Reasons for reactions or allergies when drinking wine may surprise you!

You may be surprised to discover that you may be reacting to some of the ingredients in addition to the grapes in your glass can.

These extras may be causing your allergies to flare up.

1. Lipid Transfer Proteins

The lipid transfer proteins from wine come from yeasts, bacteria and grapes. These proteins are also commonly found in liquors and beer and have been known to cause a number of allergic reactions, including nasal congestion, flushing, diarrhea, vomiting, and swelling in the mouth and throat. 

Red wine is more likely to have lipid transfer proteins that cause notable allergic reactions than white wine is. This is because red wine is fermented with protein-filled grape skins while white wine is not.

If you ever experience a headache or nausea after having a glass of wine, there’s a good chance you’re allergic to the lipid transfer proteins inside of the wine. 

2. Egg Whites

Egg whites contain a globular protein that is often used in wine making. The protein, called “albumen”, is used to help clarify red wines while they’re aging in a barrel. The use of albumen is actually the oldest fining method in the winemaking industry. Unfortunately, albumin is thought to be a wine allergen.

Those who are allergic to eggs often experience nasal congestion, hives, skin inflammation and cramps. Extreme allergic reactions often result in anaphylaxis, which results in a rapid pulse, constricted airways and even shock.

During an allergic reaction caused by eggs, an individual’s immune system will identify certain egg proteins as harmful, which leads to a release of histamines and various other chemicals that cause discomfort or harm to the body.

3. Chitosan

This wine ingredient is made up of the exoskeletons of crab, shellfish, shrimp and other crustaceans. Chitosan is often used as a finishing agent in white wines. Chitosan can be especially problematic those who are allergic to shellfish. 

If you are allergic and the wine you’re drinking contains chitosan if you experience tingling in your mouth, dizziness, itching, eczema or abdominal pain. If your allergy symptoms are extreme enough it may lead to anaphylaxis.

4. Gelatin

Gelatin is an animal protein used in red wine as a way to lower extra astringency and tannins. Symptoms of a gelatin allergy include hives, swelling in the mouth, itching, trouble breathing and vomiting.

Gelatin is commonly found in flu shots as a stabilizer, so if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction after getting a flu shot, there’s a good chance you have a gelatin allergy. 

5. Isinglass

Isinglass is a protein made from collagen and taken from the swim bladders of fish. Because this protein is taken directly from fish, it is not able to be consumed by strict vegans and vegetarians. Isinglass is used in wine as a soft fining agent as a way to keep from stripping the flavor from blushes and whites. 

Allergic reactions to isinglass often lead to cramps, diarrhea, flushing of the skin, wheezing and inflammation. Fish allergies can be some of the most severe and easily lead to anaphylaxis. 

6. Casein

This ingredient is often used to help clarify white wines. Casein is a type of phosphoprotein found in milk, so you may be at risk of negatively reacting to any of these phosphoproteins found in your wine of you’ve ever experienced an allergic reactions from drinking milk or eating cheese products.

Reactions to this wine allergen include sneezing, itchy eyes, swelling, rash, itchy skin and nasal congestion.

7. Sulfites 

Sulfites are a natural occurrence in the wine-making process and are used as a preservative. In addition to wine, sulfites are often found in beer, dried fruit and a number of other foods. 

Sulfite Facts:

about 1% of the general population and wineries are required to label their wine if they contain more than 10 ppm of sulfites. In the US one has no more than 350 ppm of sulfites and organic wine has no more than 100 ppm. In comparison I can of Coke and canes 350 ppm of sulfites, and french fries contain 1900 ppm, and dried fruit contains about 3500 ppm

Allergic reactions to sulfites include dizziness, trouble swallowing, hives, vomiting and decreased blood pressure. If you suffer from seasonal allergies already and find you are also allergic to sulfites, there’s a possibility that you could go into anaphylactic shock. People who suffer from asthma are also at a higher risk for allergic reactions from wine sulfites.

8. Gluten

While gluten is more commonly found in beer from the hops, barley and yeast, the allergen can also occasionally be found in wine. A mixture of flour and water is often used to seal up oak barrels. 

Even though the barrels are cleaned out before they are used for wine, there are some who believe that traces of thickened flour still remain caked to the barrel that can contaminate the wine.

Anyone who has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should get in touch with the manufacturer that produces any wines they consume in order to determine whether glutinous barrels are used during the winemaking process.

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