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Dear Dr. Vinny,

At my church we take communion once a month. Is that sip of wine enough to cause a hangover?

—Carla B., Ohio

Dear Carla,

There are many religions that use wine in their ceremonies. Some mix the wine with water, and there are some wines especially for communion services that are made in a low-alcohol or sweeter style, and some churches insist on using alcohol-free grape juice.

In most ceremonies that employ wine, only a symbolic sip is taken. Even if your church uses “full-strength” wine, that sip shouldn’t make you drunk, or give you a hangover. Hangovers are typically associated with overindulgence.

But it’s possible for someone to feel an effect from as little as a sip of wine. Some studies indicate that even a tiny amount of alcohol can trigger the release of dopamine in your brain. It also doesn’t take much to trigger a migraine if you’re prone to them and sensitive to alcohol.

—Dr. Vinny

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