How Histamines In Wine Can Cause Headaches
When your body encounters an allergen, mast cells in your immune system release chemicals called histamines, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
This triggers the production of antibodies called Immunoglobulin E , which travel to cells and release chemicals that cause headaches, sneezing, stuffy nose and itchy, red eyes.
“When people have some congestion or a scratchy throat after drinking wine, they aren’t allergic to the wine itself but to the histamines in the wine,”Tania Elliott, MD, allergist and clinical instructor of medicine at NYU Langone, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Dr. Elliott says that some people are highly sensitive to histamines because their bodies aren’t able to break it down because they lack a specific enzyme, or they naturally have higher levels of histamine in their blood and drinking wine increases it.
Alcohol also inhibits the enzyme as well as dilates blood vessels a headache-inducing combo, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Histamines are found in many foods and drinks, though. Some histamine foods include packaged and processed foods, fermented foods, smoked meats and cheese. That’s why some people who are highly sensitive to histamines go on a low-histamine diet to help alleviate symptoms, Dr. Elliott says.
Which Drink Is Best For Hangover
Vodka, rum, and gin are low-congener drinks and may slightly reduce the risk of a hangover. Rest: Alcohol can affect sleep quality and sleep may help reduce the fatigue and other symptoms of a hangover. A person concerned about a potential hangover can try drinking a big glass of water and then going to bed.
How Do I Avoid An Attack If I Want Red Wine
The executive chairman of the National Headache Foundation and the director emeritus of the Diamond Headache Clinic, Dr. Seymour Diamond, gives suggestions for trying to avoid the red wine migraine if you are insistent on having a glass. His first piece of advice is to drink the wine with water or to try sipping the wine very slowly, since wine itself can dehydrate you.1 This is logical advice for the consumption of any alcohol since dehydration is part of the hangover. Secondly, he suggests that you consume two strong cups of coffee prior to drinking the red wine in order to constrict your blood vessels and help lower the effect of the tannins.1
Read Also: What Is The Most Keto Friendly Wine
Is There A Solution Or Remedy
The Tribune reports that opting for lighter-colored wines can reduce the effects, since the lighter hue means there are fewer tannins. Also helpful is drinking two cups of coffee prior to drinking red wine, as this will constrict blood vessels and limit migraines. Lastly, the age-old advice of drinking water as you go to stay hydrated can also curb the effects of red wine.
Do you get red wine headaches?
The Red Wine Headache Syndrome
Various studies produced conflicting results on the type of wine that triggers migraines. A European study showed 11% of sufferers claimed red wine as the most common cause, while a French study found 54% of attacks were caused by white wine.
- Red wine contains up to 200 times the amount of histamine than white, which some patients arent able to metabolize easily. This causes an enzyme insufficiency that leads to a vascular syndrome that can trigger a headache.
- Tannins are also present in red wine. These are flavonoids that create the drying effect in the mouth when you sip it. Tannins are believed to enhance serotonin levels, which is a brain chemical associated with migraine in some people. You can test the effect of tannins on yourself by steeping a cup of black tea for a long time, then drinking it. This will flood your system with a higher dose of tannin than usual. If it leaves you migraine-free, then the tannins in your wine are not to blame for your headaches.
- Red wine contains tyramine, which is found in foods such as figs, chocolate, avocados and cheese as well. It consists of the chemical monoamine, and is broken down in the body by an enzyme called monoamine oxidase . Various anti-depressants contain MOA inhibitors, which prevents your system from metabolizing the tyramine properly. Its wise to limit your consumption of products containing tyramine if youre taking MOA-inhibiting drugs.
Read Also: Safari Wine Tours Malibu
What Home Remedy Is Good For A Headache From Alcohol
The most effective hangover remedies include eating carbohydrates, salty foods, eggs, or bananas.
Headaches Relieved By Orgasm
Research shows that, in some cases, orgasm can actually relieve a headache. In a 2013 study, 60% of people with migraine reported that sexual activity improved how they felt during a migraine attack . Some study participants reported that they used sexual activity as a “therapeutic tool.”
The same study showed that sexual activity can sometimes relieve cluster headaches as well. Just over a third of study participants reported an improvement of cluster headache attack, while 50% reported worsening.
Recommended Reading: Is Woodbridge Wine Gluten Free
How Little Is Enough To Make An Impact The Next Day
Like so many other answers to science questions, it depends. Body weight and gender are very important factors. While five to eight drinks for the average man, and three to five drinks for the average woman, are enough to cause some degree of hangover, specific effects will vary greatly between individuals. Certain ethnic groups have a genetically reduced ability to break down acetaldehyde, the main byproduct of alcohol, as it is first processed in the liver. This results in more reddening of the skin and hangovers at lower amounts of alcohol.
