Monday, February 01, 2010

Red-faced Alcohol Consumer

Not being a fan of alcohol, the number of times I've drank alcohol can be counted on my fingers (okok I'm not that innocent - plus toes too, I guess hahaha). To me, any sort of beverage containing alcohol tastes like medicine - yes, even shandy (a little). So I think it is the alcohol component of the drink that I don't like (ethanol - yuck for me, but somehow diluted ethanol used for sanitizing lab equipments smells quite ok!).

Another reason I don't fancy alcohol is because I turn really red really fast and start feeling very hot! Then I'll start itching around my neck (initially I thought this was an allergic reaction, but after thinking it over, I suspect the itching comes part and parcel with the intense heat release from the skin). Anyway, I remember having conversations with different groups of acquaintances about people turning red, green or no reaction when getting drunk. The conclusion was always that people who turn red can down more alcohol and I'm always opposing that statement. It had something to do with fast metabolisation of the alcohol, so you don't get intoxicated fast.

However, after reading this NewScientist article, I guess I'm wrong and there is an explanation to the flushed face after all! And I've learned that what I experience is common in Asians and is believed to be a genetic mutation in the gene that codes for the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. This enzyme acts like a catalyst, speeding up the metabolisation of alcohol in our blood - which means it is removed alcohol from our blood quickly and we won't feel tipsy easily! Well, what a pity I don't drink right? I could've been great at it - after all, it's in my genes!! hahaha

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