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Health 123

Health 123 - Why some people have red flushes after drinking alcohol?

Are you one of those who have red flushes on the face after drinking alcohol? Or even thought that this is a good sign of blood circulation and you have a great alcohol capacity in your body?

Is this really the truth?
No! It is indeed wrong to say so! Firstly, we have to understand the effect and changes that take place in the body after alcohol consumption. Under normal circumstances, the alcohol which passes by the gastrointestinal tract will be absorbed by it before entering the bloodstream.  After that, it will reach the liver and be broken down and metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). It needs ADH to convert the alcohol to acetaldehyde, and ALDH to convert acetaldehyde to acetic acid, and finally it discharges from our bodies in the form of water and carbon dioxide. Hence, ADH and ALDH are two very important metabolic enzymes for alcohol. 

However, study shows that there are nearly 50% of Asians with variations on their ALDH enzyme genes. When these people consume alcohol, the metabolism stops half way through the process and the acetaldehyde will then accumulate in their bodies which causes their skin’s micro vessels to enlarge, and they will feel burning sensation and itchiness on their faces, which is known as “Asian Flush”!  

Acetaldehyde is a carcinogen which causes cancer. Studies discover that a regular increase or a huge accumulation of acetaldehyde in our body will expose us to a higher risk as much as 50 times in terms of getting brain and throat cancer, oesophagus cancer, colon cancer and stroke!  

Hence, don’t ever think that you have a good blood circulation because you have red flushes on your face after consuming alcoholic drinks. Or you encourage your friend who has red flushes on his face to keep consuming alcohol because you think that capacity for liquor can be trained. You don’t know that it can pose a big harm to his body!     

We often hear that we have to drink moderately. Yet what does moderate mean? Let’s look at how much is a standard cup. For men and women with normal ALDH, they are not to consume more than 2 standard cups and 1 standard cup per day respectively. If there is any partial variation found in their ALDH, they will have to reduce their consumption into half!

In summary, our alcohol consumption capacity is inborn. If we can’t abstain from drinking, then we have to learn to be moderate in order to avoid getting ourselves into troubles!    

Lastly, please be reminded not to drink when you drive, and don’t drive if you drink!