Any white people with alcohol flush reaction?


Well the Endocrinologist had no knowledge so there goes that lol and my cardiologist kinda wrote it off but i plan to show him the actual results when i go back. I guess maybe there’s a gene doctor who would know? But prob not covered by insurance?


Probably not but its probably more worth your time, the cardiologist will not know anymore than you do about it. Try to find a doctor in an asian community, Im guessing youre american or canadian, shouldnt be that hard if so


Hi there so happy to have found this forum and know I’m no the only one! I’m a 37 year old British Caucasian female (definitely no Asian ancestry) and I’ve always experienced facial flushing, along with a whole host of other undesirable symptoms but the worst being chronic vomiting and diarrhoea (sorry to be graphic). Literally within 5 minutes of having a tiny glass of any alcohol my face starts and then anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours the other symptoms. Living in the UK there’s not much sympathy for me and I’ve been quite ill over the years. I love the tipsy feeling but it’s just not worth it so I avoid alcohol like the plague. I’ve tried drinking different things as I read it could be the tannins and sulphites etc but it doesn’t make a difference. I do have a fast metabolism and can’t have coffee or Red Bull either as I get spaced out but unsure if that’s related.
I’ve considered the 23me test but wondered if anyone knew of a test just for alcohol intolerance ?
Thank you :slight_smile:


Hi Wikka12 I am Italian, 40 years old Caucasian and I also have this problem. When I was younger, about 25, I remember having had the first few episodes sporadically, 3-4 times a year. In the last 5 years more or less, the episodes have increased and are on average 1-2 times a month. I drink about as much as you, in some periods more and in others less, and I’m a bing drinker. What I can’t understand is that I only turn red sometimes and sometimes not. When I have the flush I stop drinking right away, even for the other bad reactions, but when I don’t turn red I can drink a lot without experiencing any symptoms. What I don’t understand is that if it were a genetic problem, I should always have the flush. My father once told me that he had had symptoms similar to mine when he was young, so it’s possible that it’s inherited.


Hello I wanted to respond to polka dot vintage. If you Google aldh2 intolerance test there’s a company that I use that does just the one single test. Mine came up as AG as I noted above which is having an intolerance for alcohol and processing it but it didn’t come up as the worst available as totally not processing it. I’m currently trying to figure out if there’s a doctor where I can go and get some sort of DNA test done to see if your results are actually true anyway we’re all in the same boat being white and around 40 LOL I just had to Crown Royal and ginger ales yesterday and about 40 minutes into drinking them started to get very flushed but didn’t get the hot feeling. Then all the way on the drive home I was flush until about an hour after. Very puzzling. I just want to make sure I’m not doing myself any damage by drinking like if you Google the symptoms for the Asian flush it says if you drink that you’re more prone to esophageal cancer because you can’t process the alcohol. That’s what I’m trying to figure out if I actually have it or if mine is related to something else


Thanks for the response Zap, will investigate this evening. At a wedding tomorrow and dreading the whole “ why aren’t you drinking?” “what’s wrong with you?” questions. Will report back when I’ve had a test but the DNA one would be the gold standard if it exists


Hi everyone,
I’m very happy that I’ve found this forum. I’m also white, east European, light hair, greenish eyes, so probably no Asian ancestry. And have the same problem.
When I drink I get red face, not pink or light red, but really dark red, almost violet. Acompanied with high pulse rate, feeling heat and rash on the neck end shoulders, but not itchy. And red face is not homogenous but only some spots mostly cheeks and forehead, so my friends call me Spotty when I drink :-). I am the only one that I know who has this (not many east Asians where I live) and I have it since I started drinking when I was approx. 16. Now I’m 43., no cancer for now :wink:.
I’m not sure if it happens always, but it happens most of the time.
Until few weeks ago, I didn’t do anything about it, just learned to live with it. I don’t do social drinking (like one beer after work or after lunch or similar). When I drink, it is when I go out to club or bar or something and then I do binge drinking. These places are anyway mostly darker and almost everybody is drunk there (incl. me) so nobody pays attention, or at least I don’t care about it. And I don’t do it so often anymore, like in student days, maybe once a month only.
It goes away after 1-2h, and then I don’t get red anymore even if I continue to drink.

But few weeks ago, one Sunday while recovering from night before, I got curious and started to read about it and was surprised that it has a name and that other people are suffering from it too. Since then I have read a lot but still don’t know what exactly is happening and if I can prevent it (no alcohol is not an option for now). It would be very interesting to see if the cause is the same as with Asian population or somethig different.
Therefore I’m doing some experiments, like trying with differrent types of alcohol at home and different foods prior to that to see what is happening.
And genetic test is a good idea, will try that also.


Hello! I just found this forum. I am a 39 yo Caucasian female of English and Scottish decent. About 5 years ago I began to flush and feel hot from beer which I drank only occasionally. Then wine, which I drank more often, began to do the same thing. After a couple years I begin to notice that wine would make me noticeably ill. I would feel sick to my stomach, generally uncomfortable, and some wines would make me feel instantly drunk off one sip. About 2 years ago I was diagnosed with rosacea which explains the flushing but not the illness. I don’t remember if my heart rate is ever accelerated. My rosacea diagnosis doesn’t explain the other other alcohol reactions, but when I raise the question with my doc, she just says “stop drinking it!” I want to understand what’s happening. I also have chronic intestinal issues (basically IBS) which I’ve had since college. Throughout all this, I’ve continued to drink Bourbon, which is my drink of choice. I’ve recently noticed that I am a little flushed with bourbon as well but I don’t feel bad. Some of the new “natural wines” that I can get in NYC don’t make me feel so bad. Before age 34 I was never flushed or had issues with alcohol. I will be curious to do the 23andme test too.
Reading every one else’s experience is very interesting, I just wanted to contribute my facts! Also this article, what I can understand of it, seems interesting.

