Since acetaldehyde is regularly entering the body from numerous sources or being created inside the body, it is always present in low concentrations. In those with ALDH2 Deficiency, acetaldehyde accumulates and can damage DNA and proteins in the body. Long term exposure to acetaldehyde can have serious health implications, including higher risk of diseases like:
- Gastric and Esophageal Cancer: Acetaldehyde entering the throat and GI tract from foods, alcohol, and cigarette smoke causes damage to the esophagus and stomach.
- Liver Disease: Exposure to acetaldehyde over time causes scarring in the liver that leads to liver cirrhosis and liver disease.
- 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.