I could almost cry – I cannot believe how much better I feel. It took 8 years to be diagnosed and another 2.5 of eating corn, quinoa and other grains before I found out that done of us can’t eat grains. Not even my Nutritionist seemed to know this info.

  15. I am an undiagnosed celiac who has been on a gluten free diet for about 12 years (symptoms+family history+no health insurance=process of self discovery). I feel fortunate to have had to learn about celiac disease the hard way. I had to pay close attention to my body to identify what I could eat or not, because my only access to medical advice was and similar sites (in 200, there were not many). Corn, quinoa and gf oats are off-limits to me. As are milk products, peanuts, hazelnuts (read: just about all sweets). Because of continued issues, I found this site and am delving further into sources of corn I never knew existed.

    In 12 years I have learned one thing well: medical experts speak in generalities. They have to. Their knowledge is incomplete (but improving). In contrast, human beings do not live general lives, in generic bodies. We are all slightly different. We are each our own gold standard and we all have difficulties allowing that our experiences may not be the same as another with similar issues.

    Be patient and kind, hear out Concerned PhD and Dr. O… Watch how these things play out in your own life, and make decisions based on what works for you. Sometimes you have no clue what to do, and following the advice of another is a good way to go down a new path you would not have discovered on your own. But never abdicate your responsibility to your own health. No doctor or health practitioner lives inside your body. And nothing anyone believes can override what your body is doing. Not even you (perhaps God could, but why when He gave you this challenge in the first place)…

    Educate yourself, make your own decisions, accept responsibility for your own health (only you can). Keep your mind open to new information, and listen to your body.

    If you feel socially ostracized for being gluten free, look at your own mindset. In my life, people respond more to me than to my weird diet. I noticed they were looking to me to show them this isn’t a big deal, it’s just life on life’s terms. I built coping mechanisms. I bring my own food or eat before an event so as not to burden others or feel deprived or miss our on the fun. When asked what I can eat, I make a light joke. “I can eat fresh meat and vegetables… And maybe dirt” I do not burden others with feeding me or accommodating my diet. If I still feel socially ostracized, I look at the people around me… Is my diet the only issue here? I doubt it.

    Surround yourself with people who like you for you.

    Have a healthy and glorious year!

  16. Correction: in the first paragraph, “200” should be “2000”… “(in 2000 there were not many)”

    Thanks 🙂


  17. I am very new to being gluten and soy intolerant. Had genetic test results done last july. Also have been lactose intolerant for at least 10 years. Besides adjusting to the shock of this impact to my food choices I have started making deliberate choices about what I eat. Immediate impact has been no more migranes. I’ve had them every 3 to4 weeks lasting several days for over 10 years probably longer. I still cannot believe that this changed so immediately after I made gluten and soy free choices. Conversations above talk about corn gluten issues also. My research is just beginning and it appears that any processed food product is suspect. I have always been one that shops the “outside” food aisles yet the more information I find such as on this website the more I can’t help but wonder how did we let the food industry get to this level? I read THe Jungle and Fast FoodNation…and have started reading a few basics on gluten free living. If soy and corn are so bad for us how did these products get into absolutely every product out thereincluding toothpaste and vitamins? I would appreciate Dr Osbournes insight on the issue and an basic explanation on what an intolerance is vs celibacy disease. Thank you!

  18. Last October, out of the blue, I began having explosive diarrhea that went on for a total of about 2 months. First they did a blood test and put me on a course of antibiotics even though they said everything looked OK on the blood test. The problem continued. Next they did a stool study, and again, everything looked fine. But my doctor put me on Welchol thinking I had a bile problem since I have not had a gallbladder since 1997. He had me stop my Nexium, Atelvia and anything else not necessary. No change. He had me go on a bland diet. I had boiled potato, toast, rice, a little white chicken, banana, applesauce, chicken broth, etc. No change. He then had me go dairy free for a couple weeks. No change. The watery diarrhea, which was hitting me at least 8 or 10 times a day, was still going on. I decided to stop eating bread or wheat. And over the course of a couple weeks, the diarrhea subsided! My doctor told me I was Gluten Intolerant. I stayed religiously on a “gluten free” diet. Oats never bothered me or corn, so I enjoyed corn chips and popcorn and things with corn starch and corn syrup and oats and rice. Everything was going along great and my symptoms were in check. And then BOOM, almost 3 weeks ago, the old explosive diarrhea hit me again like a ton of bricks. Imodium does not touch it! My doctor said to stop taking my Nexium and if that had not approved things in about 10 days to call him. It has been a week and no change except for added heartburn. In the meantime, I was due for my every 5 years colonoscopy so I was set up for the prelimary appointment at the gastroenterologist’s office, which is not until May 7th. And I have appointment to see my GP doctor April 23rd.

    I am guessing that I need to stop eating all forms of corn, soy…. all grains? I am at my wit’s end and getting so weak and tired. This morning at Wal-Mart I told my husband my head felt funny… kind of ditzy or slightly dizzy or something. I continued to follow him around the store and finally, in the food section, I told him, “I think I need some gatorade!” We picked up a bottle and by the time we got to the check stand, I opened the bottle and drank nearly 1/3 of a 32 oz bottle, guzzling it down I was so thirsty! I finished the bottle in about 10 minutes as we headed home, about 5 minutes later, I told my husband, “I think I am starting to feel better!” He was concerned and was not sure how that was possible after only 15 minutes. I think I was dehydrated!