People prone to migraines tend to have more problems with hangovers. People who drink alcohol regularly, or those who are taking certain specific medications that affect liver enzymes, may metabolize alcohol more quickly, having fewer problems with intoxication and hangover as a result. Conversely, there are many medications that interfere with the breakdown of alcohol and acetaldehyde, worsening the consequences of drinking. A thin, Japanese teetotaling woman taking prescription painkillers will clearly have more problems with a few drinks than a 250 pound linebacker who regularly drinks four beers a night.
Are There Any Effective Treatments
If youve consumed too much alcohol and have to work the next day, what do you do? In short, you suffer, and so does your job performance. Thinking about calling in sick? Youll be in good company. Estimates of lost revenues due to reduced job productivity and absenteeism from alcohol run as high as $148 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Much of this expense is related to hangovers in light to moderate drinkers.
A quick Google search for “hangover cure OR treatment OR remedy OR prevention pulls up over 2 million webpages. There are countless commercial products and homemade recipes with wildly unsubstantiated and pseudoscientific claims of benefits. It is important to note that a recent study from the British Medical Journal concluded that there was essentially no substantial scientific evidence that any substance has proven effectiveness in preventing or treating a hangover. That being said, the authors themselves admit that very few well-designed scientific studies have ever been conducted on the subject, so it is more than possible that some of these unproven treatments might work.
Heres some advice on what to do after an evening of overdoing it:
The very best prevention of a hangover? Dont drink. The best cure? Time.
Recommended Reading: Skinny Wine Calories
Remove The Sulfites & Tannins With A Drop
Did you know that roughly 36 million adults in the United States suffer from some sort of wine intolerance or experience wine headaches? These issues are sometimes closely correlated to the sulfites and tannins found in bottles of wine.
Sulfites are used to preserve the wine and prevent the wine’s oxidationwhich helps it to taste good. Tannins are generally found in red wine and make the wine taste dry.
Whether you experience wine headaches or not due to sulfites and tannins, there are products you can buy that eliminate them! DROP IT is a good example of one. With a drop or two, you can remove both the sulfites and the tannins without sacrificing the taste of the wineand saving you from awful wine headaches later.
Another Reason Wine May Cause Headaches
When your blood alcohol content drops significantly after a heavy night of drinking, you start to experience hangover symptoms, which include headaches, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Limiting your intake of wine and staying hydrated with water as you drink alcohol can help reduce your risks of developing a headache and a hangover. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women stick to one alcoholic drink daily and men up to two alcoholic drinks.
FYI, a five-ounce glass of wine is considered one serving.
York notes that there are many different reasons you might get a headache after drinking wine that aren’t directly related to the wine itself.
“We all have different intolerances and sensitivities. Your headache could be related to what you ate with your glass of red wine maybe it’s the creamy sauce in your pasta. So it’s important to consider all of these factors before assuming it’s the wine,” he says.
Read Also: Tomasello Wine Where To Buy
What Can You Do To Avoid A Wine Headache
If youve identified wine as a common headache trigger, your best bet might be to avoid drinking wine. That could mean no more reds, no more whites, or no more wine at all.
On the other hand, if your headaches are bearable and youre willing to risk it, you may want to experiment with different types of wine. You may be able to separate the offending wines from those that dont trigger a headache.
Wines are made with a variety of grapes, preservatives, and other ingredients, so keep track as you go. Choose high quality wines and only drink a small amount until youre sure how that wine affects you.
Any type of alcohol can lead to a headache, especially if you overindulge.
If you drink alcohol, the
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine Headaches
The classic migraine is a one-sided severe, throbbing headache that may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Before a migraine begins, affected individuals can experience premonitions or prodromes that can occur several hours or even a day or two before the headaches begin. While they indicate that a migraine is coming, they are not considered auras . These premonitions may include feelings of elation or intense energy, carbohydrate cravings, excessive hunger or thirst, and sleepiness, irritability or depression.
Once a migraine begins, headache pain worsens with physical activity and usually interferes with normal functioning. The frequency and intensity of migraine vary from person to person. The headaches can occur from once or twice a year to several times a month.
Recommended Reading: What Wine Has The Lowest Calories
Sulfites: Innocent Or Evil
A lot of people might be thinking as they read this: Wait a minuteI already know the answer. Isnt the culprit sulfites?
The short answer is no. Those compounds have been used in wine production since antiquity to prevent spoilage and to keep reds bright and whites from browning. Theyre also a natural by-product of fermentation, so a truly sulfite-free wine is actually an impossibility. Since 1987, wine labels in the US have been required to disclose whether bottles contain sulfite levels of 10 parts per million or greater, a measure introduced to protect the small percentage of the populationabout one person in a hundredthat is truly allergic to sulfites. But scientists have found no link between sulfites in wine and headaches. In fact, for people who have this allergy, the typical response is not a headache but hives and difficulty breathing. Whats more, white wines generally have more added sulfites than reds.
