Are wine headaches caused by sulfites? Print

Question : Are wine headaches caused by sulfites?

Answer : The answer is controversial. Many wine components including histamine, tyramine and sulfites have been implicated in headaches. Some of the strongest data in the neurology literature seems to rest in tyramine, a by-product of the wine protein tyrosine which may be present in wines based on various wine production techniques. Fining proteins in wine may leave the final product with less tyrosine than the preliminary product and everyone many have different capacities to break down residual tyrosine in their bodies, depending on various enzyme levels. Very recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley have discovered and refined a device that measures the tyramine content in wine. Their hope is that this may be useful for the consumer.