A red wine headache is different from a hangover the morning after a night of heavy drinking. Unpleasant sensations may occur after one or two glasses in just 30 minutes. However, why this happens has not yet been clear.
How transmits The Guardian, scientists are closer to solving this mystery. Tannins, sulfites, biogenic amines and phenolic flavonoids were considered the “culprits” of headaches. The latter compounds are obtained from grape seeds and peels. They give wine color and taste. Their levels in red wines can be 10 times higher than in white wines, making them prime candidates for causing discomfort.
Once the wine is in the human body, the alcohol is metabolized to acetate in two stages. Alcohol is first converted in the form of ethanol to acetaldehyde, and then acetaldehyde is converted to acetate. Specific enzymes in the liver control each of these processes.
A flavanol called quercetin, found almost exclusively in red wine, is processed in the body into various substances. One of them, quercetin glucuronide, has been shown to be particularly effective in blocking the enzyme that converts acetaldehyde to acetate.
This is where the answer to the mystery lies, scientists say. When a critical enzyme is suppressed, toxic acetaldehyde accumulates in the blood. In large quantities, it causes headaches, nausea, redness of the skin on the face and sweating. People suffering from migraines are especially prone to this.
In addition to drinking a glass of red wine, headaches can arise from a number of other factors. Recently the most common causes the appearance of these unpleasant sensations.