11 Serious Side Effects Of Barley Water

Medically Reviewed by Silky Mahajan, CSN, CDE
By Tanya Choudhary

Barley is well known for its many health benefits. However, are you aware that barley water could have possible side effects? Barley water is made by mixing barley flour with water and is considered one of the healthiest drinks. It cools your body during summers and provides many important nutrients. Read on to know more about the risks of barley water.

11 Side Effects Of Barley Water

But at the same time, barley water can harm us too. Here is a list of barley water side effects you need to go through:

1. Flatus / Intestinal Gas

Barley is a good source of dietary fiber (1). This may cause intestinal gas or flatus (2). The reason behind it is the activities of the beneficial bacteria present in our colon. So, try to limit your barley water intake to prevent gas formation.

2. Stomach

Excessive consumption of barley water may upset the stomach. Barley water can also interact with certain medications leading to stomach upset. In both cases, the stomach irritation can come with minor to major symptoms like pain, cramps, bloating, and sometimes even loose bowels or diarrhea and worsen other IBS symptoms (3).

3. Constipation

If you drink too much barley water, the chances are that you will end up developing chronic constipation. Make sure that you consult your physician in case the problem continues for more than 7 days at a time.

4. Rectal Bleeding

In severe case of constipation, you might experience rectal bleeding with acute pain. Try to avoid consuming this natural laxative in bulk amount to avoid such situations.

5. Fungal Contamination

It has been reported that barley water can lead to fungal contamination from time to time. Certain contaminants found in the malt extract are Trichothecium Roseum and Ochratoxin A (4), (5). These toxins can take a toll on our bones by breaking them down.

6. Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to barley water are also quite common. If you already suffer from hypersensitivity or allergy in the recent past, it is time to regulate your daily consumption of barley water. Or else, you might experience a number of symptoms like rashes, inflammation, hives, irritation as well as swelling of eyes, eyelids, nose, arms, legs, and even anaphylaxis.

7. Bakers’ Asthma

The grain of barley can cause a serious respiratory allergy called ‘bakers’ asthma’ (6). People working in bakeries are prone to this condition. But you can also fall prey to it if you are exposed to lots of barley flour while preparing your barley water. So, be careful.

8. Blocked / Ruptured Esophagus

Being loaded with fiber, barley can harm your esophagus too. Whenever preparing your drink, make sure that you add enough water to the extract of the malt. Otherwise, you may face difficulty in swallowing, which can eventually block or even rupture your esophagus.

9. Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is basically wheat allergy, which is caused due to gluten intolerance (7). Barley contains a huge amount of gluten, thereby making the condition even worse.

10. Reduced Blood Sugar

Overconsumption of barley water can reduce the amount of sugar in your bloodstream (8). If it goes under the normal level, you will develop hypoglycemia. So, try to keep a close eye on your blood sugar level while drinking barley water regularly.

11. Surgical Complications

As barley water can cause a sudden fall in your blood glucose levels (9), you should always take precautions prior to undergoing surgery. It is recommended that you stop having the drink at least 10 to 14 days before going under the knife. It may help you regulate your blood sugar level so that you can keep all sorts of surgical complications at bay.

Barley water is a healthy drink with a rich nutritional value. From controlling blood sugar levels to supporting immune system function, barley water has several health benefits. However, excess intake of barley water may cause side effects. It may cause intestinal gas or flatus, stomach upset, constipation, rectal bleeding, and allergic reactions. In addition, its gluten content may cause issues in people with celiac disease. If you are experiencing any adverse reactions after consuming barley water, stop the intake and consult your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can I store barley water?

You can store barley water in a glass jar upto 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

Is it okay to drink barley water daily?

No, overconsumption of barley water may cause gas and upset the stomach. You can consume barley water a few times a week to reap its benefits.


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  2. Dietary Functional and Total Fiber
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  4. [Effect of pH on the enzymic activity of the fungi Trichothecium roseum and Aspergillus niger hydrolyzing nonstarch polysaccharides]
  5. Ochratoxin A in stored U.S. barley and wheat
  6. A major barley allergen associated with baker’s asthma disease is a glycosylated monomeric inhibitor of insect alpha-amylase: cDNA cloning and chromosomal location of the gene
  7. Celiac disease: From pathophysiology to treatment
  8. Effect of Hordeum vulgare L. (Barley) on blood glucose levels of normal and STZ-induced diabetic rats
  9. Effect of High β-glucan Barley on Postprandial Blood Glucose and Insulin Levels in Type 2 Diabetic Patients
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Tanya is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She specializes in writing articles on ingredients that benefit skin,... more

Silky Mahajan

(MSc, CSN, CDE )
Silky has been practicing nutrition for more than 14 years and is an active member of the Indian Dietetics Association... more