Dr Marsh says beer is OK!

I have watched with interest the first of the lectures from the GF Summit, the interview with the renowned godfather of coeliac disease Dr Marsh. At approx 1 hour and 5 or 6 minutes in I almost fell off my chair with disbelief (and gratitude!) to hear that in Dr Marsh's opinion there is no scientific or clinical evidence to stop drinking beer on a GF diet. He means proper English beer i.e. barley based bitter or stout, not wheat beer/lager, at least that's what I understood him to mean. Anyone else listen to that? I'm not dreaming...?

26 Replies

  • No. You're not dreaming. I heard him say that too. :-)

  • I heard it! Not sure that I am willing to believe it though.

    If you listen to Cynthia Kupper's presentation she says something completely different (look for it about two thirds the way through).

    Overall I found Dr marshes presentation extremely interesting and I was able to keep up with the technical jargon most of the time.

    I also thought that David Perlmutter's talk was good. He talks about tTG6 and how that is a very different marker for NCGS to the tTG2 antibody test commonly used to diagnose coeliac disease (if I have understood correctly!). Surprisingly, he thinks that around 30% of the population could be affected by gluten sensitivity. Thats very different to the 1% we are commonly told about now - which only relates to those with coeliac disease. Definitely worth a listen, but you only have until 2.59pm to hear it..!

  • wow.... I didn't hear but I hope you're not hallucinating...

  • A tip for subsequent days: if you don't have time to listen before 3pm, open several browser windows and start playing (then pause) each video. As long as you keep the browser windows open you will be able to view the content later.

  • So now Coeliac's can drink beer made from Barley, twaddle I bleed with barley & rye and suffer in other ways with wheat. It cannot be disputed that I am a Coeliac but do not fit the criteria being dished out to others. So what is Coeliac Disease all about to=day I am getting rather confused, no two medical opinions are the same. Now it looks like I am drifting into the diabetic stage as well as the lactose intolerance.

  • This does seem to be a rather surprising turn of events? Are they saying gluten sensitivity applies only to wheat and not barley - then what about rye? And what about all those who can't tolerate oats and corn? Or iis there some specific process to barley beer and stout that reduces the gluten component? Must admit, I'd want to see some kind of scientific evidence for why this would be the case!

  • I used to work for a British beer company we brewed with barley and all the brewers were adamant that by the time the process is complete there is no gluten in end product so I think there is substance to what he is saying

  • For me it fits with experience, I am not aware of beer having been a culprit before diagnosis whereas one biscuit or a shake of soy sauce would set me off.

  • Well Prof Marsh isn't just any doc, that's why his opinion matters. He was very specific that the beer ban is unnecessary because on all the tests he has done, you cannot extract a measurable amount of gluten from ale. It is not the same as eating the grains.

    I guess it is a bit like all the old school GPs saying eggs are high in cholesterol, yes if you eat the shells!

    He said unequivocally he has never seen any credible clinical evidence that English style beer needs to be eliminated. This is from a man who has monitored thousands of coeliacs.

  • Sorry my last answer was to pretender.

    Lexy, what he said was not about barley being any different, but that the very nature of the English brewing process means beer is OK for us.

  • I'd switch it around Lexy, to all those saying beer is verboten, show us your clinical tests! Because the daddy of diagnosis says it ain't so :-)

  • Jesus it's the one thing I really miss but the migraines, bloating and toilet problems tell me it's not safe.

  • Hi all,

    We saw that one. Not sure if horrified was the right word, but we are certainly confused now. If you didn't get to see it you can read our wrap up on it here deglutenous.com/blog/wrap-u... .



  • Hi Deglutenous Just had a look at your website, well done it is excellent, I think I will have to try the Quinoa breakfast slice. Some people might not have the time to listen to all of the Summit so thank you for writing about the main points covered.

  • Thanks tmoxon, we are glad you like the site. Do give the quinoa breakfast slice a shot, it is very yummy!

