Asian Glow. Asian Flush. Turning Red. It doesn’t matter what you call it, because they all mean the same thing: You have a different kind of drinking problem.
Chances are you’ve already heard of Asian Flush Syndrome, the technical name for extreme blushing while drinking. Despite popular belief (and wishful thinking), having Asian Glow does not mean you are already tipsy or drunk. In fact, the redness is often accompanied by feeling faint, rapid heartbeat and nausea – two side effects that don’t exactly add to a fun night of drinking.
Every time you consume alcohol, your body converts the ethanol (fancy name for booze) into acetaldehyde, a scary toxic chemical which is related to formaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is then converted into acetate (i.e. vinegar) with the help of an enzyme called ALDH2. Those with Asian Glow have defective ALDH2 enzymes, which slow this metabolic process — meaning the toxins stay in your blood stream longer than they should. The result is Asian Flush.
About half of people from East Asian descent have experienced varying levels of this flush. The vast majority of this group can typically consume one to two drinks before starting to feel the glow, whereas a small minority (5-7 percent) feel its adverse effects after just a few sips.
The good news is, while there is no official cure, we’ve compiled several peer-tested ways which can help reduce and alleviate symptoms.
1. Zantac or Pepcid AC
These popular histamine blockers reduces stomach acid and curb flushing symptoms. Take a pill about 20 minutes before the festivities begin. Beware of binge drinking, though. Antihistamines increase the rate of your blood alcohol level, which means you will reach your booze limit faster.
According to experts at the Melbourne Dermatology & Rosacea Treatment Clinic, drinking plenty of water will substantially dilute alcohol in your system. Ideally, you should have two glasses of water before your first alcoholic drink and then in-between each drink.
3. Cold Drinks
For some, drinking chilled alcohol like champagne, white wine or moscato cause less redness than drinking room-temperature or warm drinks like port or mulled wine. Another alternative is to sip on alcohol-diluted drinks, such as spritzers, instead.
4. Before Elixir
Marketed as a safe, natural tonic, this double-threat drink prevents both redness and hangovers. This elixir of amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants and plant extracts claims to reduce acetaldehyde buildup and promote healthy liver function.
Though still in crowdfunding infancy, Sunset calls itself “the next generation in alcohol flush prevention and the key to enjoying alcohol with confidence.” Its ingredients include NAC, an amino acid quickly breaks down into Glutathione, a super antioxidant that fights Asian Glow, and Quercetin, which has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
How do you get rid of Asian Glow? Let us know in the comments below.