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allergic to alcohol

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Old 09-14-2012, 06:05 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2012
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caroslev HB User
allergic to alcohol

when i drink alcohol my face burns up and gets red blotches on it. blotches also appear on my upper arms and sometimes my neck. this doesnt always happen but it happens a LOT. does anybody know what I can do to prevent this? I havnt been able to figure out what drinks effect me worst..but i think i react worse to spirits! is there anything i can take to stop this happening? I'm not goin to stop drinking...theres always makeup! :P

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Old 09-16-2012, 07:57 AM   #2
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Re: allergic to alcohol

Are you Asian? Has this been happening since you first started drinking, or is it a new development?

If you're Asian and it's always happened, you may have "genetic alcohol allergy." My husband has it quite bad, he had a life-threatening reaction once before I met him. There's no treatment other than avoiding alcohol, since it's not really an allergy. It's caused by an enzyme deficiency that makes it hard to metabolize alcohol. Folks who have this and drink anyway are at risk of serious health problems, like esophageal cancer.

Or, it could be you are allergic to brewer's yeast, sulfites, or some of the by-products of fermentation. If it's something like that, white wine might be better tolerated. If it's yeast, maybe the top-shelf liquors would be better, the ones that were distilled multiple times to purify them.

Old 09-16-2012, 08:16 AM   #3
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Re: allergic to alcohol

Yes, I agree with JaneWhite1. In addition, there is a condition called "histamine intolerance" you may want to check into. It is caused by deficiency in a particular enzyme needed to metabolize histamines that occur in food and drinks. This is not a regular food allergy and will not show up on allergy tests. Do a search on the term and you will find lots of information and food lists. Basically, most people have the ability to metabolize the histamines in food. People that lack enough of this enzyme can have issues with ingested histamines, and then experience allergy symptoms, flushing, bloating, etc. The reason the reaction can vary from time to time is that, while certain foods are known to have histamines in them, the amount can vary from serving to serving or batch to batch. Some of the foods have the histamines in them because of undergoing fermentation as part of their processing, and this is where alcohol comes in. One of the lists I saw stated that, if you have this intolerance, the alcohols that are safer are rum, vodka and gin. It will be interesting to see if you respond differently to those than to things like beer and wine. (I've wondered myself if that's why some people seem to get drunker on beer and wine than on hard liquors!) Good luck and keep us posted!

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