Asian Flush Syndrome (aka Asian Glow / Alcohol Flush Syndrome)

What the heack is Asian flush? You have a drink or two with friends – maybe a glass of a nice red wine or a beer – and you feel a prickly hot flush on your face neck and shoulders. You feel anxious, your heart is racing, and nausea twists up your stomach. Everyone is looking at you and wondering if you’re OK and you know why – your face is bright red.

You know this – it’s how it goes. So, what happened? A buildup of acetaldehyde, a toxin, from incomplete breakdown of alcohol.

Symptoms of Asian Flush Glow


The symptoms can include skin flushing, red flushing of neck, shoulders and potentially entire body, headache, anxiety, nausea, increased heart rate, dizziness, itchy skin and fatigue.

It’s Your ALDH2’s Fault

Alcohol Flush Syndrome (Asian Glow) occurs in people who are deficient in acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), the enzyme that metabolizes toxic acetaldehyde to harmless acetic acid (vinegar). As a result, acetaldehyde builds up to toxic levels and triggers a number of reactions that include skin flushing.

I’m glowing all over!

But your face flushing red isn’t the only thing you can experience from Alcohol Flush Syndrome/Asian Glow. The symptoms can also include red flushing of neck, shoulders and potentially entire body, headache, anxiety, nausea, increased heart rate, dizziness, itchy skin and fatigue.

How’d Asian get with flush?

So, why the term Asian Flush? Because approximately 50% of people with Asian descent have the gene variant that results in deficient ALDH2, whereas the gene variant is much less common in other populations. Around 45% of Asians have one copy of the ALDH2 gene variant and will experience a reaction at 1-2 drinks. A smaller group (~5%) have two copies of the ALDH2 gene variant and will experience more severe reactions at less than 1 drink.

What’s the histamine connection?

Acetaldehyde buildup causes flushing by stimulating release of histamine into circulation. Because of this many people use anti-histamines – Zantac, Pepcid AC – to control the flushing reaction. While this does help with flushing it is a bad idea overall, because it does not increase breakdown of toxic acetaldehyde levels.

What Causes Flushing?


Acetaldehyde buildup causes flushing by stimulating release of histamine.

What’s my Ideal Strategy?


Improve breakdown of acetaldehyde, histamine, and of other products of fermentation to control Asian flush.

What am I gonna do?

The ideal strategy is to improve breakdown of acetaldehyde, histamine, and other products of fermentation (congeners) that can trigger reactions in their own right and complicate the effects of acetaldehyde and histamine.

Let’s get this straight.

Research has shown acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) activity can be improved by providing specific cofactor nutrients – molybdenum, selenium. riboflavin, niacinamide, and E. All of these nutrients are part of the Vinami Formula. Glutathione also helps with breakdown of acetaldehyde and protects the liver from its toxic effects. Glutathione production is promoted by the selenium, folic acid, magnesium, B6, and broccoli sprouts in Vinami.

Vinami contains the active/enzymatic forms of vitamins B6 and folic acid and quercetin to control histamine.

Whats the bigger picture here?


It’s not just about the flush! Being sensitive to aldehydes typically leads to a bunch of other symptoms you probably suffer through daily. You might even avoid alcohol, but you still get exposed to aldehydes in your food and environment.

We’ve put together a six part educational program for you on how to be free of what seem like mysterious problems being triggered by aldehyde sensitivity.

The Six Installment Chemical Intolerance Mini-course


Congener What?

Congeners are by-products in wine and spirits that are produced during fermentation. Congeners include inflammatory prostaglandins, phenols, aldehydes, tyramines, histamine, fusel oils, methanol, and acetone. All of these chemicals are all slightly toxic even though they play a huge role in the flavor of wine and spirits. They, also, play  a positive role in regulating body processes at the right concentration. Though alcohol alone is cause for much of the symptoms of hangover, there is consensus that much of the hangover experience is due to wine and spirit congeners.

Finally, an answer.

Our research shows that Vinami is remarkably effective at helping you better tolerate chemicals/compounds that naturally occur in wine and spirits. Vinami was specifically designed to help you break down these compounds.