The Scientific Reason Wine Might Be Giving You a Headache

Dacy Knight

Do you find it hard to have a couple glasses of wine without winding up with a splitting headache? Well, you're not alone. In fact, you're in the company of a number of people who suffer from migraines triggered by the delectable vices we all love giving into—like wine, chocolate, and processed meats.

According to a new study published in the journal mSystems and recently highlighted by New York Magazine's Science of Us, there's a scientific reason enjoying wine and chocolates leads to headaches for some people. It's been known to doctors that foods high in nitrates are linked to migraines—bacteria in our mouths and guts breaks down nitrates for energy, creating a byproduct called nitrite that can convert to nitric oxide, which is associated with getting bad headaches.

This new research, conducted by a team from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, dives further into this connection between bacteria and headaches. The researchers analyzed oral and fecal samples from two sets of individuals—those who suffer from migraines and those who do not. They found that the migraine-suffering set had higher levels of bacteria that breaks down nitrates into nitrites. So whether or not you're a part of the unlucky crowd who gets a side of headache along with their happy hour selection might be determined by your body's own bacteria. It's still unclear whether the presence of these microbes is the reason for or result of the migraines. Either way, continued research can hopefully provide a remedy for the unfortunate reaction so everyone can enjoy their red without the added headache.

Surprised by these findings? Do you suffer from headaches after a couple glasses of wine? Fill us in on what you think in the comments.

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