Kita – Chapter 17 – Asian Glow

Last week when I was out with Kita, she declined a glass of wine because she said she had Asian Glow. I had never heard of it before so I decided to do some investigating on my own.

Some Asians have a natural condition that discourages them from drinking alcohol. About 50 percent of the Japanese, Korean, and Northeastern Chinese population experience a phenomenon called the Alcohol Flush Reaction (AFR), or what is commonly known as “Asian glow.” AFR is usually associated with flushing of the neck and face, but the condition also results in symptoms such as heightened heart rate, headache, and nausea, even after consuming as little as one alcoholic drink.

Typically, alcohol is metabolized in the liver, where it is oxidized first to acetaldehyde and then to acetate. Most people who experience AFR, however, flush after drinking because they lack the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydro¬genase (ALDH2) enzyme that converts acetaldehyde, resulting in an accumulation of acetaldehyde up to 10 times the normal concentration. The exact genetic nature of the deficient enzyme appears to be the presence of an allele (ALDH2*2) that inacti¬vates ALDH2 enzymes. The allele is, in fact, dominant, although heterozygous individuals show much milder reactions to alcohol than homozygous individuals.

There have been several drugs that stop the flushing, such as histamine and the over-the-counter drug, Pepcid AC. However, these drugs only mitigate the “glow,” i.e. they do not prevent the acetal¬dehyde accumulation, which is suspected to cause long-term liver problems. Thus, individuals who drink often and use drugs to suppress the flushing are at greater risk for liver diseases.

Even though the vernacular term for AFR is “Asian glow,” Asians are not the only ones who suffer from the often embarrassing “glow.” It turns out that Ashkenazi Jews often lack the aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme as well.

Maybe it’s time, then, to think of a new name for “Asian glow.” Seems a little insensitive.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly          Facebook: phicklephilly        twitter: @phicklphilly

Author: phicklephilly

Copyright © 2016 by Phicklephilly All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All stories and characters are based on real people and events. The names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s