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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

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Is Alcohol Dangerous For Celiac
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This is the first time of using this forum so i hope this post is in the correct area for advice.

My daughter, aged 18 has recently been diagnosed with Celiacs. Apart from the ingredients within some beverages, and the 'normal'dangers posed by over indulgence,is she any more vulnerable from alcohol than a non sufferer? One of the reasons for asking is because she appears to be able to consume more alcohol than her friends (non Celiac) without feeling the effects anywhere near as quickly as them. I assume this is something to do with the rate that her body absorbes things? Im also concerned that because she doesn't feel the effects of the alcohol so soon as the others that her body may also dispose of it at a slower rate and therefore make her more vulnerable than others to the 'morning after'drink drive scenario, although she might feel ok to drive she may still be over the limit. Hope this makes sense. As i say we are all very new to all of this and any help, advice you may be able to give or point us in the right direction of will be very much appreciated.

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This is the first time of using this forum so i hope this post is in the correct area for advice.

My daughter, aged 18 has recently been diagnosed with Celiacs. Apart from the ingredients within some beverages, and the 'normal'dangers posed by over indulgence,is she any more vulnerable from alcohol than a non sufferer? One of the reasons for asking is because she appears to be able to consume more alcohol than her friends (non Celiac) without feeling the effects anywhere near as quickly as them. I assume this is something to do with the rate that her body absorbes things? Im also concerned that because she doesn't feel the effects of the alcohol so soon as the others that her body may also dispose of it at a slower rate and therefore make her more vulnerable than others to the 'morning after'drink drive scenario, although she might feel ok to drive she may still be over the limit. Hope this makes sense. As i say we are all very new to all of this and any help, advice you may be able to give or point us in the right direction of will be very much appreciated.

My first question is, what country do you live in? Most USA states have a legal drinking age of 21 though some allow with parental consent (I include this for anyone reading who may not have knowledge of the laws).

If not in the USA, then the answer is, only some alcohol is off-limits to celiacs. Mostly beer, because most beer is brewed with wheat. There are gluten-free beers available.

I think most distilled grains are celiac-safe too, (see a listing here) though some poeple might have individual sensitivities to those.

I doubt her tolerance has much to do with her celiac. I'd say her tolerance has more to do with the fact that she might be drinking more than her friends. The way the body processes alcohol in interesting, and a person who drinks a lot actually develops a tolerance for alcohol because (simplifying the biology here) the parts of cells (endoplasmic reticulum) responsible for detoxification actually increase in response to exposure, so they can make more of the enzymes that deal with drugs/alcohol/poisons. So, it takes more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect in someone who drinks for the "buzz".

So, my biological answer here is, higher consumption is a likely reason for higher tolerance.

Sorry for my poor manners...welcome to the forum! This is a great place to ask questions, glad you found us.

Edited by beachbirdie

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I guess my first question would be, have you both started eating gluten free? I recently posted my own thread about this because I noticed that although I was pretty much a lightweight prior to going gluten free, I've become much more sensitive to alcohol after being on my gluten free diet for a while. I used to be able to have 5 drinks and feel pretty good, now all it takes is 1 glass of wine before I get a heavy buzz. Other people who responded to my thread seemed to have the same issue. Both you and your daughter may become more sensitive to alcohol after you begin your diet. I would strongly suggest to your daughter that she not drink as fast and see how it affects her body. I would hate for her to keep drinking her "normal" amount and then find out that its become too much for her. She may want to join the forum too and speak with some of us on here - we'd be glad to give advice!!

The other suggestion I was given was to try potato vodka, since its distilled differently. People say that it seems to help with the quicker effects and minimizing the increased hangover which we seem to get. I did pick up a bottle last weekend, but I have yet to try it out. Hope this helps!

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I, myself, am much more sensitive to alcohol since going gluten free. I also noticed quite quickly when I first started going gluten free that I could drink and not feel a thing for quite sometime(atleast 3 drinks worth) and then it would hit me all at once. I now limit myself to 2 gluten-free beers and I'm done lol it's the best plan for me, then I'm not putting myself in a lousy situation. 😃

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I also feel that I am much more sensitive to alcohol since going gluten free. I have never been a heavy drinker, just an occasional glass of wine on a saturday night but I find it hits me much quicker and harder then before. I have a strict 2 glass limit no matter what the occasion.

