Let's talk about this. My head hurts. I had 3 glasses of wine last night and it feels like a bus hit me. This can't be right, can it? It feels like I drank 3 bottles of wine, not 3 glasses. This has been me, for the past 2+ years. Is it worth it when it feels so bad?
What could it be? THE SULFITES?
Or could it be the tannins, the pigments, the histamines or the overall amount consumed?
Let's back up. As I mentioned, 2 years ago, I started feeling really terrible after 2-3 glasses of wine, and that is when the experiment began. I decided to try to narrow down what may be causing the 'hangover that shouldn't be'. So, I tried drinking vodka....an equivalent amount. Lo and behold....no fangover (fake hangover we will call it). and just for the experiment's sake, I chose to try again with the vodka, but doubled the amount. No fangover. I tried again a week later, but tripled the amount....slight hangover....and that was to be expected due to the amount. Ok, so I concluded it was something in the wine (not a real stretch here). Everyone knows sulfites are bad (just kidding, they are just preservatives used in dried foods, wine, beer, etc.), so maybe it was that pesky sulfur causing my problem. EXCEPT: MY REACTION WAS A HEADACHE AND STOMACH ACHE WHICH IS NOT WHAT SULFITES DO TO PEOPLE WHO ARE ALLERGIC. If I had an allergy to sulfites, I would have an asthma type reaction - wheezing and potentially life-threatening bronchial narrowing.
The primary cause was pointing to one or both of the items that remained: Tannins and Histamines. I did have a bigger fangover with red wine, so it could be the pigments, tannins, etc. Reds typically have more histamine than whites as well.
Time for the next testing phase in the experiment. I had killer allergies this year. I had 2 courses of steroids ( for 3 weeks) to just eliminate everything that my allergies produced, so I spent a good deal of time on allergy medicine. I decided to pull some wine out and put my anti-histamine allergy medications to the next test. I drank 3 glasses of wine and then took a benadryl before bed. I woke up feeling fine. Later on that week, I drank 4 glasses of wine, no benadryl and then woke up the next morning feeling terrible. I took a Zyrtec-D and all head and stomach symptoms went away within the hour. Now, I am not saying to go consume 2 bottles of wine and take allergy medication, but for me, it worked (to a point...if you drink too much, you will get a hangover).
I went to the allergist and got poked with 50 different allergens to find out what caused my serious issue earlier this year. They put a control allergen (one that everyone has a positive reaction). The control was pure histamine and my reaction was off the charts. Could the tannins and pigments contribute to my situation? Absolutely. I haven't figured out a test for that one yet.