Having a glass of wine after a long day seems normal to the masses. You home from work, kick off your shoes, making it on the lazy boy couch, and you sip on some lovely red wine. But, what if on this particular day, you start to get a headache after your first glass? You think you’re just experiencing allergy-like symptoms so you pay it no mind. Then come the wheezing and skin flushes that resemble hives. Now you start to worry.
You call a doctor to see what it could be, you haven’t eaten anything in hours. Your doctor tells you, that sadly you may have an intolerance to alcohol.
Yes, it’s unfortunate but true. You can have an intolerance to alcohol. More times than not most people who do have this rarity of an intolerance, have reactions to red wine, then followed by whiskey, beer, and then the other types of wine. This is intolerance could also be from the food from which it is based, like grapes or grains. Or it may be other substances within the drink itself.
You should know that intolerances to food or alcohol, in this case, is derived from the body lacking an enzyme which is needed to digest or eliminate the food. Without it being properly dealt with in your body, symptoms occur. Symptoms can vary from rashes, asthma, to even anaphylactic reactions which are rare.
The main things in alcohol that can create reactions are the histamine, yeast, sulfites, sulfur dioxide, additives, and plant derived allergens. Histamine is more present in red wines and can cause the minor side effects such as headaches, flushing, nasal and gut symptoms. Those people have a deficiency in the breakdown of histamines. There are usually very low levels of yeast in alcohol but can still have allergic reactions in a person. Sulfur dioxide is common is most beers and people with sensitive asthma could in result get wheezing rashes or in very rare occasions anaphylactic shock.
Make sure to read and understand the additives within the alcoholic drinks as well. Be aware of the fruit or flavors the drink is derived from.
If you suspect you are allergic or are experiencing an intolerance to alcohol make a note of it and speak to your doctor about it. Try to narrow it down to an ingredient that you may think cold be the culprit and avoid it. Happy sipping.