Lactose Intolerance and Alcohol

By | October 5, 2016

Many people consume alcohol on a daily basis but are unaware of how alcohol can affect them. Today we are discussing how alcohol affects individuals that are lactose intolerant and individuals that are lactose intolerant but also have IBS, ulcerative colitis, chron’s disease or celiac disease.

alcohol, lactose intolerance, ibs, ulceraritive colitis



Does Alcohol affect me if I am Lactose Intolerant?

Consuming alcohol will not affect an individual that is lactose intolerant unless the alcohol consumed contains dairy. 

Which alcoholic drinks contain dairy?

The following alcoholic drinks may contain dairy:

  • Wine: Dairy is used in the production of wine during the fining stage. The dairy is removed from the wine by the final stage of the production. Even though most of the dairy is removed from the wine, individuals that are severely lactose intolerant should be very cautious when consuming wine as traces amount of lactose may be present.
  • Rum: Rum is sometimes mixed with dairy creams that contain dairy. Always read the ingredients if you are unsure
  • Baileys
  • Amarula Creams
  • Pina Coladas
  • White Russians
  • Other Cream Liquors

If you consume alcohol that does not contain dairy but develops symptoms similar to lactose intolerance such as diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea, you could be suffering from alcohol intolerance.

alcohol, lactose intolerance

Alcohol Intolerance

Yes! Alcohol intolerance does exist! Alcohol intolerance occurs when the body cannot break down toxins in the alcohol. Other ingredients in alcohol can also cause alcohol intolerance. These include sulfites or other preservatives, grains such as corn, wheat or rye; or a histamine formed as a byproduct during fermentation or brewing.

In addition to the symptoms above, other symptoms of alcohol intolerance include:

  • Facial redness (flushing)
  • Itchy bumps and redness on skin
  • Worsening of asthma

Many individuals that are lactose intolerance also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Chron’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Celiac Disease. Does alcohol have an effect on these ailments?

IBS and Alcohol

Alcohol can trigger IBS. This is because alcohol is a strong gastrointestinal irritant that causes abdominal pain, bloating and treatment-for-lactose-intoleranceconstipation.

Ulcerative Colitis and Alcohol

Consumption of alcohol causes an aggressive inflammatory response in the gut, decreases the protective molecules in the gut and increases the bowel permeability. This results in the worsening of ulcerative colitis.

Chron’s Disease and Alcohol

Alcohol consumption can result in abdominal pain if consumed by an individual that has chron’s disease. Many individuals that are diagnosed with  chron’s disease have a higher tolerance to alcohol consumption when compared to individuals that suffer from IBS and ulcerative colitis. It is advisable for individuals to drink alcohol with low sugar content and to drink in moderation.

Celiac Disease and Alcohol

Individuals that suffer from celiac disease can drink alcohol that is gluten-free and lactose-free (if you are lactose intolerant). It is important to note that distilled alcohol is gluten-free, because the distilling process removes the gluten proteins. Alcohols that are safe to drink due to distillation include vodka, gin, champagne, scotch and whiskey. Many wines are gluten-free as they are made from grapes, but be careful of wines that contain flour or white seals.

lactose intolerance and alcohol

Final Words…

My advice is that every individual should know their body and be aware of how alcohol affects them. Once you learn your body, you can make your own decision about how much alcohol you can consume, or even consuming alcohol will be good or not. Learning about your body will help you to understand how much alcohol you can tolerate.

Hope this post was helpful and informative. Please feel free to comment in the comment section below



6 thoughts on “Lactose Intolerance and Alcohol

  1. Diego Sánchez

    Hey Uwais,

    Well, I’m glad I’m not lactose intolerant. Not because I drink plenty of alcoholic beverages, but because it is a mayor pain in life. Didn’t know about some of the diseases you wrote about and the interaction they maintain with our body. All knowledge is welcome.

    Cool article man, keep it up.

  2. Sadie Chan

    Hi Uwais,
    Although I do not consume Alcohol on the regular basis, except when there is a Wedding or Private Dinner, it is good to know more about it. I find your post very helpful and informative especially with regards to the various diseases.
    We all know that Alcohol does have a harmful effect on the Human body. However not many know how their body’s reaction and tolerant level when they consume Alcohol.
    Thanks and all the best,
    Sadie Chan

  3. Peter Edwards

    I find this to be a very beneficial site, for those that want to consume alcohol and are lactose intolerant. Though I do not consume alcohol, I do have Coeliac Disease. None the less the information is great site with lots of useful information.

    A great health warning for those unsure about the effects of alcohol consumption.

  4. Nicole

    Very interesting post! I never knew that wine contained trace amounts of lactose! Luckily it doesn’t seem to cause me any problems though.

  5. Adrian Prince

    I’m fortunate that I don’t suffer any of the diseases in your post, but it’s good to be more aware of the effects of alcohol has on the body. I didn’t know that people who are lactose intolerant can be vulnerable to suffer from other diseases.

    It’s good that you are raising awareness of this and I find your post very informative, well done.

  6. john

    This information was very informative. I live with a person with IBS, I did not know that alcohol would have that effect on her. Knowing that some wine and liquors contain some small amounts of lactose is very important, as I have a few friends that are lactose intolerant. It was very important when we went on a week long camping trip.


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