Do you get a stuffy nose, itchy skin or headaches from drinking wine? Relief may soon be on the way.
Scientists have identified a long mysterious culprit that can cause allergies in as many as 500 million people world wide. It’s a myth that sulfites are the main culprit – they are only responsible for a small portion of all allergies to wine.
The results from the study suggest that glycoproteins may be the culprit. These are proteins coated with sugars, and are a product formed as the grapes ferment. Until now, scientists knew very little about their structure and and their role in wine.
Glycoproteins have structures that are very similar to other allergens, and the body may react to them in the same way it reacts to other allergens – by producing histamine which cause symptoms ranging from stuffy noses, swollen eyes or even anaphylactic shock if the reaction is bad enough.
The discovery is expected to lead to the production of the first low-allergy wines.
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons by paulaloe