The Dreaded Red Wine Headache!
October 7, 2009
All too often do we get people coming into us in store complaining about how red wine gives them a serious headache after only one glass!! Well I’m sure they will be delighted to know that they are not alone in their misery!! Red Wine Headache (otherwise known as RWH) usually comes on after the first glass, and can be accompanied by nausea and getting flushed! But this blog is intended to debunk some myths surrounding this phenomenon! A common explanation for this happening is sulfites! if you look at any bottle of wine you’ll see a warning saying contains sulfites, and because of this people usually assume thats the cause of their headache! But the reality is, it isn’t the cause- many foods contain much higher levels of sulfites than red wine, and only 1% of people are sensitive to sulfites!!
Generally what you’ll be asked when you complain about a wine realted headache is- “did you drink too much???”.
But obviously we can all tell the difference between a problem and a hangover! The second shool of though on RWH is that histamines are the culprit!! Histamines usually affect people who are lacking in a certain enzyme- sounds relatively plausible right? but researchers believe that the amount of histamines found in red wine are nowhere near enough to spark such a reaction!! The most recent victim of blame (and i say victim because innocent till proven guilty!!) is the tannins… the argument is that the tannins naturally bind starch together in the blood system and through some long medical process, which i’m not going to bother writing about because its too long winded, it prevents the flow of blood to the brain and then you have a headache!!! But this theory has not been explred enough to back it up- as in why do tannins affect some people and not others?? But on the off-chance that this is the cause of the dreaded RWH!! Then some reasonable advice would be to avoid any red that is overly oaked!! This is because tannins are not only found naturally in the grape but also in wood, and while they are completely harmless!!! They may still be at the root of this problem some how, so anything that has been aged in oak will have more tannins and therefore could stand more of a chance of giving you a headache!!!
Having said all of this the one shore way i know of too a headache is to consume too much
alcohol…. buuuutttt that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and enjoy as much of it as you can!! And if you enjoy red wine then here are some possible solutions (now i’m no doctor, but these are just some things i found online which make the most sense!)
1: take an anti-histamine before drinkink it… if it doesn’t work then we know whats not causing it…
2: if it is the tannins then they’re certainly not the only guilty one… if it wasn’t for the high alcohol content then tannins wouldn’t cause such a headache! some people suggest drinking a glass of water in between each glass of wine in order to cancel out the alcohol some what…