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Is beer completely forbidden for us?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by HowToEscape?, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. HowToEscape?

    HowToEscape? Senior Member

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    I've noticed that often, I can't tolerate even modest amounts of beer or wine. At those time even a couple ounces result in a mild headache, followed by being knocked down, so that I have to lay down for about 2 hours. At other times though, I can slowly have about 8 oz of beer or 2/3 glass of wine without issue. Before I got sick my alcohol tolerance was normal -- didn't drink much, but no problem when I did.

    But I'm wondering if I should avoid all beer, because
    a) obviously I no longer metabolize ethanol normally and
    b) heard somewhere that there may be some issue specifically with beer and ME/CF beyond just metabolizing it slowly

    There's some delightful blackberry wheat bear I haven't finished yet, and I'm stuck inside due to brain fog anyway. Hat to waste that, but if there are subtle longer term (more than a few hours) consequences, away it goes.
  2. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    It's all up to the individual and what s/he tolerates. There's a thread here somewhere discussing someone's improvements with non-alcoholic beer, and other possible health benefits of NA beer. You might want to consider trying that instead of the alcohol versions.
  3. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Or, maybe gluten free beer? Could possibly be the gluten you are reacting to.

    Sushi
  4. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    I tried the AF beer for inflamation, but had to stop it after two weeks. It didn't do anything for pain and I started to go downhill and most importantly, stopped losing weight which I am working on with my new diet.
  5. caledonia

    caledonia

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    It's common for us to have alcohol intolerance problems. I've found that for liquor, 1 thimbleful = 1 shot. You might be able to tolerate a bit more for beer since it's a lower alcohol content.
  6. HowToEscape?

    HowToEscape? Senior Member

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    How would I know if I have gluten intolerance? I tried cutting out all bread for 5 days quite a while, it made no difference. Perhaps there's a gluten tolerance test a doc can administer, but I don't yet suspect I have that issue.

    Alcohol intolerance should be one of the diagnostic tests, along with heat etc. Trying to diagnose us with blood tests is a fool's errand; it's like using a ph strip to test for radioactivity.
    "Nothing to see here. Never mind that blue glow you imagine you see."
  7. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    HowToEscape?

    Gluten intolerance can be tested for but even if it is negative a person can be reacting to gluten--the test isn't that sensitive. It often takes months after cutting out gluten so see results.

    You could always try a small amount of another type of alcohol to check whether it is the alcohol you are reacting to.

    Best,
    Sushi
  8. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

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    Would prove nothing.

    Now I am improved a lot I can drink beer again. When I came home today from shopping I drank a nice cold pilsner. I enjoyed it and it had no bad effects,

    That does not mean I am cured. I still have the disease.
  9. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    The alcohol fermentation process produces a huge range of different compounds. Ethanol is the vast bulk of the product, with small amounts of the other compounds. However, many of these non-ethanol compounds, such as methanol, propanol, ethyl acetate, acetone, etc, are highly undesirable from a health point of view, in almost any quantity, for anybody. (They are also the main causes of the hangover effect.)

    Non-distilled beverage alcohols, such as beer or wine, contains all of these compounds. (Often with some others added, like sulphur based preservatives.)

    Distilled beverage alcohols (ie, spirits, at least the better quality ones,) have had most of those compounds mostly or entirely removed. (Which is part of the reason for distilling.)

    Doesn't mean distilled spirits are harmless, even the cleanest ethanol itself can be a serious problem for patients. Drink enough ethanol and you will feel like crap the next day. But good quality distilled spirits – especially vodka – are likely to be less damaging (for equivalent amounts of ethanol consumed), because you are not getting any, or anywhere near as much, of the other compounds.
  10. vamah

    vamah Senior Member

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    I have had the same types of problems. Beer and wine give me intense headaches, but I can tolerate vodka in small amounts. Beer can contain a lot of yeast, which can be an issue of your stomach bacteria are not good.
  11. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Gluten is in a huge range of products, so just cutting out bread would not guarantee that you were not consuming gluten.

    Like many people here, I have seen great benefit from cutting out gluten and reducing carbs generally.

    Also, you may need to stick with a dietary change and/or supplement regime for weeks or months before experiencing a benefit, and you may need to make a number of changes rather than just one or two. I have found this from many years of failed attempts to treat myself, culminating last year (after 17 years of illness) with apparently finding the right combination at last!
  12. HowToEscape?

    HowToEscape? Senior Member

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    Interesting, that's new to me. I wonder if that means that some of the symptoms we have which are certainly abnormal - I and many other never had the ethanol intolerance before being sick - can't be used diagnostically?
    OR
    does it mean we need to have a laundry list and a percentage -- e.g. 25 common symptoms, and if you have 15 it's concluded as "subject most likely has CF/ME".

    Wouldn't mind recovering enough to enjoy some Islay Scotch.

    ah, wait

    "Distilled beverage alcohols (ie, spirits, at least the better quality ones,) have had most of those compounds mostly or entirely removed."

    Ha! I'll have to try that. "Sorry, I can only drink fine whisky, doctor's orders" ;-)
    Sean likes this.
  13. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I didn't used to be able to tolerate any beer and wine in the first years of illness, but now can drink a beer without ill effect. But I do use non-gluten beer because of being on a gluten free diet.

    Sushi
  14. HowToEscape?

    HowToEscape? Senior Member

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    But sriously

    "methanol, propanol, ethyl acetate, acetone

    Nasty stuff. A few minutes with google brought up that in the case of methanol, that contamination is more likely where fruit was part of the fermented product. But it's also in places you wouldn't expect, such as dried beans. After you cook those beans I'd think any methanol would have boiled off. Most of it anyway ...

    this is from the WHO.
    http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc196.htm
    Methanol has been identified as a volatile component of dried
    legumes with reported levels of 1.5-7.9 mg/kg in beans, 3.6 mg/kg in
    split peas and 4.4 mg/kg in lentils (Lovegren et al., 1979)

    Wine has more CH3OH, which makes sense considering it's made from grapes, possibly including the skin
    Methanol was found at levels of
    6-27 mg/litre in beer, 96-321 mg/litre in wines and 10-220 mg/litre
    in distilled spirits (Greizerstein, 1981).

    One drinks distilled stuff in far smaller amounts than wine (or one has other problems) so net methanol intake is less.

    Eh, I'm not feeling so good about that blackberry witbier. It's only milligrams CH3OH
    plus whatever amounts of other nasty stuff (acetone -- ouch!) but this is one bizarre disease,
    so I'll skip that until I'm in much better shape than now.
  15. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

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    It can help but is not conclusive.

    Something like that till the cause is found and a test is available.

    A major symptom all patients have and is not found in other diseases could be diagnostic.

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