Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wine causes headaches; beer doesn't

Test created for wine headache chemicals
By MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press Writer

The article begins like this:

a device developed by University of California, Berkeley, researchers could help avoid the dreaded "red wine headache."
The chemicals, called biogenic amines, occur naturally in a wide variety of aged, pickled and fermented foods prized by gourmet palates, including wine, chocolate, cheese, olives, nuts and cured meats.

"The food you eat is so unbelievably coupled with your body's chemistry," said Richard Mathies, who described his new technology in an article published Thursday in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Scientists have nominated several culprits for "red wine headache," including amines like tyramine and histamine, though no conclusions have been reached.

But later in the piece, there's this:
The researchers found the highest amine levels in red wine and sake and the lowest in beer.

Beer is, of course, no headache!

In all fairness, the research did not look at the effect of aldehydes. Higher fermentation temperatures, such as those used when brewing some Belgian beers, cause elevated levels of these substances which are also thought to cause headaches. Congeners, found in fermented and most distilled beverages, also are believed to be a cause.

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