Research from the University of California suggests that one of the natural compounds in red wine is the main culprit behind headaches after downing one or two glasses.
Drink Red wine This might seem like a good idea in the middle of a family lunch or as a way to relax after a tiring day. However, shortly after having a drink or two, you may experience severe headaches.
This situation has no explanation for those who experience it often, but scientists now believe they are close to the answer.
The team of scientists from the University of California (USA) sought to understand why these intense and annoying palpitations in the head occur after drinking even a small dose.
The study results support that a compound naturally present in wines may be able to influence how the body metabolizes alcohol.
The Element in Red Wine That Could Cause Headaches
In his study, published in the journal Scientific reports , Specialists point out that it is a type of flavonoid responsible for generating headaches after drinking.
Its name is quercetin and it is a natural ingredient found in a large number of vegetables and fruits, including grapes, berries, tomatoes and apples. Although it is considered a healthy antioxidant, the study found that when combined with alcohol it could be problematic for some people.
“When it reaches the bloodstream, the body converts it to a different form called quercetin glucuronide.” Andrew Waterhouse, an oenology (science of winemaking) academic at the University of California and one of the authors of the research, explained in a statement.
“In this way, it blocks the metabolism of alcohol,” emphasizes the researcher.
Scientists point out that red wine contains much higher levels of quercetin than white wine and other alcoholic beverages. Additionally, these levels may vary depending on the manufacturing process.
According to Waterhouse, when grapes are grown with direct exposure to sunlight, the amount of quercetin will be much higher. “In some cases it can be four to five times higher,” he says. Meanwhile, when grapes are grown in shade, their quercetin levels are much lower.
When alcohol has been consumed, it begins to be broken down in the liver by the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). The first is what allows alcohol to be transformed into the compound acetaldehyde, “a well-known irritant and inflammatory substance,” explains Apramita Devi, another of the authors of the research.
It is normal for acetaldehyde to be present in the body temporarily, as it is then transformed into acetate. However, researchers discovered that a quercetin compound was able to mediate this function.
As a result of the above, people may have a buildup of acetaldehyde, which can trigger “facial flushing, headaches, and nausea,” Davi warns.
Some experts expressed some reservations about the study’s results. “This was done only in the laboratory, and the substances were tested outside the human body at concentrations several times higher than those present in the blood after a few glasses of wine,” he explained to cnn Jonas Spaak, professor of cardiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Now, scientists at the University of California plan to conduct human clinical trials that will compare red wines containing high levels of quercetin with those containing lower levels.