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Thank you all for your responses, very interesting reading. Here in the UK the legal age for consuming alcohol is 18. I know that most parents probably don't like to think that their children are drinking alcohol, but im not being na-eve. She had only started going out to clubs shortly after having been diagnosed with Celiac. Before this she was too unwell and always at home trying to study, in fact, as parents we were more concerned that she wasn't going out with friends, so i know that she wasn't drinking and vary rarely went to parties. I suppose this is one of the reasons for me being concerned now about her alcohol consumption. I don't want it to sound like she's drinking too excess or anything its simply that she tells me that she drinking shots, the same qty of her friends, but she just isn't feeling the effects as they do. When i have picked them up from a club they can hardly stand and my daughter is just quite giggly. The drink drive issue was a concern as i say because i didn't know if having celiac would biologically alter the rate at which her body disposes of alcohol compared to those that don't suffer it. Thanks again.

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Thank you all for your responses, very interesting reading. Here in the UK the legal age for consuming alcohol is 18. I know that most parents probably don't like to think that their children are drinking alcohol, but im not being na-eve. She had only started going out to clubs shortly after having been diagnosed with Celiac. Before this she was too unwell and always at home trying to study, in fact, as parents we were more concerned that she wasn't going out with friends, so i know that she wasn't drinking and vary rarely went to parties. I suppose this is one of the reasons for me being concerned now about her alcohol consumption. I don't want it to sound like she's drinking too excess or anything its simply that she tells me that she drinking shots, the same qty of her friends, but she just isn't feeling the effects as they do. When i have picked them up from a club they can hardly stand and my daughter is just quite giggly. The drink drive issue was a concern as i say because i didn't know if having celiac would biologically alter the rate at which her body disposes of alcohol compared to those that don't suffer it. Thanks again.

Some folks just have a high tolerance for alcohol. That may or may not change the longer she is gluten free. I'm giving away my age here but drinking age in the US was 18 when I was in that age group. I could drink all night and be the only one sober enough to worry about the ride home. I think your concerns about the morning after may be valid. If she is hung-over at all she shouldn't get behind the wheel. There are tables that go by weight and sex and tell you how long it takes to metabolize x amount of alcohol. She could check one of those tables and make sure she stops drinking in at least that number of hours before she has to get up and drive. I don't mean she has to stop the festivities but she could drink something non-alcoholic instead. When I go out I drink rum and coke and if later in the night (or after 1 drink) I switch to plain coke who's to know.

Kudos to you for being the designated driver on nights she goes out.

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Thank you for that. i will try and locate one of the tables that you mention. I like your idea of the rum and coke too.

The next battle is University...She starts her first year in September, with a new group of people, who i hope will be understanding about such matters as eating out for example. I know she fears being left out if the group were to go out for pizza for instance. I would be interested to know if you or others using this forum have experienced difficulty eating out and what tips there might be to deal with it.

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Thank you all for your responses, very interesting reading. Here in the UK the legal age for consuming alcohol is 18. I know that most parents probably don't like to think that their children are drinking alcohol, but im not being na-eve. She had only started going out to clubs shortly after having been diagnosed with Celiac. Before this she was too unwell and always at home trying to study, in fact, as parents we were more concerned that she wasn't going out with friends, so i know that she wasn't drinking and vary rarely went to parties. I suppose this is one of the reasons for me being concerned now about her alcohol consumption. I don't want it to sound like she's drinking too excess or anything its simply that she tells me that she drinking shots, the same qty of her friends, but she just isn't feeling the effects as they do. When i have picked them up from a club they can hardly stand and my daughter is just quite giggly. The drink drive issue was a concern as i say because i didn't know if having celiac would biologically alter the rate at which her body disposes of alcohol compared to those that don't suffer it. Thanks again.

Some folks just have a high tolerance for alcohol. My husband is one, he couldn't get drunk if he tried (and he HAS tried, LOL).

I hope I didn't give the impression that I was disapproving in any way of your daughter's activities. Not at all!

