Can You be Allergic to Alcohol?

allergic to alcohol

allergic to alcoholCan you be allergic to alcohol? Have you ever wondered why your face turns red when you drink?

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, complaining about what happens when they drink alcohol. They were concerned that it made them feel very ill, very quickly.

At one point my friend even considered that he was about to have a heart attack. His heart was beating so fast, he had to sit down and rest for a while. All the time his buddies were chugging back more and more of the ‘good stuff’.

I quickly messaged him and suggested that he may be allergic to alcohol!

Allergic To Alcohol, Surely Not!

Medical research in this area can now clarify the reasons behind this problem.

Having an alcohol intolerance basically means you have an ailment called Alcohol Flush Reaction (A.F.R.). Other names for A.F.R. include Asian flush syndrome, Asian flush, and Asian glow. This is due to its association with Eastern origins. Many Chinese and Japanese people are allergic to alcohol – much more than in the western world.

Alcohol allergy presents itself by developing red flushes not only on the head but also in other parts of the body like the throat, hands, and sometimes, the entire body after drinking alcoholic drinks. Other indicators of an allergy to alcohol include increased (sometimes rapid) heart rate, headaches, and nausea.

Why Are You Allergic To Alcohol?

The counteraction to booze is the outcome of an accumulation of acetaldehyde, a metabolic by-product of the breakdown of alcohol by the human body. This is caused by an acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency in the DNA.

Booze is first metabolized in the liver organ, where it is initial oxidized into acetaldehyde and then to acetate. The anti-alcoholism drug Antabuse interferes with this process to make alcoholics effectively suffer from a dramatic reaction to the consumption of alcohol.

However, people with A.F.R. hold a hereditary mutation that disables this system. They don’t need a prescribed pill to make them feel terribly ill.

Their body has developed with an insufficiency in the molecule, aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). According to a recent research study, approximately 9% of the planet’s populace are ALDH2 flawed, and as such will be allergic to alcohol.

ALDH2 is the enzyme that converts acetaldehyde into a safer compound. Without it, the body is left with an accumulation of acetaldehyde up to TEN times the normal amount.

Acetaldehyde is dangerous to have in the system because it destroys healthy proteins and DNA.

What Does It Feel Like

So envision not having the ability to break down acetaldehyde in your system. What you will experience is red rashes and hot flushing all over your body, increased heart rate, migraines, and nausea. These are just a few of the immediate effects.

Sadly, since A.F.R. is a genetic issue, there is no known cure for it.

We have a strange love affair with alcohol, we have effectively fallen in love with a serial killer. When people (like my friend) get told that they have an allergy to alcohol they act like they have been diagnosed with cancer.

Is it such a disaster to not be able to drink again? Of course not, but a lot of people react like that.

Reduce Your Intake

free quit drinking bookIf you can’t stop drinking completely, you should at least reduce your intake.

  1. Drink In Moderation: Two glasses for men and no more than one for women is the recommended max daily.
  2. Select alcoholic beverages with a lower ethanol content. Alcohol percentages can be seen on the stickers of bottles and cans. There are many low-alcohol or alcohol-free options available now.
  3. Eat a meal before and/or while drinking. Greasy meals and carbs both slow down the rate of alcohol absorption.
  4. Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic drinks. Water and sodas help to flush alcohol out of your body and satiate your thirst.

If you are ready to kick the booze out of your life for good. Click here for more information about the Stop Drinking Expert program. Over 50,000 people have discovered a happy sober life without any cravings or embarrassing group therapy.

Craig Beck - The Stop Drinking Expert

About the author: Craig Beck ( is the world's #1 quit drinking coach. Using his experience as a former problem drinker, combined with an expert knowledge of NLP & human behavior. He has helped over 50,000 people to quit drinking, without willpower, rehab or medication. Discover how to stop drinking quickly and easily today.

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