Maybe you’ve had alcohol and your face has turned bright red. Your friend says. “Oh, you must have Asian Glow!” Hold on. What is Asian Glow? And why do I have it?
Here’s everything you need to know about this condition and what you can do about it.
What is Asian Glow?
In simplest terms, Asian Glow is a condition where your body cannot properly break down alcohol. Whenever you consume alcohol, you’ll experience negative symptoms. For some, any amount of alcohol can trigger a reaction. In severe cases, symptoms can appear after only a few sips of alcohol.
You might have heard this called alcohol flushing or Asian Flush, but they all mean the same thing
Asian Glow symptoms can include:
- Red facial flushing
- Turning red on your body (red face, chest, shoulders and/or neck)
- Nasal congestion or getting a stuffy nose
- Headaches or even migraines in more serious situations
- Feeling dizzy and/or nauseous
- Rapid heart rate or increased heart beats
- General feeling of getting hot and sweaty
- Bloodshot eyes or itchy eyes
- Itchy and red hives on the body
It’s not hard to imagine that these symptoms are uncomfortable, embarrassing and painful. It’s hard to enjoy your night out if you’re Asian Glow is in full-swing.
Why can’t I metabolize alcohol?
Alcohol flushing comes down to an ineffective liver enzyme. Those with an aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 deficiency (also called an ALDH2 deficiency) cannot metabolize alcohol and its toxic byproducts effectively.
A night at the bar might look like this:
- An individual with Asian Glow drinks alcohol
- The alcohol enters the body and is broken down in acetaldehyde
- Acetaldehyde is toxic and needs to be broken down further as soon as possible
- Because they have Asian Flush, the body is unable to properly break down acetaldehyde and it accumulates in the body
- Acetaldehyde causes nasty side effects, such as a red face from alcohol
- If they continue to drink alcohol, more and more acetaldehyde will build up
- Those with condition are also likely to feel hangovers more severely the following day as well
Why do I have Asian Glow?
Unfortunately Alcohol Flush Syndrome is hereditary, so if someone in your family has it, it’s likely that you will, too.
This condition is given this name because many of Asian descent have it, especially those from East Asia (such as Chinese, Japanese and Koreans). However, you don’t have to be Asian to have this condition. Many people, including Caucasians, can have this ALDH2 deficiency causing a negative reaction to alcohol.
This condition is sometimes referred to as Alcohol Flush Reaction as this better incompasses other ethnicities that have it. However, both names mean the same thing.
How can I prevent Asian Flush?
Unfortunately there is currently no cure for this condition. The only way to avoid symptoms completely is to stop drinking alcohol.
However, cutting out alcohol from your diet completely may not be ideal. It can also be extremely hard to avoid alcohol, especially in social settings.
So what can I do to stop Asian Glow?
We have a few DIY Asian Glow tips that you can try at home. These won’t stop the condition from happening, but they can help minimize the uncomfortable symptoms.
Otherwise, we recommend trying out an Asian Glow relief product which is what we’ve been testing and reviewing on this website. We’ve looked at both Asian Glow Pills, Asian Glow Patches and even an Asian Glow drink. Make sure to check out our reviews before you try them out yourself.
If you have alcohol flush reaction, unfortunately you won’t grow out of it. This condition will last your lifetime. However, alcohol flushing symptoms won’t last forever. Once you stop drinking alcohol, symptoms should subside after a few hours.
Of course, everyone experiences alcohol flushing differently, but symptoms will lessen once you stop drinking alcohol and give it time.
Is Asian Glow dangerous?
This condition is the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, so it shouldn’t be ignored. Occasionally having a drink shouldn’t cause too much worry.
However, it’s important to note that Asian Flush does come with it’s own health concerns in the long term. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report that those with Asian Flush have an increase risk of certain cancers, including a higher risk of esophageal cancer, along with possible DNA damage.
Serious stuff! Of course, this would impact you if you drank a lot of alcohol over your lifespan, but drinking within moderation occasionally should have less of an impact. If you’re ever unsure, please speak to your doctor or healthcare professional.