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What In Wine Causes Headaches

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What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of A White Wine Headache

Sulfites – Why Red Wine Gives You Headaches

Drinking enough water is the most crucial thing you can do. Now is the time to go to the faucet and push yourself to drink two glasses of water straight now. You may also use an over-the-counter pain killer to help alleviate your headache symptoms if necessary.

A headache is usually relieved by using ibuprofen or acetaminophen , which are both pain relievers.

Reducing Your Risk Of Bringing On A Migraine Through Drinking

The UK Chief Medical Officers low risk drinking guidelines are designed to help all adults keep the health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level. However, some migraine sufferers may find even small amounts of certain drinks cause problems for them, so if thats you, its probably best to avoid alcohol drinks altogether. Studies have shown that migraine sufferers may suffer migraine symptoms even at low levels of drinking5.

Red Wine Has Fewer Sulfites Than White

When it comes to sulfite content in wine, York says that white wine has more sulfites than red.

“White wines are made without the presence of skin, so more sulfur dioxide is used to prevent them from browning and oxidizing, while red wine is made with the grape skin, creating a natural antioxidant defense,” York explains.

Organic wine might have lower amounts of sulfites because they eliminate the use additives and preservatives, Amy Goodson, RD, CSSD, a registered dietitian based in Dallas, tells

But regardless of whether the wine is organic, all wine contains histamines, so organic varieties won’t do your symptoms many favors, Dr. Elliott says.

“Organic wine just has purer ingredients, but you can still get allergy-like symptoms from drinking it,” she says.

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The Best Solution Is To Know Your Winemaker

The absolute best way to find the right wine for you is to know your winemaker! Winemakers devoted to making wine with the least intervention possible will likely be shouting it from the rooftops. Look at their website and read about their approach. If you see keywords like organic, biodynamic, handmade and small production you may be on the right path.

If you enjoyed reading this article please add your name to our mailing list HERE. You will be the first to know when new and limited release wines are available, along with fun updates of whats happening on the ranch.

Another Reason Wine May Cause Headaches

How to Avoid Red Wine 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 â 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.

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Why Wine Gives You Headaches And 4 Tips For Avoiding Them

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Theres nothing like sipping a glass of red wine at a gathering of friends on a winter night. Its truly a lovely feeling. But that headache you get afterward? Not lovely at all.

Why do you always seem to get a red wine headache, especially when the person next to you has no issue at all? And what can you do to keep those headaches at bay? Some answers:

What causes a wine headache? Theres disagreement. Some people think the headaches are due to the sulfites either naturally present in wine or added to it by some winemakers as a preservative. But experts say sulfites, which can trigger asthma and allergic reactions, probably dont cause wine headaches.

The real culprit? Likely histamine, which dilates blood vessels, or perhaps tyramine, which constricts and then dilates them and both are naturally found in wine. Red wines, in general, contain more histamine than Champagnes or sparkling wines and those usually contain more histamine than white wines, Dan L. Keiller, MD, told the Wall Street Journal, in an in-depth look at the subject.

Some people lack the enzyme that helps metabolize histamine, which may make them more prone to wine headaches, Keiller noted. Others may experience a boost in blood pressure from tyramine, which is also found in aged cheese, smoked fish and cured meat, and that rise can bring on a headache.

What can you do to prevent it? Lets break this part down into tips:

Red Wine Headaches Vs Wine Hangovers

If you have a pounding headache the next morning, its likely a hangover and not a migraine caused by red wine.

Naturally, drinking wine or any type of alcohol can lead to a hangover headache, but thats more reliant on how much you drink as opposed to what you drink.

Hangovers are mostly caused by alcohols dehydrating properties. Hangover headaches also happen due to the buildup of acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct your body makes when it metabolizes ethanol. This buildup also leads to a throbbing head and flip-flopping stomach.

Bad news if you overindulge with wine: some limited research shows a wine hangover may actually be more intense.

Research from 2013 found wines higher concentrations of fermentation byproducts called congeners may linger in the body longer. This may make your body work harder to break down the ethanol and congeners = feeling more crappy and rundown.

