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This Is Why Your Face Turns Red When You Drink Alcohol

Does your face always look madly sunburnt after a couple of glasses of wine? Youre not alone. However, an Internet search may make you worry about a plethora of relatively unlikely causessuch as intense allergic reactions orhigh blood pressure.

But the real reason you look so red after happy hour all comes down to science.

Basically,the flushed skin is your bodys way of letting you know that its not metabolizing alcohol as efficiently as it could be, explainsAmitava Dasgupta, PhD, a professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine atThe University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Alcohol is metabolized or broken down intoacetaldehyde, and when your body cannot metabolize the compound during this process, the blood capillaries in your face dilate, resulting in a visibly blotchy alcohol flush reaction.If you drink two glasses of wine really fast, like more than two in one hour, your body cant get rid ofacetaldehyde fast enough, so your face may turn red, he says.Due to genomic differences, 80 percent of East Asians experience this reaction because they haveinherited an overactive copy of a gene that metabolizes alcohol so they break down acetaldehyde extremely quickly, sometimes up to 100 times faster, he says. Because of this, they dont experience the typical alcohol buzz. Instead,ALDH2(aldehyde dehydrogenase 2)causes acetaldehyde to clear from their bloodstream at a slowed pace, instigating a significantly greater buildup of acetaldehyde and red cheeks. This may travel with a rapid heartbeat, he says. In addition, people who have an overactive copy of this gene may experiencenausea, headaches, and overall discomfort when drinking alcohol. They are less likely to drink alcohol because of how it makes them feel, he says. (Psst:Check out thecelebs who dont drink alcohol.)A 2018 study inNaturesuggests that those who get a red flush while drinking alcohol may be more susceptible todamaging their DNAthan those who dont. Using a mouse model, the researchers found that the gene responsible for the flush makes itfour times more likely to have DNA damage after a single dose of alcohol.

Although there is no way to change your genetic reaction to alcohol, there are tactics to minimize the rosy cheeks.

For starters, dont try to drink more to build up a tolerance in the hope that the redness will eventually subside; unfortunately, it doesnt work that way. Doctors avidly discourage this strategy as it may actually aggravate the condition.Instead,limit your alcohol consumption; ideally, men should stick to no more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day and women should adhere to a maximum of one alcoholic drink per day. Binge drinking will drastically overload your body, so stay away from the beer bong at parties. Drink slowly and in moderation to avoid the flush, he says.If youre suffering with alcohol flush reaction, identify your limit and avoid exceeding it as much as possible. That may mean saying adieu to your favourite drinks, so try this deliciousgrape mocktailin the meantime.

The post This Is Why Your Face Turns Red When You Drink Alcohol appeared first on Best Health Magazine Canada.

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