At my wine tasting last night, one of the tasters said that her nose started running after drinking the Cabernet. She wanted to know more about this, since she’s experienced it before. I explained that she likely is sensitive to histamines, but I decided to do a little more research In this article, I’ll share what I learned. Thank you to DrinkPureWine and LiveStrong for their help with this article.
What Are Histamines?
Histamines are chemicals that your body makes. They’re also naturally and frequently found in foods and beverages.
Foods that are aged or fermented typically have their proteins broken down, resulting in a high concentration of histamines.
Histamine Allergy or Intolerance?
If you experience hay-fever symptoms when you have a glass of red wine, you could have histamine intolerance.
For nerds in the group, the experts call this an intolerance, not an allergy. According to Histamine.com, an allergic reaction is the result of a malfunction of the immune system that triggers a chemical chain-reaction throughout the body. Intolerance is different. It’s the inability to digest, remove or absorb certain ingredients in a food or beverage, like those in wine.
For more nerdliness, according to VeryWellHealth, “People with histamine intolerance often have low levels of either of two very specific enzymes—diamine oxidase (DAO) and histamine-N-methyltransferase (HNMT)—that process histamine in your body. Without enough of those enzymes to process the histamine, it can build up over time and cause symptoms throughout the body.” These symptoms can include the every popular (not) red wine headache.
Is Histamine Intolerance Common?
According to DrinkPureWine, 75% of wine drinkers experience adverse reactions to histamines. These reactions include headaches (69%), hangover symptoms (43%), flushed skin (29%), nasal congestion (22%) and breathing problems (3%).
Wow, I’m very happy that I’m part of the 25%.
Histamines and Red Wine
While white wine typically contains between 3 and 120 micrograms of histamine per glass, red wine contains between 60 and 3,800 micrograms of histamine per glass. That’s a huge difference, and it’s the reason that people typically experience hay-fever symptoms (and headaches and other unpleasant maladies) only when drinking red wine.
How Do You Deal with Histamine Intolerance?
Several of the articles I read said that if your symptoms are really bad, you should not drink alcohol. Several said that you should opt for white wine over red wine. A few said that taking Benadryl will help prevent the unpleasant symptoms. I also found a product on Amazon called The Wand Wine Filter, which claims to rid wine of many things, including histamines. It has four stars, which is very good, but I’m a bit leery.
Do you have histamine intolerance? How do you experience it, and how do you treat it? I would love to hear from you.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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