Log in
Asthma UK community forum
11,295 members17,564 posts

Red wine

Hi, I have recently posted a thread on quorn and the experience that I've had following eating it. Many fellow forum members also shared their experiences and some where quite scary.

This time it's Red wine. I love red wine and over the years I have tried all sorts. After a while I started noticing that most made me feel friendly, happy and clumsy.....but seriously, certain wines made my chest feel tight. I did some research on their making and found these to be the cab sav, merlot and Bordeaux. Apparently these wines are high in tannins. These also include Malbec which since I started drinking in the 1980s was quite unusual to find. Red wines which cause me less or no chest difficulties include Spanish wines such as Rioja and wines based on the Tempranillo grape. I also fine Chianti and Beaujolais Neuvaux ?. Is that the right spelling ? But thesedays I'm confident that I'm able to enjoy these red wines without symptoms.

I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts.

6 Replies

Red wine doesn't give me asthma, but it does cause issues with heartburn, the reason being the tannin content; I also have issues with drinking tea for the same reason.

Reflux (which can be responsible for heartburn) can also cause asthma like symptoms and it can be very difficult to distinguish between an asthma flare and asthma like symptoms triggered by reflux. I do suffer from reflux and I've certainly got it wrong in the past.

As you have also mentioned quorn as causing issues perhaps you should make an appointment to see your GP to discuss what the cause of your problem is. Is it a food allergy, or are you having issues with reflux?


Hi Maggiehp

Can I ask what your experienc of reflux is ?



Hi Johntapley,

I suppose I first became aware of it about five years ago. I already had a bit of history with digestive issues and knew there were certain foods that I had to be a little bit careful with. Five years ago I started to have breathing issues in the spring. It started with my chest being a little tight at certain times of the day, and over the course of four weeks it got worse. The breathing issues weren't constant (other than the fact I had them every day), they came and went. My peak flow readings were fine, I was on maximum amounts of my preventer and I began to use my reliever (which helped a bit, but not as much as I might have expected). Of course at that point I went to my GP, convinced that my asthma was getting out of control. As luck would have it, it wasn't my usual GP I saw, it was a locum - but it quickly became apparent that before he saw me he had checked my recent medical history.

There were two aspects about these breathing problems I was having that were not normal for my asthma: firstly, exercise actually seemed to help - and my asthma is known to be exercise induced. Secondly, I had noticed a pattern in the bouts of breathing issues: they seemed to come on within half an hour of eating or drinking and they lasted for one to two hours before improving. Severity also seemed to depend on what I had eaten: I can still recall having a particularly difficult bout having consumed a bowl of broccoli and cheese soup (which was a pity because the soup was delicious).

So I filled the locum in on all these details and then he looked at me and said that he noted from my notes that I had a history of digestive issues, which I had to admit that I was confused by - as far as I was concerned I was having problems with my asthma. Then he went on to explain about silent reflux and how it could irritate the airways resulting in asthma like symptoms. I ended up on lansoprazole for a month. Breathing problems solved.

These days I am much more aware of reflux happening, sometimes because I get heartburn or other digestive discomfort, sometimes because I might have mild breathing issues within half an hour or so of finishing eating. Reflux is not an uncommon problem, and I'm not the only asthmatic I know of who has it. The triggers will vary from person to person. In my case they include caffeine (including plain and milk chocolate - though I can cope with white chocolate), spicy food, red wine, tea, pineapple, peppermint, and onions; there are also other foods that I have to be careful with.

Apologies for the length of this, but hopefully it will be of some help. Even if this does not match exactly what you are experiencing I would still recommend that you see your GP if you continue to have breathing problems having consumed food or drink:-).


It's the histamines and added sulphites in alcohol that can be asthma triggers. This explains it very well:


1 like

Hi, I'm not really a red wine drinker, but love (and have to be very careful with) white wine. I think it is because of the sulfites which cause me problems with lots of food and drink. I still react to them because they are very hard to completely cut out but I try to eat and drink as little sulfitey things as possible.

Hope you find a way round the red wine, good luck


Thanks for all the input and yes I have heard that the sulphate s can cause problems. But trying to keep away from wine can be a challenge on occasion ! ,!


You may also like...