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Asian Flush in Caucasians: Can White People Get the Asian Glow?

By February 21, 2024March 8th, 2024No Comments

One of the most common questions I get on social media is whether or not Caucasian (white) people can get the asian flush/ glow. In order to understand the answer to this, we need to dive into what Asian Glow actually is: Alcohol Flush Reaction.

What is the alcohol flush reaction?

Alcohol flush reaction is a type of alcohol intolerance. It’s a condition caused by inherited variations in genes of certain enzymes, which causes people to metabolize alcohol less efficiently. In normal alcohol metabolization, the enzyme called “alcohol dehydrogenase” (ADH) converts alcohol to acetaldehyde. The toxic byproduct (acetaldehyde) is then metabolized to nontoxic molecules by another enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH).

People who have variations in the ALDH gene are not able to metabolize acetaldehyde efficiently. This causes the release of histamine and thereby triggers flushing and other unpleasant symptoms. The most common people who have this genetic mutation are of East Asian descent, which is why some refer to alcohol flush reaction as “asian glow” or “asian flush.” However, anyone of any ethnicity can have this mutation, so yes, the asian flush can happen to caucasian people, too. Can white people get the asian glow? #alcoholflush #lowhistamine #asianglow #histamine #lowhistaminediet ♬ original sound – Glowless

What are the symptoms of Asian Flush / Asian Glow?

The most common symptoms of alcohol flush reaction aka asian flush/glow are below. The symptoms of asian flush can happen to anyone, including caucasian people.

  • Racing heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pounding headache, fatigue and other hangover-like symptoms
  • Stuffy nose and itchy eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Worsening asthma
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hives

In some rare cases, a person may experience some symptoms above and be allergic to alcohol as opposed to having an intolerance. You can read more about the differences of symptoms here. It’s important to note that only a licensed physician can diagnose you properly, so please consult your doctor.

How to prevent the asian flush in Caucasian people

While there is no “cure” for the alcohol flush reaction, there are actual solutions to prevent the symptoms now. My best recommendation is to use Glowless alcohol flush patches and stick to low histamine drinks for maximum impact. To use Glowless patches, you apply one or two patches 30 minutes before you drink. They last for 12 hours and also help to prevent hangovers, since they work to detox your liver as you drink.