  • I was diagnosed by my GP as possibly Coeliac yesterday (with a visit to a specialist pending) so still coming to terms with all of this, but the immediate negative that sprung to mind was: no beer! But I have a preference for ales and stouts anyway, and it seems Dr. Marsh is about as definitive an "OK" as it is possible to get, so good news indeed!

  • I`m not a member of Coeliac UK, but maybe they have a view????? If it really is true that real ale is back on the menu then that`s the best Christmas present anyone`s given me for a long time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hi Just received an email today, assuming all that are signed up for the summit will also receive. In the email Dr O'Bryan advises

    So, in regard to consuming beer on a gluten-free diet, Dr. Michael Marsh is truly the “Godfather of Celiac Disease Diagnosis”, but he would be the first to tell you he is not an expert in which foods work and do not work for each individual on a gluten-free diet. Personally, I urge caution before even thinking about breaking a diet by drinking gluten-containing beer.

  • I agree with you tmoxon, up to a point. We each have to decide what works for us. I am happy to have changed my solids diet and wouldn't go back, but I do miss real ale.

    The point I am most interested in for guiding my personal decision lies in the science: and a general objective of all science is to prove theories. An opinion or guess or theory is baseless if it is not subsequently backed by clinical evidence. And no clinical evidence has been given pointing to there being gluten in beer. If anyone has seen such (published clinical papers not somebody's blog) please PLEASE post a link.

    Having a hunch that beer should contain gluten, because it's made from grains, is not evidence. Coeliac UK putting it in the directory is not evidence. Personal experience is evidence, as part of a broader picture once other possible contamination has been eliminated. And I am sufficiently encouraged by the CLINICAL EVIDENCE of someone of Prof Marsh's renown, that I am prepared to take the risk myself.

    Hell, the NHS insist on making you very ill (stage III atrophy) before they will give a diagnosis, so a few sips of beer is worth trying as far as I'm concerned.

    I have a big "do" this weekend and won't risk it beforehand, but I will have a beer next week and report back.

  • I`ve just listened to the audio of Dr Marsh. Given he`s run a Coeliac clinic for 30 yeas with 300 odd patients and theyl have been given the `all clear` to drink beer (and presumably non have suffered ill effects, otherwise why continue with the advice), then that`s enough empirical evidence for me. My first pint will be used to toast Dr M. Regrettably I am asymptomatic so won`t be in a position to report back on any immediate ill effects. However if I did have symptoms I would still test the water and give it a go. My thanks to DartmoorGuerrila for this post and the best of luck for next week`s trial.

  • When I was first diagnosed I never thought about drinks ( we are talking pre computer days here) I ordered a beer and was so ill afterwards....so I would say unless the beer states gf then it isn't.

    Also there is the contamination in the field and onwards of the barley with other crops.

  • Hi Jill, if Prof Marsh is correct it is the brewing process itself that eliminates gluten therefore contamination of the field crops wouldn't affect it. What he said was he could not find a measurable amount of gluten in the English beers he tested.

    Maybe your issues might have been to do with the pub handling e.g. barrel, tap, even dirty glasses?

    I'm going to have a little of a bottled real ale and see what happens.

  • Obviously people are concerned about this and are looking for evidence. If there is a clinical trial and they are looking for volunteers, I'd just like to say "I'M AVAILABLE. YES, ME!! OVER HERE! YOO HOO!! YES ME. OVER HERE. AVAILABLE ANY TIME..."

  • Hey Claudio, see you in the queue :-)

  • Thanks Claudio for my best laugh of the week so far and of course I'll be able to thank you in person at the trial if I make the short list from the 100s of applicants.

  • Is it to do with putting the mash back? Some brewers do that to enhance the taste (some don't). The mash has the gluten in it, as it was removed early in the brewing process. No mashback- no gluten. I heard this years ago but don't know the truth of it. But hey, Estrella Daura makes me ill so I still avoid everything barley.

    PS. I found a lovely GF beer company in Notts - they send it out by the case.

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