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Health Risks of ALDH2 Deficiency
The health risks associated with ALDH2 Deficiency are due to consistent long term exposure to higher than normal amounts of acetaldehyde.

ALDH2 Deficiency and cancer

Gastric and Esophageal Cancer:

Acetaldehyde entering the throat and GI tract from foods, alcohol, and cigarette smoke causes damage to the esophagus and stomach. Since acetaldehyde is a carcinogen, the more we are exposed to it, the more likely the development of cancer. Learn how acetaldehyde causes cancer here. Learn how this damage leads to gastrointestinal cancers in those with ALDH2 Deficiency here. Learn how those with ALDH2 Deficiency are vulnerable to cancers caused by cigarette smoke here.

Liver Disease:

Exposure to acetaldehyde over time causes scarring in the liver that leads to liver cirrhosis and liver disease. Learn more about how this happens here. Acetaldehyde is a major contributor to the development of liver disease in alcoholics, and counties with high rates of ALDH2 Deficiency have higher than average rates of liver disease. Continued exposure to acetaldehyde over time can damage the liver and decrease liver function. Learn how ALDH2 Deficiency promotes fatty liver and disease here. Learn how ALDH2 Deficiency may increase the risk of liver disease here

Alzheimer's Disease:

There has been research indicating that the increased acetaldehyde entering the brain in those with ALDH2 Deficiency causes damage to brain cells. To view these findings, please visit here. For more information on how this works, please visit here.


Acetaldehyde can negatively impact bone development, and recent research shows those with ALDH2 Deficiency are at a significantly increased risk of losing bone density and developing Osteoporosis. To read about these recent findings, please visit here. The same researchers documented how ALDH2 Deficiency causes increased bone loss in mice here. In addition, they found significantly higher acetaldehyde in these mice even without consumption of alcohol.