I know alcohol is treated very differently in other parts of the world than it is here in the 'states. It's great that you can be dd's driver. Though it's not "acceptable" here to have young people drinking, we always allowed our kids to have a sip of whatever we were drinking, used it at family and religious occasions, and always talked openly about alcohol. Thankfully my kids are great about taking turns as the designated "sober sam" who can keep an eye on everyone and make sure they get home safely.

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Some folks just have a high tolerance for alcohol. My husband is one, he couldn't get drunk if he tried (and he HAS tried, LOL).

I hope I didn't give the impression that I was disapproving in any way of your daughter's activities. Not at all!

I know alcohol is treated very differently in other parts of the world than it is here in the 'states. It's great that you can be dd's driver. Though it's not "acceptable" here to have young people drinking, we always allowed our kids to have a sip of whatever we were drinking, used it at family and religious occasions, and always talked openly about alcohol. Thankfully my kids are great about taking turns as the designated "sober sam" who can keep an eye on everyone and make sure they get home safely.

No i didn't read it as you were disproving about her activities at all. I think your right to speak about it with your children and let them have a taster too. That's what i did as a youngster and what im doing with my son too otherwise, when they do become of age i think there is more of a risk that they will go over the top. A bit like me at the food bar on the first night of an all inclusive holiday!!!!! :D

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Hi BKA,

Celiac destroys the villi lining the small intestine that absorb nutrients. That;s why untreated celiacs tend to have vitamin deficiencies. After going on the gluten-free diet and healing the gut, vitamin levels tend to normalize, in theory. Assuming alcohol absorption is affected by villi blunting also. it would be slower in untreated celiacs and faster in healed celiacs. That seems to make sense given the responses from people on the thread.

There is some relation between celiac and liver issues, but I don't know how much of a problem it is. We have only had a couple of people on the forum report severe liver issues that I recall. I know that isn't what you were asking, but it seems relevant. It may be that eating gluten cause liver issues in celiacs by itself even with no alcohol involved. It seems to be an area that isn't well understood. At least by me it isn't.

Celiac Disease and Liver Diseases

Liver Disease and Celiac Disease

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There is some relation between celiac and liver issues, but I don't know how much of a problem it is. We have only had a couple of people on the forum report severe liver issues that I recall. I know that isn't what you were asking, but it seems relevant. It may be that eating gluten cause liver issues in celiacs by itself even with no alcohol involved. It seems to be an area that isn't well understood. At least by me it isn't.

It isn't well understood by me either. I do know that the combo of autoimmune liver disease and alcohol cost me my twin at a very young age. I think it is a good idea to keep an eye on the liver panels if someone is drinking alcohol so that if an issue does arise it can be nipped in the bud before irrepairable damage is done. Since the damage can progress faster in young people that would be something to keep in mind on regular doctor visits.

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I don't have time to go dig up references, I'm on my way to the hospital to help my daughter have her baby!

Well, on second thought, here's a quick one: http://glutenfreeworks.com/blog/tag/cirrhosis/. There is plenty of literature supporting the connection between "fatty liver" disease and celiac.

Fatty liver is also known as non-alcoholic cirrhosis.

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I have been gluten free since July. The first time I had a glass of wine I noticed an affect right away. I am definitely affected by alcohol quicker and with less than before going gluten free.

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This is really interesting to me. I hadn't thought of alcohol when diagnosed with celiac, but even when I was in college, I couldn't drink beer. Even just a few gulps would make me sick to my stomach and get a horrible headache. I never thought about the gluten in it. I assumed it was just part of my migraine headache issue.

So I don't know whether this is related to my migraine headache issue (which has gotten dramatically better since going gluten-free, but I can not drink beer or wine. Sometimes I can have a bit of white wine, but some wines affect me as badly as beer. I can drink any kind of distilled drink with no problems, but I have a very low tolerence for alcohol so I never have very much anyway. I've never been able to have anything labeled "malt beverage" for sure. My husband occasionally will get me something that should be fine, like a daquiri beverage, and I've always had to read to see if it says "malt beverage" on it. If something has actual rum, I'm fine.

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This is really interesting to me. I hadn't thought of alcohol when diagnosed with celiac, but even when I was in college, I couldn't drink beer. Even just a few gulps would make me sick to my stomach and get a horrible headache. I never thought about the gluten in it. I assumed it was just part of my migraine headache issue.

