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The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Sick From Red Wine

Posted January 06, 2017 8:53 AM by Chelsey H

As we nurse our holiday hangovers (why do they last so much longer now than they did years ago?), it might be time to evaluate what makes us so sick so that we can make better choices in the new year.

For many people, one glass of red wine causes an itchy rash, a wheezing cough, and/or a pounding headache. There’s no easy answer to why this happens in some people and not others (thankfully I am NOT one of these people). Here are two culprits of what may cause some of your symptoms if you’re one of the unfortunate souls who can’t drink red wine.

Congeners are the most likely culprit of pounding migraines. The type of congeners in red wine, called tannins, gives red wine its distinctive flavor and gives people susceptible to migraines a terrible headache. It’s easy to recognize that red wine gives you a headache, but the only way to prevent a headache is to switch to white wine. Image Credit

Sulfites, which are sometimes used to keep wine from spoiling, can cause symptoms similar to those seen in food allergies—coughing, wheezing, and itchy skin rashes. Sulfites are also found in Parmesan and other aged cheeses. If your symptoms are more serious or you experience abdominal pain, then histamine is more likely the cause. Sulfites are found in red and white wine but organic winemakers tend to not add sulfites, so keep an eye out for organic wines in the liquor store.

In the case of red wine, as is the case for all types of alcohol, moderation is key. The more red wine you drink, the worse the headaches and allergies can be. Or maybe in 2017, you could switch to white!

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#1

Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/06/2017 9:54 AM

Better yet, switch to beer. I never get a hangover from drinking beer.

Well, perhaps that's because I never sober up long enough to get a hangover.

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#2

Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/06/2017 7:36 PM

I'm aware that the liver becomes adapted to metabolizing alcohol. A person is much more affected by his very first drink.

My experience has been that drinking clear beverages (white wine, vodka, etc) results in less of a hangover than darker colored beverages, which have a higher concentration of congeners, so apparently the hangover is not just due to the ethanol.

Everyone's got a story of "I only drink ___, and I don't get a hangover". I haven't found any information to back it up, but a private theory I've had is that maybe the liver "learns" to metabolize whatever poisons it's exposed to, in a similar way to the way the immune system operates. A person's liver adapts to metabolize the chemicals present in his favorite beverage.

Does this make any sense?

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/07/2017 12:19 AM

Could those people that can drink dark beverages have a particular genotype (?)

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#7
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Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/08/2017 12:00 PM

I've been drinking mostly red wine for 50 years now, but in moderation. I can feel it in my liver (later that night) if I drink more than 2 glasses of it, so I try to stay well under that limit. I've always wondered how a hangover feels; I don't believe I've ever had one.

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Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/08/2017 12:49 PM

Never had a hangover? You're lucky, I don't recommend it. A hangover is nature's way of teaching the value of moderation. I learned a long time ago.

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#3

Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/07/2017 12:15 AM

Another way to prevent a headache is to switch to white water.

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#5

Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/07/2017 3:53 AM

Some ancient drinker says hang over is only up to 4 bottles of rum, if you exceeded and still manage to walk, there will be no longer intoxication after that. I do not know if its true.

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#9
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Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/09/2017 1:47 PM

Try it! I recommend it you personally! Why stop at 4, go all the way to 5, drink it all down, quickly, do not spill one drop!

No hangover, why it might even make you immortal.

The official explanation for hangover:

(1) different people have different alcohol loading capacity at various times (depends on height, weight, stomach contents during drinking event, activity level, type of drinks, number of drinks dispensed per unit time, etc.

(2) the by-product of alcohol produced by the liver is acetaldehyde, and this builds up only to a certain level related to the the alcohol concentration in blood stream, and a person's own rate of conversion to alcohol to acetaldehyde in the liver, compared to the rate at which that person can convert acetaldehyde to acetic acid and carbon dioxide. Acetaldehyde level constricts blood vessels in the scalp area, leading to a severe nauseating headache. Having high blood alcohol concentration along with elevated acetaldehyde residual concentration, can lead to abdominal issues as well, dehydration of the brain coming hard on the heels of that. The human brain is very sensitive to its moisture level.

In addition to this, residual yeasts in some beverages can activate over again in the gut in certain individuals and actually make that person intoxicated on nothing but starches.

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#10
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Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/10/2017 11:22 AM

You're funny, buddy!

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#6

Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/07/2017 8:39 PM

Wild Turkey gave me a hangover. Vodka didn't. I drank the same amount of each on two different nights.

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#11

Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/10/2017 11:39 AM

I read somewhere that a glass of red wine a day was good for you, so I figured that five or six would be better (wineo and proud of it).

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Re: Sick From Red Wine

01/10/2017 1:50 PM

So, are you seeing polka dots on the weekdays even when the polka band is not in the beer wine hall?

That over drinking will make your babies be born naked.

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