This is why red wine gives you the worst hangovers, according to science

By Kat O'Connor

November 21, 2023 at 3:36pm


The older we get, the worse the hangovers become.

We can now afford better alcohol and no longer rely on cheap cider or bottles of Smirnoff Ice on a night out. But as delicious as the bottles of red wine and overpriced margaritas are, they leave us feeling 100 years old the next day.

Especially red wine. Is there anything worse than a wine hangover? We think not.

There’s something different about wine hangovers. They manage to stop us from being slightly functioning humans and leave us with headaches that feel like we’ve hit our heads off the wall.

A team of scientists in America has confirmed that wine hangovers are actually worse than any other kind.

And they’ve explained why in a fascinating study, but be warned, it may put you off red wine forever.


A team of scientists at the University of California discovered that there is a nutrient called ‘quercitin’ in red wine that actually stops your body from processing alcohol.

Credit: Christine Baranski

The team shared: “The consumption of red wine induces headaches in some subjects who can drink other alcoholic beverages without suffering.

“When it gets in your bloodstream, your body converts it to a different form called quercetin glucuronide. In that form, it blocks the metabolism of alcohol.”

This then causes a build-up of the toxic acetaldehyde, which is the culprit for that awful headache.


“Acetaldehyde is a well-known toxin, irritant, and inflammatory substance. Researchers know that high levels of acetaldehyde can cause facial flushing, headache, and nausea,” the team explained.

The team said more research is needed and plans to continue their research with human studies.

Header image via Getty

This article originally appeared on



- Luxury eco retreat with woodland spa and ice plunge pool opens in Wicklow

- Taoiseach presents Charlie Bird with award for 'Climb with Charlie' campaign

- 10 Downing St hastily edit social post about Northern Ireland that included the Irish flag