So I don't know whether this is related to my migraine headache issue (which has gotten dramatically better since going gluten-free, but I can not drink beer or wine. Sometimes I can have a bit of white wine, but some wines affect me as badly as beer. I can drink any kind of distilled drink with no problems, but I have a very low tolerance for alcohol so I never have very much anyway. I've never been able to have anything labeled "malt beverage" for sure. My husband occasionally will get me something that should be fine, like a daquiri beverage, and I've always had to read to see if it says "malt beverage" on it. If something has actual rum, I'm fine.

Hi NGG,

They do make gluten-free beers now. There are several available. Malt is made from barley, so that is probably the problem you had with it. We need to avoid wheat, barley, and rye, and sometimes people have reactions to oats also.

I can't drink wine either, but it's a reaction to the grapes for me. I also react to raisins and grape juice. Some people react to sulfites in wines, and they are supposed to cause headaches I believe.

It's good your migraines are getting better! :)

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Hi NGG,

They do make gluten-free beers now. There are several available. Malt is made from barley, so that is probably the problem you had with it. We need to avoid wheat, barley, and rye, and sometimes people have reactions to oats also.

I can't drink wine either, but it's a reaction to the grapes for me. I also react to raisins and grape juice. Some people react to sulfites in wines, and they are supposed to cause headaches I believe.

It's good your migraines are getting better! :)

Thanks! Are the gluten-free beers any good? Do they taste like beer or are they really ciders? I've had cider and it's nice.

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Thanks! Are the gluten-free beers any good? Do they taste like beer or are they really ciders? I've had cider and it's nice.

I have had four different ones. They are made from malted sorghum and in no way resemble cider.

I have been gluten-free for over 12 years. When I started my journey, there was no gluten-free beer. By the time the first one became available where I live, it ha been several years since I had had a beer, so I had no recent memory for comparison. But to me, they are like beer. Unfortunately, none of them can replace Guinness. :(

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Redbridge is a gluten free beer made by Budweiser, I think, and it's really kinda crappy, like Budweiser, but I'm a beer snob. Bard's Tale and New Grist are just 'eh'. MY favorite is Green's, the amber ale is a nice light dinner beverage and the dubbel dark is a smooth, mellow, sweet dark lager. I was a Newcastle/Killian's/Guinness girl before, depending on my mood. So finding Green's was a fantastic surprise. You'll freakin pay for it though....

Oh, and put me down as one who gets toasted on two shots of vodka now as opposed to half a liter before....

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I'm so glad I found this post. Before going gluten-free I could drink quite a bit and be a little tipsy but fine and would remember pretty much everything. Even on one or two occassions when I got more than a little tipsy I still remembered just about everything. About a month ago I had quite a bit to drink for my husband's Bday and don't remember a whole chunk of the evening. It freaked me out. I don't like not knowing what I'm doing or what's going on. So I need to be careful. I was wondering if this was normal. Good to know!

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I had a very high alcohol tolerance before diagnosed, and now, instead of having 5 AMF's and being tipsy, I'm at 2 double vodka redbulls and I'm good. I also can't drink wine or cider because of the sulfates, gives me mega migraines. I also can't drink ANYTHING grain based even if it's distilled. I am so sensitive that it gives me epic 3 day migraines and canker sores like crazy. Learned that one the hard way again on Sunday. So I stick to potato or corn based vodkas, agave based tequila, so on and so on. I'll be taking a bartending coarse in October and will know more about alcohol and drinks and I'll make sure to share on here :}

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Yep, i has a surprisingly high (for a tiny lightweight like me) tolerance before I went gluten-free. I could never drink too much beer cause I got so bloaty (now we know why), but I loved it.

After a few months gluten-free, total lightweight!

If our intestines are damaged, we don't absorb alcohol just like we don't absorb nutrients.

Your daughter is probably still not healed completely therefore not absorbing as much, and also, she's young and probably overdoing it a little, but at least she can hold her liqour. It would be good to mention that, as her gut heals, that could change, so she should be careful.

RE: cider. I'll be in the UK again in Nov, and highly looking forward to a good pint of cloudy perry. mmmmmm....

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