Wine Headaches: The Histamine Factor

One of the factors contributing to wine headaches is Histamines, naturally occurring compounds found in wine. Wine, which is a beloved beverage enjoyed for centuries, is made from fermented grapes. It is praised for its complex flavors and ability to enhance meals and social gatherings. However, some may experience adverse effects after indulging, such as these headaches. 

In this article, we will explore the relationship between Histamines in wine and headaches, shedding light on why certain individuals are more susceptible to wine headaches and ways to eliminate their impact.

What are Histamines?

Histamines (C5H9N3) are nitrogenous compounds produced by the body as part of the immune response. They play a crucial role in defending the body against foreign substances like allergens, pathogens, and toxins. They are released when the body senses a potential threat, leading to inflammation and increased blood flow to the affected area. They can be found in a wide variety of foods, including canned fish, bananas, ketchup, strawberries, tomatoes, and cheese. However, the toxicity of Histamine may be increased by ingesting it in wine.

In wine, they are formed during the fermentation process. They are primarily present in red wines, as they come from grape skins and seeds, which are included during fermentation. White wines, on the other hand, have fewer as the grape skins and seeds are removed before fermentation. However, white wines tend to have higher levels of Sulfite.

Do Histamines cause headaches?

Yes, Histamines can cause headaches (Santos, 1996; Stratton et. al, 1991; Gleich and Hull, 1980). Furthermore, they are considered the most important cause of wine intolerance (Konakovsky et al., 2011). Some people can’t process it in their bodies, and headache is one sign of Histamine intolerance.

Some studies suggests 1% of the general population suffers from Histamine intolerance. The Chairman of the European Histamine Research Society, Felix Lopez Elorza, has stated that possibly 4-7% of the population have difficulty eliminating Histamine. Some claim as many as 30 percent of people are sensitive to “biogenic amines like Histamines” (Cohan, 2012). For the people with this intolerance, they are unable to break down Histamine during digestion, so it accumulates in the blood and causes headaches. They have also been shown to cause flushing of the face and neck in some people (Thomas, 2013).

READ MORE: What Causes Wine Headaches?

How many Histamines are in wine?

There are no official regulations on the Histamine content of wine, but importers or buyers may set their own limits. Although there is no legal limit, a number of countries have established recommended limits for wine. The recommended upper limit for Histamine in wine is 2 mg per liter in Germany, 3 mg per liter in the Netherlands, and 5 mg per liter in Finland. 

Several red wines exceed 13 mg of Histamines per liter. The highest levels found in red wines are roughly 30 mg per liter or more (Konakovsky et al, 2011; Jarisch, 2014). Excessive levels of Histamine can be considered dangerous to human health (Flamini and Traldi, 2009; Velisek et al., 2020; Latorre-Moratalla et al., 2017; Comas-Basté et al., 2020). 

Red wine is more likely to cause wine headaches as it can contain 20 to 200 times as many Histamines (Murray and Pizzorno, 2005). White wines however often have greater amounts of Sulfites than red wines, which is another common cause of wine headaches.

Wine filters

Wine Balanced is a 100% organic product that removes Sulfites and Histamines from wine. The natural mix of ingredients do not alter the chemistry of the wine. Besides hindering wine-induced headaches and migraines, the purifying sachets also eliminate other intolerance symptoms such as sweating and itchy skin. The natural ingredients will not change the original taste. Furthermore, one of the filter’s main ingredients, Chitosan, has been found to improve wine safety.

SEE ALSO: What Is Wine Balanced?

For some wine enthusiasts, headaches following wine consumption can be a frustrating and painful experience. Histamines, along with other wine components, have been identified as contributors to these headaches. While not everyone is susceptible, individuals prone to Histamine sensitivity or inefficient Histamine metabolism are particularly vulnerable. By understanding the link between Histamines in wine and headaches, individuals can make informed decisions to continue enjoying wine while minimizing the risk of unwelcome after-effects. Wine Balanced is an organic solution that let you enjoy wine without the risk of wine-induced headaches.




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