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Study to help reduce Wine Headaches

Posted: Friday, 20 March 2015 16:49

Study to help reduce Wine Headaches

March 20: University of Illinois scientists are solving the downside to a glass of red wine, the dreaded wine headache which is more common in India and some Asian countries, by engineering genetically-modified yeast that could greatly increase the health benefits of wine while reducing the toxic by-products that cause the morning-after headache.

Click For Large View"Fermented foods such as beer, wine, and bread are made with polyploid strains of yeast, which means they contain multiple copies of genes in the genome,” says lead study author Dr. Yong-Su Jin. By genetically altering the yeast, his team has created new, healthier bioactive compounds, like ten times the amount of wine’s famously healthy antioxidant resveratrol per glass.

The study would target amine compounds, high concentrations of which contribute to the allergic reactions that lead to headaches. It would work by targeting the second fermentation in wine production—the stage that creates a smooth final texture, but also creates healthy bacterial strains that lead to irritating amine compounds. “We envision that our yeast engineering technology can get rid of the secondary fermentation step and therefore, the headache-contributing allergens while still making wine taste smooth,” Jin explains.

Unfortunately, this new-and-improved wine is still years away from being sold in India or even in the US and other countries. There is also a possibility that it might not actually solve the pounding headache problem, because not all flare-ups are caused from the histamines created by amine compounds, says the Report.

In a Brazilian study, 33 people tried the same four varieties of wine. All the bottles caused headaches in at least some of the participants—but no single variety caused pain for everyone. That means while most of us experience a wine hangover, we’re probably all reacting to different compounds.

“There are extracts from the grape skin and even those from the storage vessels during aging that can also cause migraines,” explains headache expert Frederick Freitag, associate professor of neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Most of these irritating compounds haven’t even been identified yet, making it a lot harder to target or avoid them. Alcohol can also affect your blood vessels and enhance dehydration, contributing to a nasty headache.

But even if the experts don’t know exactly which compounds cause that day-after effect, they do know which varieties are more considerate of your pain. To avoid a wine headache, opt for white over red (the lighter variety doesn’t keep the skin on the grapes during fermentation), varieties aged in stainless steel over oak (for less irritating compounds from the storage vessel), fruity flavours over buttery (the latter of which are traditionally aged in oak), and with lower alcohol content.

The recommendations in the last para are that of the Report and not necessarily based on any study. Our readers may experiment with them and let us know if and what helps them. In the meantime, we recommend drinking better quality wines-preferably organically or bio-dynamically produced and a continual tasting of different wines to find which wines cause you the least headache-editor

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