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Asian Flush (“Blame it on the Ah-Ah-Ah-Alcohol”)

Posted March 12th, 2010 by Peter · 8 Comments

Hello SAPL Family! It’s been a while since our last post, but I would like to announce one of Vannie’s last posts before she takes an extended leave from guest writing here at SAPL. Her submissions have been great for the Asian Community in that they’ve urged us to think deeper about our lives as Asian Americans and our place in society. This is a little more light hearted than the usual, but here goes!


If you think Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had it bad, think again. The uncomfortable sensation we get when consuming alcohol, even worse, when the catcalls begin and the bombs start dropping. However, we’re so visible that our faces become red flags spotted from even a mile away. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded case of the “Asian flush”.

After a short research rampage, I’ve realized that it’s not that we can’t hold our alcohol (well, I can speak for myself..). Rather, the mystery is attributed to a deficiency in the enzyme called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (otherwise known as ALDH2)- which generally facilitates metabolism in breaking down alcohol within the body. According to a study conducted on 35 Asian-American men (, data show that as a result of this lack of enzyme function, it takes more time for Asians to process booze. Consequently, the dilation of blood vessels causes our miniature Asian faces to light up. Furthermore, those who lack this enzyme have an “elevated risk of developing esophageal cancer, especially among alcohol drinkers” (

So, at the end of the night, it’s nothing to “blush” about. The next time you’re made fun of for your ruddy-hued appearance, don’t be embarrassed (even if you are, the moonshine can be applied for cover-up). There’s not much you can change about your Asian genes. Rather, think positive: the next time you’re out with an Asian crowd, hold a contest and see who glows the most in the dark.

Check out Cure, Prevention, and Treatment for Asian Flush here!

Happy (but safe) drinking!

Thanks again Vannie, and good luck with the rest of your studies!

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Tags: Activities · Culture · Featured Topic · Food & Beverage · Habits · Open Dialogue · People · Relationships · Social

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dave Ku // Mar 16, 2010 at 5:09 am

    Don’t you mean Asian Frush?

  • 2 BananaViews // Mar 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I’m glad there’s a scientific reason!

  • 3 Peter // Mar 20, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    @Dave Ku,


  • 4 Chinamerican // May 7, 2010 at 8:19 am

    @Dave Ku,

    Asian glow!

  • 5 Simon // Jul 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I only get it for like the first half hour or so.. after that i can drink as much as I want without the redness… i’m actually really glad I can drink like a champ..

  • 6 juicy couture // Oct 26, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Good post and pictures. I feel happy when i see post. Thanks for sharing these pictures with us.

  • 7 yiwu market // Jan 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I found this is an informative and interesting post so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing ability has inspired me. Really the article is spreading its wings rapidly.

  • 8 matt // Jan 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    what happens if im irish-asian :O

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