I'm posting on behalf of a friend who is able to drink certain types of alcohol and not others. She is fine with very light bodied beers e.g. bud light, and also whisky. She can not however have Vodka, Rum, Wine, heavy or most craft beers, or fernet branca. These are just the safe/unsafe types I know of, there are probably many more in both category. I thought maybe sulfites when she told me about wine, but does that account for any of the others? Her primary symptom is a very bad head ache, even from a very small amount. She is 28, and of Korean descent. Any info would be great, thanks.
I'm no doctor or scientist, but I do believe many Asians are simply unable to process alcohol. The reason for this is not allergy, but because of a defective enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which breaks down a byproduct of alcohol metabolism, acetaldehyde, into acetic acid. Thus, the acetaldehyde levels build up and cause the skin flushing, rapid heart rate, and sweating. And more recently, I've read that it is very dangerous to drink alcohol if you are one of those lacking this enzyme. Could that headache have to do with dehydration after drinking?