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Snooth User: kalikavalkade

any wines suitable for migraine sufferers?

Original post by kalikavalkade, Jan 25, 2011.

at one time i was able to drink wine of all types. a few years ago, single sips of any kind i tried began triggering epic migraines.

has any one experienced, or known someone to experience this phenomenon?

also - would very much like to give wine another whirl.

can anyone suggest a "gentle" wine that is suitable for someone of questionable constitution, or a method of easing my way back into the beverage? thanks!



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Reply by WineFueled, Feb 2, 2011.

Good call Chip.  Fats and protein in the meal paired with that fabulous tannic red will slow the absorption of nutrients and alcohol/tannins along with them.  Sounds like a super dinner to me.

Reply by napagirl68, Feb 2, 2011.

Good input, all.  But this thread isn't about wine-induced headache from overdrinking or dehydration.  OP gets migraines after one drink!  Migraine is actually not just headache.  It is a neurological/hormonal disorder that is very complex, and involves other symptoms than headache.  There is a trigger here, and OP needs to find it or just avoid the wine.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 2, 2011.

Well understood, NG, thus my disclaimer in an earlier post, and my suggestion we take hangover discussions to another thread...

Reply by cosmoscaf, Feb 3, 2011.

After a bad head injury in the mid-90's, I began getting migraines for any reason. But there were a number of food items that would make them immediate and devastating. Any crustacean (shrimp, lobster, crab) would do it. Chocolate also brought on migraine. And, sadly, so did red wine.

I found that the older the wine the less it acted as a 'grain trigger. That had the happy side effect of improving the quality of wine I drink.

What did end it, though, is the radon mines of Montana where I go twice a year. No more migraine. In addition to ten days of boredom under the mountain, one of the best wine stores in the West (& east of CA), Topper's, is located half an hour away in Helena.

No, I've no idea why radon prevents migraines in most people who get them, or why it always helps arthritis problems. I'd guessed it to be psychosomatic, but then I saw the dogs improving, too. If you can get away for a couple weeks, it would be well worth the try.

Reply by kalikavalkade, Feb 4, 2011.

a great big thank you to all! i am digesting this information and mapping a plan of action, which of course i will share once it is complete.

napagirl is right - i have genetic/hormonal challenges which are a true mystery that will take a lifetime to unravel.

however, i do have some exciting news to share: one week from today i will be in montepulciano. i understand that this is a haven for wine lovers. it is likely that i will conduct the first of my experiments during my stay.  

from what i gather, no matter how much the wine wishes to cripple me, the tuscan terrain will keep me quite healthy (a dip in a warm mineral bath at a nearby spa, perhaps?) according to one of my colleagues: "just drink the wine while you're there - nobody gets headaches in italy." : )



Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 4, 2011.

Interesting tip, cosmoscaf.  I'm a chronic migraine sufferer.  I'm going to read up on the radon.  Thanks.

Reply by WineFueled, Feb 5, 2011.

Of course, no one gets headaches in Italy  :)  Solution found!!!

Reply by GregT, Feb 5, 2011.

"i have discussed this with my neurologist, who has told me that as a migraine sufferer i should steer clear of alcohol. this is something i will not accept."

That's the crux of the problem.

But here's some reading.

There's a widely-quoted study from 1979 that blames yeast.

Then people started thinking maybe it's tannin, which points to red wine, so there were a series of studies on that.

That particular article references a very small sample size and it's a few years old, but there have been more recent ones. 

But nobody wanted to give up red wine, so they started looking at alcohol, which intuitively makes a lot more sense.  But that's ambiguous too, as they point out in the following abstract from the NIH.  Note that they throw in a line about cholesterol - obviously the researchers were wine-lovers.

I've spent a little bit of time perusing the medical journals just out of curiosity - I've never had a migraine or any other kind of headache, so I have no idea what the problem is.  But if I were to get them, and if they are as bad as people say, I'd probably give up whatever I had to if it meant relief.  (I really don't like pain.)

Separately, I can offer a few pieces of advice.

First - DO NOT make your own wine from powders and water.  If you're interested in making wine, use real grapes.  The stuff you end up making with those "ingredients" is related to wine in the same way that Cool-Whip is realated to Devonshire Cream.  In other words, the color can be approximately the same.  Nothing else is.

And since it seems like there are any number of different substances that can cause migraines, I'd keep experimenting. Keeping the intake low may help, avoiding stress may help, eating something with the alcohol may help.  As everyone has pointed out - it seems that the solution will be unique to you, based on your own body chemistry and genetics.

So you may want to look into this site - it's a community site for migraine sufferers who share their antidotes.  There's no connection between radon and migraines as far as I know, but there may be a very strong mental component to the whole problem, so belief in a solution may cause the solution to work.

Good luck.

(And D - tokay?  An antiquated Brit spelling my friend!  The region is Tokaj, the wine from there is Tokaji.)

Reply by dmcker, Feb 5, 2011.

Was waiting for such a response, Greg. Why so late to take the bait?  I'll be talking about Claret and Hock soon....  ;-)

Reply by ChipDWood, Feb 5, 2011.

Great post Greg.  Mucho informmmito.

Reply by napagirl68, Feb 5, 2011.

Kali... jealous of you!!!   Wish I was in Italy.....

Wishing you a migraine-free trip.  I used to suffer them, and saw the best neuro in SF, and he gave me the info I gave you earlier....

Reply by kalikavalkade, Mar 23, 2011.

apologies for the late reply. italy was positively breathtaking. my mind continues to rove the italian countrysides while my body has returned to the hustle and bustle of new york city living.

on day one of my trip, i decided to take a leap of faith and sample the vino nobile di montepulciano via crociani. i was armed with the necessary migraine medication. lo and behold, i did not need it. never have i known such a delightful buzz! the feeling is ineffable. suffice it to say, i have joined your ranks.

the remainder of my trip was spent sampling a variety of chiantis. am hesitatant to break from the italian reds at this point. baby steps...

i am wondering if hormonal changes in my body have something to do with this great turnaround. humans are curious creatures, indeed.

any one care to speculate on why i am suddenly able to emerge from a half carafe unscathed? i continue to be positively amazed by this turn of events.

looking forward to beginning my wine education - there is so much to learn!


Reply by dmcker, Mar 28, 2011.

Congratulations, Kali. No need to look a gift horse in the mouth on the one hand, I suppose, but then again curious minds do need to inquire...

Same effect with Italians back home?

Maybe the next trip should be to France...

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 28, 2011.

Kali, be interesting to see if any wines still cause migraines?

Reply by Ersie Courea, Mar 24, 2015.

I think anti histamines with alcohol are a no no. This week a young teenager aged 19 fell off a balcony from this combination! Take extra magnesium and drink extra water after or during drinking wine!

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