Alcohol plus allergies can cause mealtime conundrum

Alcohol plus allergies can cause mealtime conundrum

Dear Dr. K.: Please don’t think I’m drunk when I ask this this peculiar question: Is it possible that alcohol makes one allergic to food? It seems that the only time I react to certain foods is if I also have some alcohol.

Intoxicated or not, your question is quite apt. Alcohol has been known for some time to be an allergic facilitator.  First, alcohol allows quicker absorption of all food. Thus, if you quickly absorb the food, the resultant higher blood level can lead to a greater release of histamine. This can trigger an allergic response that might not otherwise occur with slow absorption and lower histamine response.

Also, alcohol is a direct releaser of stored histamine; therefore, this additional release compounds the histamine release by the allergic response.

Finally, certain types of alcohol – especially wines – actually contain natural histamines. Hence, you can be in histamine overload by the triple hit from allergic reaction, direct histamine release and ingested natural histamines.

You can lighten this overload by eating some food first, prior to any alcohol.

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