    I am glad I found this group!

  19. My daughter and I both have Celiac. However, neither of us react in any way to corn gluten. My daughter also has Juvenile Diabetes. So we can really see the effect of her diet. The slightest side effect or feeling of unwell send her numbers soaring. So far there is no correlation with corn for us.

  20. I went gluten free just over three years ago. At the time that meant eliminating wheat, barley, oats and rye. The last three weren’t too hard to give up but I knew I had to find a starchy carbohydrate replacement for wheat or I’d be starving. I decided to replace wheat with corn, white rice and brown rice. Once I got my pantry in order and went gluten free my digestive issues resolved very quickly. Twenty four hours after going gluten free I had my first solid BM in years! I had also been having acid reflux once or twice per month. I haven’t had acid reflux in over three years. And the dreaded brain fog lifted as well as fatigue. I was thrilled with all the improvements and dedicated myself to a gluten free lifestyle.

    Then about one year ago I noticed some of the old symptoms returning. My BMs were not normal and brain fog hit me so hard at times I couldn’t focus or be productive. When I wasn’t burdened by terrible brain fog I did more research. That’s when I discovered Dr. Osborne and the Gluten Free Society and learned that corn and rice I’d been eating were the likely culprits in my health problems at the time. Thank God for Dr. Osborne!

    Long story short I decided to cut out all grains from my diet as well as dairy. That led me to the Paleo Diet which I tried for over six months, or at least a variation. It was so hard to get enough calories for energy on the Paleo Diet I supplemented it with an experimental “cheat” white rice meal about every four days. The occasional starchy carb infusion of rice was helpful for my energy but eventually evolved into a daily routine which made me feel sick again.

    I cut white rice out of my diet almost three weeks ago and decided to supplement my Paleo Diet with dried beans; black beans, lentils, pinto Beans and also split peas. So far so good. The beans are a great source of energy and are very nutritious (for those of you concerned about gas the key is to very thoroughly rinse the beans a second time after they are cooked). My energy is back and I even did 90 minutes of vigorous mountain biking yesterday!

    The past three years have been a heck of a learning experience and I hope what I’ve mentioned here will benefit someone. In addition to being gluten intolerant I’ve also learned that I’m sensitive to nightshades so have cut way back on tomatoes and peppers in particular. It seems that hot sauce made with cayenne peppers is the absolute worst for me! And these days my diet has evolved to be virtually 100% whole foods. Except for meats and beans all of my grocery shopping is done in the produce section.

    I encourage anyone who thinks that they may be gluten intolerant to rethink the way they eat and to avoid ALL processed foods. It’s a learning curve and an adjustment but the benefits are tremendous. I’m in my early 50’s and believe that with the knowledge I’ve amassed, largely thanks to Dr. Osborne, I’ll be able to able to age free of pharmaceuticals and without degenerative disease. Here’s to good health for us all! God bless!

  21. I know its a year since the last entry but am supposing this is still a valid site. I live in New Zealand and alot of gluten free breads, cookies, mueslis etc commercially made have corn flakes, maize starch and cornmeal in them. Corn chip bags have gluten free on them while made of cornmeal. I also have a potato problem so watch nightshade family of which blue berries are one also. We in New Zealand were brought up with a standard main meal of meat, potatoes and vege plus lots of bread. I have always had aching legs, fatigue, strength but no stamina, itchy skin and more. Have removed these things from my diet. I do have autoimmune kidneh disease and autoimmune skin problem which im hoping removing these foods will stabilize. My legs are alot better already. I belong to Dr Osbornes gluten free society andnget regular updates from him. His information is amazing and life changing. Thankyou.

  22. Hi all, I have recently realised I am at least gluten intolerant after talking about my “when you gotta go, you really gotta go” with my brother. Test results not back just yet but I know from a stint off and then back on wheat products prior to the test that I am destined to be off wheat at least. Just wanted to say, that avoiding corn is not hard once you get into the habit of cooking fresh, and avoiding all packet food. This may seem impossible but has already been a reality for my half-chinese family now for several years. I simply said no noodles or bread, and stick to rice and fresh dishes that was most of my diet anyway. Having previously rejected all packet food except alcohol, there is little left to do. This info may not be helpful to everyone, but it should be helpful to learn a bunch of super simple chinese dishes off YouTube and books.

  23. Can anybody please tell me if they react to eating chicken. I am ceilac, dairyfree and in last few 2eeks have realised cannot tolerate maize or corn. I have felt so poorly , lost weight and feel weak. Have noticed when have chicken have same reaction. I know it sounds mad but could it be to do with the chicken eating corn and maize?

    1. Actually Karen I can..after my diagnosis of celiacs being a bit dim I eliminated corn oats etc because I assumed they had glutin in..being told later they hadn’t reintroduced them to my diet and suffered like yourself…further down the line..corn fed chicken..didn’t like the sound of it but MMM…delicious..and boom gluten intolletance reaction…happened three times I tried it..on reflection they were all bought by my soon to be x partner…hmmm..anyway listen to your body first and last and always

  24. Hi I am newly diognosed with celiac and have found you pages amazing. I was just wondering if I could still eat potatos, seeds and honey? I’ve noticed these foods are not mentioned?

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