A team of scientists has identified a potential cause of red wine headaches, an effect some people experience after drinking even one glass. It is a chemical component found in vegetables and fruits, especially grapes, according to a scientific paper magazine Scientific reports.
In a study by researchers from the University of California, Davis (USA), one of the flavonols is the reason – quercetin, which is the most common flavonol in food, for example, has a high concentration in onions. Quercetin is considered a healthy antioxidant and is found in many vitamin supplements.
However, “when [a quercetina] Metabolism with alcohol can be problematic,” the university’s press release explains. This discovery may now contribute to the development of ways to avoid the red wine headache problem.
A phenomenon of wine headache
Headaches after drinking alcohol are nothing new. According to the scientific paper, there are two types of wine-induced headaches: immediate or primary, which begin within 30 minutes to three hours after drinking; and hangover headaches, which start 5 to 12 hours after drinking alcoholic beverages. This study wants to understand what causes immediate headaches, especially those that appear when drinking red wine.
Studies have been conducted to understand the origin of pain related to red wine. were among the suspects Tanninsyou SulfitesFlavonoids and biogenic amines are compounds frequently found in foods such as fruits and vegetables.
For example, sulfites are used as a preservative in the food industry, including the wine industry, because they inhibit the growth of bacteria. Bottle labels also note that alcohol contains sulfites, as people with asthma or aspirin allergies may have adverse reactions. But the link between sulfites and red wine headaches has yet to be confirmed. Of sweet white wines, the BBC is now recalling realityGenerally the sulphide content is higher than that of red wines.
Faced with the mystery of instant headaches after drinking a simple glass of red wine, researchers decided to examine dozens of compounds in wine to see which ones had the effect. They concluded that quercetin was the main component that inhibited alcohol metabolism.
Alcohol metabolism is divided into two stages. The first converts alcohol into a toxic compound called acetaldehyde. The second step involves the ALDH2 enzyme Body Humans convert acetaldehyde to acetate (in fact, the main compound Vinegar) is then excreted by the body.
“When quercetin enters the bloodstream, the body converts it into another form called ‘quercetin glucuronide,'” explains Andrew Waterhouse of the University of California, Davis, one of the authors of the study.
In this form – as quercetin glucuronide – it “inhibits alcohol metabolism”. Because this chemical compound inhibits the activity of ALDH2 enzyme. This blockage can cause a toxic build-up of acetaldehyde, explains Apramita Devi, co-author of the Science paper. “Acetaldehyde is a well-known toxic, irritating and inflammatory substance”, Apramita Devi, quoted in the report, clarifies that when given in high doses, it can cause flushing, headache and nausea.
Quercetin is produced by grapes in response to sunlight, so “exposing grape bunches, as in Napa Valley, results in higher levels of quercetin,” says Andrew Waterhouse. The amount of this compound in grapes increases fivefold with exposure to the sun.
Although this compound is cited as the main cause of headaches, scientists also point to other factors, such as drugs that fight alcoholism by causing a toxic build-up of acetaldehyde in the body. Asians are also more prone to these side effects of wine: in 40% of East Asians, the ALDH2 enzyme (required for alcohol metabolism) does not work well, which increases acetaldehyde levels.
“People who are susceptible to consuming wine with quercetin, even in moderate doses, develop headaches, especially if they have pre-existing migraines or another primary headache problem,” explains neurology professor Morris Levine, another of the authors of the scientific paper. University of California, San Francisco.
To clear up the headache mystery once and for all, the team now plans to test wines with different levels of quercetin, which results in the accumulation of acetaldehyde toxins in humans. “If our hypothesis is confirmed, we will have the tools to start asking these important questions,” concludes Andrew Waterhouse.
Text edited by Teresa Firmino
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