Have you ever wondered why your face turns red when you drink? Like, what causes it? or why does it happen? or what can I do to prevent it from happening?
Well, Science can easily explain the reasons behind your dilemma.
Your condition is called Alcohol flush reaction (AFR). Other names for AFR include Asian flush syndrome, Asian flush, and Asian glow because of its association with Asian ancestry.
AFR is a state where an individual develops flushes not only on the face but also in other parts of the body like the neck, shoulders, and in some cases, the entire body after consuming alcoholic beverages. Other symptoms of AFR include heightened heart rate, headaches and nausea.
Alcohol is first metabolized in the liver, where it is first oxidized into acetaldehyde and then to acetate. People with AFR carry a genetic mutation that disables this process.
Their genes runs a deficiency in the enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). According to a study, approximately 8% of the world’s population are ALDH2 deficient.
ALDH2 is the enzyme that converts acetaldehyde, without it, the body is left with an accumulation of acetaldehyde up to 10 times the normal concentration.
According to Robert M. Swift, a Researcher and Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, acetaldehyde is an agent in destroying proteins and DNA.
So imagine not being able to break down acetaldehyde in your body. Flushes all over your body, heightened heart rate, headaches and nausea are the instantaneous effects.
Unfortunately, since AFR is a genetic issue, there is no known cure for it.
If you still can’t resist drinking but suffer from AFR, here are a few tips we can give you.
- Drink Moderately – 2 glasses for men and 1 for women is the advised dose per day.
- Pick drinks with less alcohol content – alcohol contents can be seen on the labels of its bottles.
- Eat before and/or while drinking – fatty foods and carbs and slow down the rate of alcohol absorption.
- Drink plenty of water/non-alcoholic drinks – helps flush your alcohol intake and quench your thirst.