Wine lover cures agonising hangovers without giving up booze with one ingredient
Alex Deliou is a self-confessed wine lover.
But the 31-year-old endured a decade of agonising migraines, which left her temporarily blind and unable to speak all because of her favourite tipple.
But now Alex says she’s finally discovered the root of her problem — a single ingredient in her favourite tipple.
Alex started experiencing powerful cluster headaches eight years ago.
The retail manager was forced to take time off work and even the strongest painkillers had no effect.
Medics were dumbfounded by Alex’s symptoms and even wanted to put her on antidepressants while changing her contraception pill.
But now Alex, from Leeds, says a blood test has uncovered the true cause — she’s intolerant to chardonnay grapes, the fruit used in her favourite wine.
And after swapping chardonnay for a different white wine, the symptoms have completely disappeared.
Now Alex is urging other sufferers to look more closely at their diet.
She said: “I just didn’t understand what was going on.
“And at no point did I suspect wine was the cause of my awful migraines because I was never drinking to excess.
“I’d go out for a drink, have a couple of glasses of wine with friends and be fine the next day.
“But then at other times I would have a single small glass of wine and I’d be unable to open my eyes the next morning.
“The pain was often so severe I’d be unable to see clearly or speak coherently.
“But I never put two and two together that chardonnay grapes were the issue.”
University of Wales graduate Alex took codeine or co-codamol to deal with the pain – but nothing worked.
She added: “It was bad…really, really bad.
“Sometimes I’d be struck down first thing in the morning, other times I’d wake during the night having a migraine and just couldn’t get back to sleep.
“It was so debilitating. And my husband John and I were obviously getting worried something more serious was at play, like anyone would be.”
Alex went to see her GP, and initially thought the migraines could be a byproduct of stress and fatigue.
She adds: “Initially, I put it down to being tired. And my GP urged me to change my contraceptive pill, thinking that it might be exacerbating my symptoms.
“But I’d been on the Pill for years, so that didn’t make sense.
“My GP also offered me anti-depressants, but I was like, ‘I’m not depressed!’”
Earlier this year Alex, who was having at least one attack every month, began to explore some of the most common causes of recurrent migraines – and learned how food intolerances was one.
She ended up having a finger prick blood analysis by UK firm YorkTest Laboratories.
And there in the results, writ large and clear, was the chardonnay grape as her most troublesome ‘trigger’ food.
She adds: “I’d never been fussed about the type of wine I had.
“If a waiter asked what I wanted, it was often just a choice between red or white.
“And you think of chardonnay and assume it’s a lovely light wine.
“For me, though, it was obviously something I should have been avoiding like the plague.”
Alex says she immediately cut chardonnay from her diet – and she’s not had a single migraine since.
She explains: “I’ve not had a headache. Nothing. It’s been a revelation.
“The test also revealed I have a mild intolerance to yeast, so I’ll have a gin if I go out – which contains much less yeast than other alcoholic drinks – and I’ll feel absolutely fine.
“It’s definitely something other migraine sufferers need to be aware of.”
Food intolerance testing is growing in popularity in the UK.
Symptoms of a food intolerance can be wide ranging, but may include digestive issues, stomach pain, excess flatulence, tiredness, itchy skin, acne, eczema , joint pain and headaches.
And the most effective test measures what’s known as ‘IgG reactions’.
Dr Gill Hart, a biochemist with YorkTest Laboratories, explains: “When food particles enter the bloodstream, the immune system can sometimes identify these food protein particles as “foreign” and produces what’s known as ‘IgG antibodies’ to ‘attack’ the food in question.
“This response is your immune system’s natural defence mechanism to ward off harmful invaders in the body which can create inflammation.
“So, essentially, these IgG reactions go hand in hand with gut imbalances and inflammation and are released in the presence of certain ‘trigger’ foods.
“And by monitoring which foods cause food-specific IgG reactions, we can advise people on what they might wish to cut from their diet.”
YorkTest Laboratories added: “Most of us put symptoms after drinking down to a hangover, but often this doesn’t always reflect a true picture as intolerance to ingredients in drinks such as wine can cause similar, but often longer term symptoms.”