Home > Interesting link > “Asian Glow” ALDH2 Deficiency and Esophagael Cancer

“Asian Glow” ALDH2 Deficiency and Esophagael Cancer

The “asian glow” is a common side effect of consuming alcohol for many Asian Americans, however there are more serious consequences that underlie this rosy disposition.

An Excerpt from

Asian party-goers strive to get rid of that ‘glow’ often caused by the first drink

By Devon Haynie
“There is no cure for the glow–no prescription pills to pop or liquid to swallow. And medical professionals acknowledge that they’re not too eager to find a remedy. But young adults may have stumbled on one already. Large numbers of Asian-American youth are turning to over-the-counter antacid medicines like Zantac and Pepcid AC to keep their alcohol-induced blushing at bay. Those who show signs of the Asian glow have inherited either one or two abnormal genes, said Dr. Adam Bisaga of the Columbia Medical Center in New York. When alcohol is first metabolized, it is converted to a byproduct known as acetaldehyde, Bisaga said. In most people, an enzyme known as aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) breaks down acetaldehyde. Some Asian-Americans, however, have a deficiency in the enzyme, which causes them to break down acetaldehyde at a much slower rate. When acetaldehyde accumulates in the bloodstream, it can cause flushing, burning or other unpleasant side effects, doctors say.The severity and symptoms of the Asian glow vary. People who have two of the mutant genes might turn bright purple, sweat, have a rapid pulse rate and feel sick, while others with one abnormal gene may only occasionally experience mild side effects, like a slight red tint or faint burning sensation, Bisaga said.”
A more recent article from MSNCB: Asian flush’ red flag for risk of cancer

A link to the original PLoS Medicine paper that established the link between ALDH2 deficiency and esophagael cancer

The Alcohol Flushing Response: An Unrecognized Risk Factor for Esophageal Cancer from Alcohol Consumption

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