Cardiologists and other Carlsbad doctors have long been promoting the health benefits of wine. Wine can promote longevity as well as reduce your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and brain decline. While we all wish the old mantra went “a bottle of wine a day keeps the doctor away,” these health benefits are only found when wine is consumed in moderation.
Some unlucky individuals cannot heed this medically-sanctioned advice as they have a wine allergy. I’ll wait for you to close your mouth and lower your eyebrows before continuing. Some people fare even worse; they continue to drink wine when it turns out they are actually allergic.
A wine allergy acts similar to other food allergies. Your immune system mistakes the harmless proteins for a threat and attacks them. Large amounts of antibodies, such as immunoglobulin E (IgE), are produced. These antibodies cause the release of histamine and other chemicals, which can trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
The most common causes of a wine allergy are sulfites, glycoproteins and a simple grape allergy. Sulfites occur naturally in wine as the yeast metabolizes in the fermentation process. Sulfites can also be added to wine as a preservative. White wine contains more sulfite preservatives than red, as it is needed to protect the wine’s delicate flavor and color. Sweet wines with a higher sugar content also contain more sulfites to prevent the remaining sugar from starting a secondary fermentation. The FDA estimates that every one out of 100 individuals has a sensitivity to sulfites and five to 10 percent of those with asthma have severe sulfite sensitivity.
Glycoproteins are proteins that occur in other fruits such as bananas and kiwis. These proteins are formed during the fermentation process and are also present in the grapes themselves.
Some are simply allergic to the specific grape variety used in the wine.
The most common symptoms of a wine allergy are asthma, nasal congestion, a skin rash, nausea and GI distress. If you ever experience any of these symptoms shortly after enjoying a glass of wine at the end of a long day (or let’s be honest, it’s wine o’clock somewhere), then you should contact your Carlsbad ENT specialists to schedule an appointment. While at the allergy clinic, you will complete a series of tests to determine what exactly is causing your symptoms. Only then can your ear, nose and throat doctor come up with an allergy treatment plan.