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Jane Anderson

Do You React To Alcohol Originally Derived from Gluten Grains?

By May 7, 2013

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Last week's announcement that Blue Ice Vodka is eligible for gluten-free labeling provoked an interesting dichotomy of reaction: some people said it made sense for a vodka made solely of potatoes to earn a gluten-free label, while others said it was ridiculous, since distillation makes all alcohol inherently gluten-free.

There's no doubt there are two camps on this, with some experts (but not all) saying distillation removes the toxic gluten protein, but multiple people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity responding that they do, in fact, react to alcohol derived from gluten grains.

My theory (and I'm in the group that reacts) is that distillation breaks down the gluten protein, but enough fragments remain in the resulting alcohol to cause a reaction anyway. For the record, my reaction to gluten-grain-derived alcohol is mainly neurological in nature -- it feels like the world's worst hangover, even if I've had only a sip or two.

Do you react to alcohol that started out life as gluten grains? Vote in our poll!

Keep up with the latest in the celiac disease/gluten sensitivity world -- sign up for my newsletter, connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter - @AboutCeliac.

Photo Getty Images/Lisa Romerein

May 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm
(1) Donnie says:

I won’t try distilled alcohol made from gluten grains, because I’m sure I would react to it with Celiac symptoms. I can’t drink distilled grain alcohol made from corn, because I’m allergic to corn and have severe reactions to trace amounts. So, I don’t trust the distilled gluten derived alcohols, to not trigger Celiac damage.

June 25, 2013 at 1:36 am
(2) Lynn says:

I get a ‘gluten rash’ and it is like my alarm going off to let me know I’ve had trace gluten, even if my other symptoms could be unclear. If I have anything with distilled alcohol my face flares up. So, that tells me, no matter how many times I read it’s not possible, that yes, there is still some gluten in distilled gluten grain alcohol.

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