Red-wine headache: Here's the unexpected reasons why you have it

If you experience headache after drinking red wine, there could be several reasons at play.

headache after drinking red wine
© Kelsey Knight
headache after drinking red wine

Even though studies have shown that drinking alcohol can have some surprising benefit, drinking too much alcohol comes with its own set of serious health consequences. In fact, your first sip of alcohol may have changed your brain!

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With the holidays coming up soon, socialising shall probably entail a lot of drinking and with that, the dreaded post-red wine hangover!

As per BBC, here are some of the theories as to why you might be getting a headache after drinking red wine.

More expensive wines could mean worse headache

BBC reports the findings of a team of researchers from University of California, US. They found that an antioxidant compound called quercetin might be responsible for you experiencing headache after red wine, even if you might be fine after drinking other kinds of alcohol.

Quercetin in grapes comes from sun exposure. Prof Andrew Waterhouse tells BBC News, that this implies expensive wines might be worse for headaches, compared to cheaper red wines since,

The cheap grape varieties are grown on vines with very large canopies and lots of leaves, so they don't get as much sun.Whereas the high-quality grapes are from smaller crops with fewer leaves.
The amount of sunshine is carefully managed to improve the quality of the wine.
Studies have shown that drinking can cause severe short- and long-term health issues Nik Shuliahin 💛💙

However, others such as Prof Roger Corder, from Queen Mary University of London, are of the opinion that as per anecdotal evidence, cheaper wines have been found to cause worse headache rather than more expensive ones.

Other possible reasons for red-wine headache

There is still no consensus on what it is really about red wine that causes people to have headaches. As per BBC, other reasons that are supposed to be at play here include the following:

  • The sulphites which are used as preservatives to prolong the shelf-life of wine, is suspected by some of being the cause of red-wine headaches. But this theory is not backed up by enough evidence.
  • Some people, such as those with East Asian heritage might also have a genetic propensity to experience headaches from wine. Their genes block the proper functioning of alcohol-metabolising enzyme called ALDH2, causing headaches.

Research is underway to find out more about alcohol and how it is processed in our bodies. Note that as per BBC, studies have shown that drinking can cause severe short- and long-term health issues, including damaging the liver, causing strokes and heart disease.

Read more:

Holiday hack: How to use a leftover bottle of wine

How long does it take for alcohol to leave your system?

This is what your favourite alcoholic drink says about you

Sources used:

BBC: ' Red-wine headache explained - and it is not about volume'

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