Have you ever wondered why your face becomes red after only one drink and hoped there is some kind of magic to get rid of it?
First of all, the condition is called asian flush and it is mostly common among East Asians and Japanese people are no stranger to this unfortunate reaction to alcohol.
If you are someone who can handle alcohol, you may not understand it but for a lightweight drinker it is embarrassing and frustrating when your face turns red on both personal or professional situations like date night or dinner meetings.
Today we are going to see what options are out there for you to prevent asian flush regardless of how much alcohol you can handle.
Acetaldehyde cause asian flush
You may have heard of the word “acetaldehyde” – acetaldehyde is a highly toxic product that is produced in the process of breaking down alcohol.
Facial redness, elevated heart beat, high blood pressure and/or sweating – All of these symptoms occurred while drinking alcohol are called “the flusher” and it is caused by acetaldehyde.
Affect of acetaldehyde on dilated blood vessels
Acetaldehyde stimulates the parasympathetic nerves and this causes conditions such as elevated heart beat or high blood pressure. The dilated blood vessels especially in face creates the blush where alcohol itself works already to promote blood circulation.
So why some people don’t get asian flush while I do.
The main difference between those who get asian flush and those who don’t is their body’s ability to metabolize acetaldehyde.
The pathways of alcohol metabolism
So this is how alcohol is metabolized in your body.
Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) first breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde then acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) metabolizes acetaldehyde into non toxic acetic acid making it possible to eliminate from your body.
Two types of asian flush
So when you carry less efficient enzymes that metabolizes acetaldehyde, you are likely to get asian flush easily. Here is the example of two types of people who get asian flush.
Type 1: Inactive enzymes
You are a lightweight. A drink or two won’t do you any harm but still get that blush.
Type 2: Deactivated enzymes
Your body has zero tolerance to alcohol. Even that smidgen of liquor in chocolate will make your face red. Most of those with deactivated enzymes gets asian flush very easily.
There are genetic differences in types of enzymes that individuals carry. Some research says that about 40% of Japanese are “inactive type” and 10% are “deactivated type” where almost every westerner is 100% active type.
What you will be told you can do
Honestly speaking, there are only few things you can do to avoid from getting asian flush. If you google how, you will be seeing results like “drink plenty of water” “drink moderately” “don’t even drink” “take this to fight alcohol toxicity” or “do this to improve your liver function”.
They seem like a way out but not really. What you need is activated enzymes that metabolizes alcohol. Again, that’s genetic and you can’t buy. Drinking plenty of water could help. Improved liver function is great (obviously) but still not good enough in our opinion.
What we recommend you to do
We think it’s very important that you find a way to enhance enzymes’ activity because acetaldehyde is the evil villain here and enzymes is the superhero.
Maximize your enzymes
If you are the type 1 with inactive enzymes, you have more than a few in your system. what you want to do with it is to maximize its ability by supplementing coenzymes.
One of the most known coenzymes in order to metabolize alcohol is vitamin B1 and it is said to be effective if you take vitamin B1 pre or post drinking.
Wether you carry inactive enzymes or deactivated enzymes, supplementing it will certainly help. Literally with supplements.
Genetic is something you can not change but you can choose to improve your body’s function by taking supplements.
Please note that conditions of facial redness and reactions to dilated blood vessels may vary so there might be more than two types of people who get asian flush.
It is very important that you know your body and find the best way that works for you.