Beer is a popular alcoholic drink that people worldwide have been enjoying for thousands of years (1Trusted Source).
In fact, it's the third most popular beverage behind water and tea (2Trusted Source).
Typically, beer is made using water, hops, yeast, and barley — a grain that contains gluten (3Trusted Source).
This article examines the gluten content of beer and how much gluten is in several main types, as well as whether any are safe for individuals with celiac disease.
How Most Beer is Made
Brewing beer is a complex process involving fermentation.
Beer brewing usually involves four main ingredients (5Trusted Source):
- Water. Typically comprising more than 90% of the final product, water is the main ingredient.
- Hops. This special flower is traditionally added to provide a unique, bitter taste.
- Grain. Serving as a source of sugar for fermentation, the most commonly used grains are barley, wheat, and rye — all of which contain gluten (6Trusted Source).
- Yeast. This live, single-celled organism digests sugar to produce alcohol.
Breweries may also use other grains, flavorings, and additives to give their beer unique colors, tastes, and aromas. Some of these may also contain gluten.
Types of Beer and Gluten Content
Individuals with celiac disease must completely exclude gluten from their diets. In these people, it can damage the intestines, as well as cause stomach pain, diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, and poor absorption of nutrients (7Trusted Source).
That's why it's critical for anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to be aware of the gluten content of their foods and beverages, including beer.
The amount of gluten in beer is measured in parts per million (ppm).
In most countries, food and beverages must contain fewer than 20 ppm of gluten to be considered gluten-free (8Trusted Source).
Most conventionally brewed beer contains far more than 20 ppm of gluten, though the exact amount varies depending on the brewing process and ingredients used.
- Lager: 63 ppm
- Stout: 361 ppm
- Ales: 3,120 ppm
- Wheat beer: 25,920 ppm
As you can see, the most common types of beer contain levels of gluten that are unsafe for people with celiac disease.
Most beer is made using grains and other additives that contain gluten, which makes it unsafe for individuals with celiac disease.
In most countries — including the United States, Canada, and many European countries — beer must have fewer than 20 ppm of gluten to be labeled gluten-free (11Trusted Source).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests most individuals with celiac disease can consume this level of gluten without adverse effects (12Trusted Source).
Additionally, some breweries are dedicated gluten-free facilities to help avoid cross-contamination with gluten during the brewing process.
Other breweries have developed techniques to reduce gluten in traditional, barley-based beer, producing gluten-removed beer (14).
However, there is no guarantee that gluten-removed beer is safe for individuals with celiac disease. Though it has been processed to help reduce the gluten content, there is no reliable test to verify the amount of gluten they contain (15Trusted Source).
For individuals with celiac disease, it's best to stick with varieties labeled gluten-free.
Beer labeled gluten-free is likely safe for individuals with celiac disease. These varieties are made using gluten-free grains in facilities that prevent cross-contamination with gluten.
How to Find Gluten-Free Beer
Ask your local beer vendor to show you their selection of gluten-free beer, then make sure you're buying the right product by reading the packaging carefully.
Look for phrases or symbols indicating the product is gluten-free. Keep in mind that labeling standards vary by country.
If it's not clear whether your beer of choice contains gluten, it may be beneficial to contact the manufacturer directly or choose a different variety with straightforward labeling.
Alternatively, consider opting for wine or distilled liquors, as these are typically gluten-free. However, keep in mind that products vary. Regardless of the beverage you choose, it's best to examine the label carefully.
To make sure you're buying gluten-free beer, carefully read the packaging for regulated phrases or symbols that indicate the product is gluten-free. Many brands will say this explicitly on the label.
The Bottom Line
Most beer contains gluten, as it's traditionally brewed using gluten-containing grains — usually barley, wheat, or rye.
However, there are plenty of gluten-free options. Several varieties are made using gluten-free grains, and many breweries are dedicated gluten-free facilities.
Since most countries abide by strict labeling standards, varieties that bear a regulated gluten-free label are likely safe for individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
- 12 Simple Tips to Help Eliminate Gluten from Your Diet - EcoWatch ›
- Is Wine Gluten-Free? - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
- Federal Judge Orders Trump Admin to Give Native Americans Their ... ›
- Police Were Ready to Shoot Indigenous Pipeline Protesters in ... ›
- Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights Advocates Rally for Wet'suwet'en ... ›
By Tiffany Means
Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.
The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.
- Airborne Coronavirus Transmission Must Be Taken Seriously, 239 ... ›
- Trump Halts WHO Funding Amidst Criticism of His Own Coronavirus ... ›
- Here's Why COVID-19 Can Spread So Easily at Gyms and Fitness ... ›
- Is the New Coronavirus Airborne? A Study From China Finds Evidence ›
By Angela Nicoletti
The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.
- Global Frog Pandemic May Become Even Deadlier as Strains ... ›
- New Species of Diamond Frog Discovered in Remote Pocket of ... ›
- Frogs Are on the Verge of Mass Extinction, Scientists Say - EcoWatch ›
A new analysis by scientists at the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that lemurs and the North Atlantic right whale are on the brink of extinction.
- Trump Admin Denies Endangered Species Protections to Pacific ... ›
- Trump Admin Failed to Protect 241 Species From Extinction ... ›
- New Border Wall Construction Threatens 8 Species With Extinction ... ›
By Julia Vergin
It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
- 8 Ways to Tell if You Are Vitamin D Deficient - EcoWatch ›
- 7 Healthy Foods That Are High in Vitamin D - EcoWatch ›
- 7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common ›
Ocean scientists have been busy creating a global network to understand and measure changes in ocean life. The system will aggregate data from the oceans, climate and human activity to better inform sustainable marine management practices.
EcoWatch sat down with some of the scientists spearheading the collaboration to learn more.
Climate models are predicting faster warming of the North Atlantic Ocean, which will shift the Gulf Stream. NASA
- Could the Climate Crisis Spell the End for Maine Lobster? - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Reasons Why Biodiversity Matters - EcoWatch ›
- World Leaders, Media Ignore Biodiversity Report Detailing Mass ... ›
- The Top 10 Ocean Biodiversity Hotspots to Protect - EcoWatch ›