Medically the evaluation by Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP — composed by Ann Pietrangelo ~ above September 16, 2020

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You’re enjoying a glass the wine through dinner when the throbbing starts. You recognize what the means: A wine headache is about to destroy the rest of your evening.

You are watching: Chemicals in wine that cause headaches

Wine often takes the blame because that headache pain. The ache is an extremely real, but scientific evidence for the factors behind this phenomenon is lacking.

Let’s take a closer look in ~ a wine headache, if there’s a method to prevent it, and what come do when a alcohol headache strikes.

Among alcohol addict beverages, wine has quite the reputation as a headache trigger, particularly red wine. That first twinge of a headache can take place within a sip or two, or the may display up several hours later.

Alcohol deserve to dilate blood ship in her brain, which can reason a headache. Red wine, in particular, has long been well-known as a migraine trigger.

But even amongst those who recognize red wine together a trigger, the doesn’t organize true every time. It’s likely that migraine attacks involve several contributing factors.

There are numerous theories, but no clean evidence regarding why wine gives some civilization a headache.

Here room some possible theories about wine headaches.


Grape skins contain histamine. White wine is made without the grape skin, so it has actually a lower histamine content 보다 red wine, i m sorry is do from the totality grape. A histamine sensitivity might make you much more susceptible to a headache.

Keep in mind that part other foods items contain more histamine 보다 alcoholic drinks. This include:

aged cheeseeggplant, sauerkraut, spinachfishsausage, salami


Grape skins likewise contain tree chemicals referred to as tannins, which assist give wine its flavor. Tannins also prompt her body to release serotonin, i beg your pardon may cause headaches in part people. Red wines have more tannins than white wines.

Tannins are discovered in a variety of foods, including tea, dark chocolate, and some berries and also nuts.

Tannins space thought to cause migraines also in civilization who take precautionary treatments.


Sulfites are occasionally blamed for wine headaches. Sulfites space compounds that aid preserve red and white wine. If you’re sensitive to sulfites, you’re more likely to endure breathing troubles than headaches, though.

Higher quantities of sulfites can likewise be discovered in:

certain fruits and also dried fruitschipspicklesraisinssoy sauce

Wine is often acknowledged together the most common drink come provoke a headache, however any form of alcohol deserve to do it. Yes no “safe” alcoholic drink, and also you don’t have to have a major headache disorder to be affected.

Your headache triggers room uniquely yours. To include to the confusion, also known headache triggers no universally reliable.

Developing a headache may depend top top a variety of contributing factors, such as:

other ingredients in the alcohol addict drinkfoods you’ve consumed having an empty stomach as soon as you drinkyour tension levelsyour level of fatigue

Of course, drinking any kind of alcohol come excess deserve to lead to a hangover headache. But that type of headache is brought about by the lot of alcohol girlfriend drink, fairly than what friend drink.

At the first inkling the a wine headache, the a an excellent idea to put your wine glass down, and also to think about one or much more of the following strategies.

Drink plenty of water.Have a caffeinated beverage.Use a cool compress or ice pack on the pain.Lie down in a dark room.

You might find relief from a wine headache through over-the-counter (OTC) pains relievers such as:

OTC pain relievers are usually safe, yet mixing them with alcohol have the right to be danger in part cases, an especially if you:

take a greater dose that the medicine than the recommended amounthave 3 or more alcoholic drinks a job while acquisition the medicine

If you take it OTC or prescription headache medicines, follow the brand instructions and also warnings concerning interactions through alcohol.

If you’ve established wine as a typical headache trigger, your best bet can be to avoid drinking wine. That can mean no much more reds, no much more whites, or no more wine at all.

On the various other hand, if her headaches are bearable and you’re ready to threat it, you may want come experiment through different types of wine. You may be able to separate the offending wines native those that don’t cause a headache.

Wines are made v a selection of grapes, preservatives, and other ingredients, so store track as you go. Select high quality wines and also only drink a little amount till you’re sure how that wine affects you.

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Any form of alcohol deserve to lead come a headache, specifically if girlfriend overindulge.

If you drink alcohol, the recommended daily consumption is one typical drink every day because that women and also two typical drinks every day for men. For wine, a standard drink is taken into consideration to it is in 5 ounces the wine in ~ 12 percent alcohol volume.

A wine headache is not uncommon, yet the factors for it are unclear. It may take the perfect storm of determinants to trigger a headache.

If you gain a wine headache often, it no necessarily typical you have to avoid wine forever.

Experimenting through different types of wines may help you isolation those that often tend to trigger a headache from those you can savor. Drinking slowly and also limiting exactly how much girlfriend drink may help fend off a headache, too.

If you get poor headaches nevertheless of what form of alcohol you drink or just how much, you may want to consider a different kind of beverage.

Be certain to see your doctor if your wine headache is sudden, severe, or is add by various other symptoms girlfriend haven’t had actually before.