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Are Sulfites The Cause Of Wine Headaches

Also on the bottle is this warning. CONTAINS SULFITES. A-ha! That must be it! Sulfites rank first in scape-goating the headache cause. A fair assumption since its the only thing on the label that has a warning. Okay, so if theres a warning they must be bad. Theyre not. Some sulfites occur naturally during winemaking. Sulfites kill bacteria which keeps your wine safe from becoming vinegar. There is a legal limit to how many sulfites can be added to the wine. Generally theres more sulfites in white wine than in red so that myth is busted if only red wine causes headaches.

Very few people are actually allergic to sulfites. While I would never suggest a no-sulfite wine , opt for small production wines that are organic or biodynamic. They have a lower limit for sulfites and generally are more hands off with their wines. Mass produced wines are pushing all the limits with sulfites to keep the wines alive for as long as possible. A trick to see if its sulfites is by eating dried fruit. There are ten times more sulfites in dried fruit than in red wine. If you can safely eat that, then its probably not sulfites.

How Histamines In Wine Can Cause Headaches

Red Wine Headaches and Sulfites

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

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 â 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.

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Theory : High Alcohol Content

Okay, this sounds obvious. If you drink too much wine, youll get a headache. So, to counteract the headache caused by the alcohol content, drink a glass of water between glasses of wine. You can also manage your intake by drinking one glass of wine per hour.

However, I think most of us are trying to figure out the non-alcohol induced headache. Many have experienced headaches that start within 30 minutes to a few hours of drinking wine. This type of headache likely has nothing to do with the alcohol content. That leads us to the next theory.

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.

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Does Caffeine Help Wine Hangovers

Caffeine in coffee and other caffeinated beverages can be helpful in reducing those wine headaches. Caffeine causes blood vessels to get smaller over a short time period which counteracts the allergic effects of histamines and sulfites. This simple approach is a great place to start when you first start feeling a wine headache coming on.

Is There Such Thing As Sulfite

How Tyramine Contributes to Red Wine Headaches

Contrary to what most people think, it’s actually impossible to get sulfite-free wine. Sulfites are added to wine to help it stay fresh and prevent it from oxidizing. Sulfites are also a natural by-product of the fermentation process that goes into producing wine.

“Sulfites are needed to help prevent bacteria in wine. Wines that are mass-produced tend to use more sulfites than others, but natural wines aren’t the answer,” says Dylan York, a principal sommelier at The Sommelier Society of America, the first professional wine organization in the U.S.

Because winemaking involves a lot of skin contact, you need sulfites to help control the environment, prevent contamination and extend the wine’s shelf life.

“What people should focus on is finding a wine that is made in smaller production and with more care. Look for wines made from farms that follow responsible and sustainable practices, that are organically produced and use biodynamics,” York says.

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Wine Headache Why Do I Have One And How To Get Rid Of It

Picture the following scenario: youre enjoying the evening with friends and family members, sipping a glass of red wine, exchanging stories, and reminiscing over the past. You find yourself having the perfect night out, until you reach home and find your head spinning from an unforgiving wine headache. Wonder who or what is the culprit behind this horrible throbbing and pounding in your head? It is most likely all the red wine you drank earlier in the evening. Not to worry! You are not alone. Red wine headaches are common and most people who drink red wine will fall prey to them at some point in their life. The best you can do is understand why wine causes a headache and what you can do to get rid of it.

Stay Up To Date On What Healthy Means Now

Teague spoke with Dr. Alexander Mauskop, the director and founder of the New York Headache Center located in Manhattan, about the subject: Mauskop said wine-related headaches is actually one of the centers topmost cases, but clarified that his knowledge is limited, and then proceeded to catalogue a number of possible explanations: The type of oak casket used in fermentation may play a role, but its not clear which oak is worse. He then noted that some of those who experience wine-related headaches wonder if they are actually allergic to sulfites. This is rare, he says .

