Red wine headache: why it happens

Some people happen to feel a strong headache after drinking red wine.

Beyond the suggestions and a side effect that is often, rightly, associated with alcohol abuse, according to a new study there would also be another explanation.

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What the study says

A study conducted by the University of California and published November 20 in Scientific Reports found a possible link between consumption of red wine, flavanols and headaches.
Specifically, in the dock there would be a specific type of flavanol known as quercetinpresent in red wine and generally considered healthy but which can cause problems during the metabolization process if associated with the alcohol content of the wine.
The study so far has been conducted in the laboratory but the second phase is already ready, i.e. the human trials which will be conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

What in red wine causes headaches

Red wine headache it usually occurs within 30 minutes of drinking a glass and is usually caused by histamines contained in grape skins, tannins and sulphites.
According to the authors of the new study, however, even i flavanoli could be a possible cause of red wine headaches.

In fact it seems that the flavanol quercetinfound in many fruits and vegetables, including the grapes used to make red wine, may affect the way alcohol is metabolized.
The researchers found that a common enzyme that helps metabolize alcohol in red wine, ALDH2, could be affected by the presence of quercetin, interfering with its role in the process.

This disruption of metabolization could increase toxic levels of acetaldehydewhich in turn can cause symptoms such as nausea and headaches.

As study co-author Andrew Waterhouse, PhD, a wine chemist and professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, pointed out, “when quercetin enters the bloodstream, the human body converts it to a different form called quercetin glucuronide, which blocks the metabolism of alcohol.”


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