We’re used to hearing about red wine as the ultimate health food (see Wine and Dementia and Drink Red Wine, Live Longer, for example), but it turns out that there’s one area where its effects may be less than beneficial. Recent news articles suggest avoiding wine, and in particular red wine, if you suffer from allergies. Why? It turns out that red wine stimulates histamines and amplifies allergic reactions. Dr. Charles Owen, medical director of the Heart Hospital of Austin Emergency Department, is quoted in an article on KXAN.com by Kate Weidaw titled Wine could make allergies worse. Owen notes,
“The histamine reaction which causes the symptoms of allergies there are triggers and once you set off that trigger it’s much harder to stop an allergic reaction in progress… Alcohol affects on the blood flow to membranes which can contribute to a worsening of the symptoms.”
On balance, though, I’ll think wine lovers will find a mild allergy boost a fair trade off for cutting risks of dementia and heart attack.