Am I allergic to alcohol?
Delta Nutrassentials founder Spencer Gordon (UC Berkeley - Molecular Biology and Human Metabolism) explains the symptoms of an 'alcohol allergy'. Sometimes, a true allergy can be caused by compounds in a specific type of alcohol. However, the symptoms described here may not be an allergy at all.
Many people think they might have an alcohol allergy because they react negatively when they drink. Symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness and red flushing of the face and the skin. If you see someone that turns red when they drink, it is often confused with being an allergy. This is actually called Alcohol Flush Reaction. It is not an allergy to alcohol but a reaction to a metabolite of alcohol called acetaldehyde.
Approximately one billion people worldwide have a genetic mutation called ALDH2 Deficiency and they can’t metabolize acetaldehyde properly. So when a person with ALDH2 Deficiency drinks, acetaldehyde accumulates very rapidly to very high concentrations, causing symptoms of alcohol flush reaction including red facial flushing that many people confuse with alcohol allergy.