Posted in Lifestyle on May 14, 2009

asian-glow-girl “Asian flush” otherwise known as “Asian Glow” is a well known description for what is observed on certain group of Asians where their face turns red due to their intolerance of alcohol.  The rates of occurrences in Asians vary.  It is usually about 30% for Japanese, Koreans and Chinese while over 50% for other East Asians.

While this reaction can be embarrassing for guys, it is sometimes considered cute on girls as it makes them look like they are blushing.  What is the cause?  What are its ties to cancer? In short, the cause for Asian Flush is that many Asians lack ALDH2, an enzyme that metabolize alcohol into forms that the body can handle.  If you lack this enzyme, you could turn red even with half a drink!

It has been reported in Newsweek reported that people who have symptoms of Asian Flush are more likely to get cancers such as esophageal cancer and other cancers that are directly related to alcohol consumption.  Studies have shown that if you lack the ALDH2 enzyme, you are 6-10 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than those who have the enzyme.