Alcohol affects us all differently: while some are able to carry on a witty conversation after having a bottle of wine, others get drunk with a couple of drinks. An expert explained why this phenomenon is due.
Dr Rubaiyat Haque, from the London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital clinic, stated in a comment to the Daily Mail that “alcohol allergy does not exist”, and that alcohol molecules are too small for our immune system to recognize and create an allergic response.
At the same time, it can be a so-called alcohol intolerance, which has to do with problems with the digestive system or liver. Some people lack an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase, which is involved in the metabolism of alcohol. However, in the event that the liver does not produce it, ethanol is converted to the toxic acetaldehyde, which in turn results in symptoms such as skin redness, nausea or headache.
Another reason is the preservatives normally present in wines and called sulphites. This substance is also used to increase the shelf life of processed meat, ready meals and nuts.
“The key here is quantity. Sulphites levels are typically very high in wines,” Haque explained.
The expert added that white wines contain twice as many sulphites – about 100 milligrams per liter – than reds. As for dessert wines, they tend to contain even more sulfates.
Among the reasons for too fast intoxication are also the so-called tannins. These enzymes are present in grapes and the skin of plants. Some people also have an intolerance to substances that are used to increase the rate of fermentation, such as yeast.
If you want to find out if you have an intolerance to alcohol without drinking it, you only need to place a drop of the drink on your forearm and wait about 15 minutes. If there is a reaction like a rash, you should give up these types of drinks.
And if you suspect it might be a sulphite allergy, try “drinking organic wine or wine with very little amounts of sulphite to see what happens.”
The expert also said that the liver of a person who usually drinks a lot of alcohol begins to produce more enzymes capable of inhibiting the negative effects of ethanol, such as the FGF21 protein. However, we do not recommend using this method if you lead a healthy lifestyle.