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Why Does Wine Give You A Headache?
Have you ever been in the middle of a great night of wine drinking when you’re suddenly slammed with an ungodly headache? If so, you are not alone. Many people suffer from headaches when they drink wine. The good news is that nothing is wrong with the people who get wine headaches. The problem lies within the wine itself.
For over 20 years, the common belief was that sulfites (the liquid form of sulfur dioxide) were the wine headache culprit. However, a study published in The New York Times disproved that theory. The article proved that the only people who get headaches from excess amounts of sulfite are the people who are allergic to sulfites. Since allergic reactions come with many more symptoms, the sulfite theory is now a moot proposal.
A more promising notion is the idea that histamines cause wine headaches. Histamines are found in nearly every kind of food and plant, and they are very common in anything that has been fermented. When people are affected by histamines, it is not uncommon for their blood vessels to either contract or expands.
If that happens in the head, an instant headache will appear. Since wine is certainly fermented and histamines are undoubtedly present, it would not be a far stretch to assume that wines with more histamines are responsible for those horrible headaches.
A final and very convincing theory is that tannins are the secret ingredient to wine headaches. Tannins are found in the seeds and skins of grapes, and we all know where the wine comes from. When tannins enter the bloodstream, they can trigger a large release of serotonin. That release may lead to an initially happy feeling, but it can also lead to a monstrous headache. This is especially true for people who suffer from frequent headaches and migraines, to begin with.
The definitive reason behind wine headaches is still a bit of a mystery, but scientists are working hard to discover the real cause. Tannins, histamines, or sulfites could be headache triggers, or maybe all three can trigger headaches in different people. Unfortunately, every chemical we can potentially blame is based on nothing more than an educated assumption.
So if you are affected by wine headaches, the best thing for you to do is to make some educated guesses of your own. Try different wines in small quantities and see how your body reacts.
If you drink a glass of wine full of histamines and get a headache twenty minutes later, it is probably safe to say that you should stay away from wines with histamines. The same rule applies if you experience a problem with a wine that contains a lot of sulfites or tannins.
Just use your best judgment and drink up. After all, it is in the name of science!