What Is The Culprit
SELF reports that tannins a stabilizing agent present in grape skins, seeds, and stems are likely responsible for the migraines. Generally speaking, red wine has a higher concentration of tannins since the skin is kept in the fermentation process, unlike white wine where it is removed. There are some studies that link drinking alcohol with higher levels of tannins and bad hangovers, but more research needs to be done to prove tannins are solely responsible.
Dr. Frederick G. Freitag, a headache specialist and associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, told the Chicago Tribune last year that tannins are responsible for migraines, as is tyramine an amino acid that is produced by the fermentation process of wine. This naturally occurring substance has been known to trigger migraine headaches in individuals unable to break down the amino acid.
Recommended Reading: Where Can I Buy Outlander Wine
Best Wine For Migraine
Again, this can be completely individual and depend on what you’re sensitive to. Histamine or tannin sensitive? You might find full-bodied red wines are a trigger. Can’t do moscato or champagne? Could be a sulfite issue as high levels of sugars increase that content. However, we are so quick to blame sulfites but what really gets missed is what is NOT on the label – added flavorings.
Many mass-produced wines like Kendall Jackson or Beringer have clients that expect the same flavor year after year. But real grapes don’t produce that same flavor every year. The flavor of those grapes can significantly depend on the weather that year – droughts, too much rain, too much sun. So how do wine brands get around this so you can have that big buttery flavor in your KJ chardonnay – flavorings. The FDA doesn’t require these to be labeled on wine like they do sulfites, but they definitely exist.
Other factors include how the winery treats the grapes. Are they spraying lots of pesticides? Do they include rotted grapes in their batches? These are all little things that could potentially filter down to a trigger for someone with migraine. To my surprise, there are a few really quality red wines I can consume without the wine wand, just because of how well they’re made. So how do you find wine like this? A little research! Here are a few things to take note of.
It’s All In The Genes
Biogenic amines, a group of chemicals produced during fermentation, include headache-linked substances such as histamine and tyramine. While amine content varies widely in wine, it tends to be higher in reds than whites. So are these compounds the villains?
Dr. Sami Bahna, at the Allergy & Immunology department of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, explains that genetics may impair some drinkers ability to metabolize histamine and its brethren. This means more amines make their way from the belly to the bloodstream, which can lead to symptoms such as facial flushing and, indeed, headaches.
But if youre amine-sensitive, you also have other foods to worry about: Aged cheeses, cured meats and dried fruits can all trigger reactions. Which means the next time you go to a party, that sexy charcuterie platter overflowing with runny Taleggio and gamey soppressataand so nice with a glass of redmay only work to intensify the headache youre headed toward.
Read Also: What Is A Substitute For Shaoxing Wine
Hangover Vs Red Wine Migraine
The first thing to know is the difference between a hangover headache and a red wine-induced migraine.
Hangovers symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, thirst and dryness of mouth, tremors, dizziness, fatigue, and muscle cramps happen because the body is digesting alcohol. According to Scientific American, wine is a type of liquor that can produce severe hangovers.
Head pain caused by red wine is different from a hangover in one crucial way: it does not take place after heavy drinking. Those who get migraines from red wine can get pain after just a single serving and its usually triggered by a sensitivity to the wine.
One drink of red wine can trigger a migraine if youre sensitive to it, but one glass of red wine probably isnt going to give you a hangover, Lawrence Newman, neurologist and director of the division of headache medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, told SELF.
Migraines Vs Regular Headaches
Many often confuse migraines for regular headaches and vice versa. While all headaches might seem the same, there is a big difference between a migraine and a regular one. A regular headache usually causes a feeling of pressure in your head, especially near your temples. These often form because of tension or sinus problems.
Migraines are usually much more severe. Sometimes they can be so excruciating that medical help is needed. There are two main types of migraines: aura and non-aura. An aura migraine occurs when a person gets a strange sensation in their body, such as a lack of smell or taste, a few minutes before the migraine strikes. Sometimes these sensations might even occur a few days before the migraine actually happens.
On the other hand, a non-aura migraine doesnt involve these sensations. However, these are usually rare because most people experience aura migraines.
Recommended Reading: Which Wine Has The Least Amount Of Calories
Drink Water In Between Glasses
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that you’ll experience dehydration as you consume it. Diuretics increase the production of your urine, resulting in frequent trips to the bathroom as the water in your body is flushed out. Keep your body hydrated by having a glass of water in between each glass of wine. That way you’ll avoid drinking an excessive amount, which reduces the chance of getting wine headaches or even a hangover in the morning. Plus, your body will stay nice and hydrated!