This is why some people go bright red when they drink alcohol – WalesOnline

You’ve probably noticed that some people’s faces go bright red when they drink alcohol – it might even happen to you.

It’s got nothing to do with being hot in a packed pub or club, or being flushed from having a good time.

It’s actually called “alcohol flush reaction” and while it’s best-known for causing a red face (it can also affect the neck and even the whole body), the condition also results in a heightened heart rate, headache and nausea.

People who turn red when they drink alcohol lack activity by an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2).

Alcohol or ethanol is broken down or converted in the liver to acetaldehyde, a highly toxic compound that contributes to the hungover feeling. In most people, acetaldehyde is rapidly transformed to harmless acetate and water.

But for some people the toxic acetaldehyde isn’t broken down as quickly so it hangs around and accumulates in the liver and body — resulting in the red glow.

The alcohol flushing reaction (Image: Creative Commons) Read More

These people are at higher risk of the bad effects of alcohol, both immediately and in later life. They could also be at higher risk of mouth and throat cancer.

And a Korean study suggests people who flush after drinking could be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol on blood pressure.

Alcohol flush reaction is a genetic condition, thought to have originated in China and spread, The Mirror reported . There is no cure.

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