For years, research has shown that a daily glass of wine may have significant health benefits, from keeping our hearts healthy to potentially warding off certain cancers. But for all the benefits wine offers, it’s not without its drawbacks. One study found that imbibing even a little can cause serious health consequences for a certain group of people. Read on to find out what experts say you need to watch out for when having your next glass of wine.
Wine can cause some people to have asthma attacks.
Wine could be a trigger for some people’s asthma, according to an oft-cited 2000 study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, which looked at the association and prevalence of various alcoholic beverages with asthma attacks. The researchers for the study surveyed nearly 400 participants and found that 33 percent had experienced an asthma attack while drinking on at least two separate occasions. According to the study, wine was the most frequent trigger, with 30 percent of participants indicating that they had had an attack after drinking either red wine, white wine, or champagne.
Fortified wine and beer were less likely to be asthma triggers, with only 9 and 10 percent of participants experiencing attacks with these kinds of alcohol, respectively. But attacks were even less common with liquor-based spirits. Less than 5 percent of the participants said that kind of booze had set off their asthma.
There are several symptoms that could indicate an asthma attack.
If you’re having an asthma attack from wine, you might notice symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, itching, facial swelling, and headaches, says Leann Poston, MD, a licensed physician and medical advisor for Invigor Medical. According to Clara Lawson, MD, a medical doctor working with USA Hemp, these symptoms may start right after one drink or emerge two to three glasses in. But your symptoms could even be delayed until later during the night when you’re sleeping or the next day, Lawson advises.
Per Lawson, “If a person has observed that drinking is triggering an asthma attack, they should immediately stop it.” As for whether or not you’ll need to seek medical care, she says it depends on the severity of your attack. “If your condition doesn’t get better after taking your prescribed medications, it is highly advised to seek medical care immediately,” she adds.
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Most wine has two different ingredients that are known for triggering allergies and asthma.
Wine may be more likely to affect people with asthma, as it tends to include two different ingredients that can trigger attacks: histamines and sulfites. According to Healthline, histamines are produced from bacteria and yeast when alcohol ferments. Lawson says histamines are also the same substance that your immune system releases when an allergen enters your body, making it a problem for people with allergies and asthma. Sulfite, on the other hand, is typically added to preserve the freshness of wine, Lawson says. But up to 10 percent of people dealing with asthma are sensitive to this additive, Healthline explains.
Red wine is potentially worse for asthma than white wine.
If you’re asthmatic, you may want to steer clear of red wine entirely. According to the study, red wine caused the most asthmatic reactions, at 24 percent. Ahmed Zayed, MD, a licensed doctor and medical expert for Calisthenics Gear, says this is because some red wines contain a significant amount of histamines.
“When looking at wine—then you should consider red wine in particular. Some red wines contain as much as 3800 micrograms of histamine per liter,” he explained. “This is significantly more compared to other alcoholic beverages. Even champagne and white wine contain much less histamine.”