Wine drinkers could be suffering from dehydration, given that alcohol acts as a diuretic , which Mauskop says is the root of the problem for many of his clients. Another explanation may be a depletion of magnesium: Alcohol is a major depleter of magnesium, Mauskop told WSJ. He recommends that chronic headache sufferers seek out 400mg of magnesium supplements per day, and see if that doesnt help.

But despite Mauskops musings, theres not much published research on wine headaches: Teague unearthed a 1988 Lancet study, titled Red Wine as a Cause of Migraine, where two groups of drinkers were asked to drink either red wine or a substitute to see if migraines came exclusively from one or the other. The participants chugged down 300 milliliters, around two glasses, and waited to see if they were affected.

Heres the latest research on alcohol consumption:

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Red Wines With Lower Tannins

Although some types of wine are characteristic of their low tannins, like Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, you are better off hunting the labels or asking your local wine store which wine they would recommend that is low in tannins. Use these wines as a guide, but make sure you know if they are truly low in tannins or not. Certain grapes and certain types of wines can vary in tannin levels depending on where they are from and how they are made.

Do Tannins Cause Wine Headaches

The Truth About Red Wine Headaches (RWH) and How You Can Prevent Them

Bottle still full? It could be tannins. Tannin is a word we dont come across in our everyday life so its natural to assume its this weird thing in wine that is the culprit. So far, there is no definitive link between headaches and tannins in wine. Tannins are actually good for you.

Tannins contain antioxidants that are heart healthy. Tannins are found in tea, coffee, bitter chocolate, and a lot of other bitter foods we eat. But, they also contain flavonoids which in rare cases causes serotonin levels to rise and trigger a headache. If only high tannin wines consistently give you a wine headache then that could be it for you. Easy fix: opt for wines that are lower in tannins like wines from Beaujolais , or grape varieties like Pinot Noir and Cinsault.

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Migraine Triggers Often Work In Combination

Often, its not one particular trigger that sets off your migraine attack but a combination of factors that build up. These could include:

  • Stress: Drinking wine when youre stressed or anxious could produce a headache, while a glass or two when youre happy and relaxed is fine.
  • Dehydration: All alcohol causes some level of dehydration, which is a known trigger for migraines. Sip a glass of water in between each glass of wine to keep dehydration at bay.
  • Hunger: Its an easy mistake to wait too long to eat when youre having a couple of glasses with friends. This causes your blood glucose to dip and is also a common trigger for a migraine episode.
  • Foods: Many social events include snacks that are on the list of foods to avoid, such as fried, fatty finger snacks, nuts, hot dogs and food containing MSG or food dyes. Eating just one of the wrong foods on top of the other factors could set off your migraine.
  • Sun or bright lights: Drinking wine outdoors on a sunny day sounds wonderful, but in reality, it can be a headache waiting to happen. For migraineurs who are light-sensitive, too, a social event indoors under spotlights can also up the ante in favor of an attack.
  • Noise: A vast majority of social events include loud music, and even if they dont, a large number of people in attendance can generate quite a conversation buzz. Add that to your wine sensitivity and the combination could be painful.

Are Sulfates The Culprit Of Red Wine Heachaches

Even in the very best wines sulfites are often added as a preservative to keep wine from spoiling due to bacteria or yeast going awry after bottling. Its a practice common for many foods from dried fruits to fruit juice, packaged grains, most condiments, and beer. But sulfites also occur naturally in many foods, including most fruits and even grapes. As a result, its impossible to drink a truly sulfite free wine. The question instead is, how much has been added?

Its up to the winemaker how much to use. If the winemaker is working with lower quality grapes as a result of poor farming, he or she will have to err on the side of caution and increase the sulfites added to keep the wine drinkable. Frederick Freitag, associate director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, told the Wall Street Journal that sulfites could cause allergy and asthma symptoms, but they dont cause headaches. Instead, most people that feel they have a sulfite allergy may be reacting to other additives in a more commercial wine.

Maybe you have said, When I travel to Europe I can enjoy red wine, headache free because they dont use sulfites. In Europe, there are sulfites in wine, but other additives are strictly regulated, more so than in the United States. Whether in Europe or the United States, small, family run estates tend to rely on hands-on farming with fewer chemical additives.

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