Suffering from alcohol allergies is a pretty uncommon thing, alcohol into,lerance is not. The biggest issue is that no matter how many people suffer from allergies we are no closer to a solution, let alone a cure.
The things that trigger allergies are just as varied as the reactions we might have to those triggers. The biggest issue is that these triggers start up our immune system, and the reactions can sometimes prove to be severe or even fatal. Like for example, various nut allergies that cause our throats to swell and we suffocate because of that.
For some people, even alcohol creates a similar reaction. For example, someone might be enjoying a bottle of cold cider and then feel nauseous after a short period. The reaction is not severe, but it is there. The first signal is congestion. Then, after a while, their stomach starts churning painfully. And as everyone makes fun of that person for not being able to hold their liquor, it is a serious condition that not many people are aware of.
One neat trick that a person with these symptoms might want to do before an all-nighter is to take an antihistaminic. This is not a great idea, but it is something that helps in a bind.
Because of this scientists decided to take a more detailed look into why this happens. What they know is that true allergic reactions to alcohol are extremely rare. There is a bigger chance that you are allergic to one of the components of the beverage you are consuming. In wine, these are sulfites or tyramine. When it comes to beer, it is barley, hops or malt and not the beer itself.
So every “allergic” reaction to alcohol needs to be investigated starting from the components of the drink, Ethanol itself is very rarely the culprit here. Wheat, grapes, sulfites, gluten, and other ingredients are much more common as allergens. They might trick you to think that it is the alcohol when in fact it is one of the components mentioned above.
An allergy is similar to intolerance, but they are in no way the same thing. That is why it is easy to see why people get them confused. The big problem with allergies is that the reactions associated with them are much more severe. If you were allergic to alcohol you would not get congestion; you would get hives or even anaphylaxis.
The hives should not be confused with the redness that follows as a result of intolerance. This redness is caused by a faulty enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, and this enzyme breaks down the ethanol in our bodies. When the enzyme is not performing its function the ethanol reserves in our body build up, and we get red in the face as a result. Our noses might even become stuffy, and our blood pressure might take a nose dive. This reaction is commonly called the Asian flush, but it occurs in all races, it is just more common in Asian people due to their genetics.
A recent study has shown that even placebo drugs work well when treating allergic reactions. Also, giving a person the medication and informing them that it is a placebo still has a significant effect on the symptoms. But even if the placebo is working the allergy is still real and should be treated. Even some autoimmune diseases can mask themselves as allergies as they share similar pathways inside cells. There is still a lot that is not known about allergies and, for now, if that Claritine before drinking seems to help, go right ahead and take one. That might be the placebo effect, or it might not, but it is worth a shot.
There are very few people on this planet who enjoy their work more than Aner Banner. His friends often readily admit that Aner eats, sleeps, and breaths science 24 hours a day. He is always challenging old methods, proposing new ideas, and seeking to solve difficult problems. Aner spends most of the day imparting his wisdom to the young minds of a small elementary school. Thankfully he has also mastered the art of making science come alive for the future leaders of our nation. He is loved and well respected by students, parents, and faculty alike. His motto forever remains “never stop learning.