I should add that I also flush in heat/steam as well as with spicy foods.


Interesting article, so people with rosacea who drink are also at higher cancer risk also?


This is all very interesting. I still haven’t gone to any particular doctor to ask if they know anything further about it. I’m curious if when you got diagnosed with rosacea were you just getting red blotchy skin for no reason like people who have that tend to do? My roommate in college had it and she would get the blotchiness just out of nowhere it seems like nothing would induce it. I thought about that but figured I didn’t have it since mine only comes with alcohol. I guess I could get tested and if you don’t mind me asking what test did they do to diagnose it? The fact that I can’t just drink freely without having to take the sunset pills or something beforehand to help with the reaction is completely aggravating!


Also I’m not even sure that the sunset pills or the Delta pills are safe LOL I’m just doing it because I feel like if I do have the aldh2 deficiency that it’s better than doing nothing when I drink. So confusing and irritating


Thing on the report are fairly accurate, its the raw data that gets messy.


I’m female eastern european decent (98% according to ancestry DNA!) and have flushed on and off since I started drinking some 30 years ago now. (i’m in my 50’s now). I always thought it was due to sulphites or other things, but now I don’t think so. My reactions have been really bad sometimes whilst drinking vodka, including the flush on my chest and back, including headaches. I haven’t really been able to pinpoint it. So this will probably be depressing for you all, but I have had cancer now twice in parts of the lining of my stomach. (non hodgkins lymphoma - and it’s called MALT) MALT is normally caused by the heliobactor bacteria - which I’ve always been negative for…which has led me to try and research what else has been causing chronic inflammation to lead to the MALT. My first diagnosis was 13 years ago and I had chemo. I’ve been Dx again recently - Drs think it’s new and not relapsed and they are quite perplexed. It’s localised this time and therefore I’m doing radiation treatment this time…MALT responds very well to radiation and Drs are expecting a cure again. (I won’t bore you with all the details!!) So again, I’m trying to work out why… I do drink a fair bit I guess - few glasses of red wine most nights and has been going on for years. (except when I was pregnant with my 2 kids!) So now this has all led me to my research and finding this forum. I’ve drawn the conclusion that I definitely have an issue processing the alcohol and it’s looking like genetic (my Mom and Sister both flush as well, but don’t drink as much as I do) I would like to get the DNA test, but the single one doesn’t ship to Australia (I’m originally from Canada though). I’m going to ask my GP if I can get the DNA test, I would like to ask my haematologist (who looks after me for the lymphoma as it’s a cancer of the blood - immune system - white blood cells) but I’m scared he’s going to balk at the idea of it all. He did do the DNA test for celiac which I was negative…At any rate, I’m now going to just stop drinking full stop. (also stop all fermented products - kombucha, kimchi, saurcroat, etc) (haven’t had any wine for 2 weeks now) If you’re still reading this, sorry to depress you!! But I’m glad to be reading all the research on the topic here and I think really it’s great that more research is being done on the condition.


and I keep thinking that my wine consumption is quite normal sadly at least amongst my friends… So why then am I having ‘issues’…I’m just wondering if it’s due to my inability to process the alcohol/ethanol and it causing havoc in my stomach because my friends who drink as much don’t have any apparent issues (nor do any of them have ‘the flush’) interesting, and I’m going to bring up with my doctor as she’s usually quite open to discussion. Hopefully also the DNA test…


Hmm, Kaz a few glasses of wine most nights is actually quite a lot to drink though, at least going by medical professionals generally advise…probably that amount would increase your associated cancer risk a bit regardless of your ability to process it! Not trying to shame you or anything , I know what its like. I live in ireland and getting hammered once a week or more is completely normal here in our culture, but it shouldnt be normal! You should look out for your own healthy irregardless of what is normalised within your community/social circle!

Anyway that is still depressing and scary to read. I am really just too scared to get the test, I really dont want to know if its true :frowning: I was just reading online and oesapahgeal cancer is roughly 5x times more common in men than women, even when adjusted for rates of alcohol consumptions


Yes, I know it’s not good, and I’m now not proud to admit it… But you have a glass while cooking dinner, then another during dinner and well that’s more than the recommended, but very common my age group and friends. It gets to be a habit. My health issues are quite rare (MALT), and I suppose with the amount of drinking that goes on here in Australia you’d think you’d see it much more, but you don’t. I think it’s interesting how Koreans and Japanese have the highest incidence of gastric cancer in the world. Is it the genetic mutation, alcohol consumption, fermented foods that are eaten (kimchi, plums, etc?). It seems to me to be likely the combination of all of them which is lacking in other parts of the world. However, they have low rates of breast cancers than North America, Australia, Europe which again points to perhaps our lifestyles minus some primary genetic factor…


yes I’ve had a few drinks with some Irish friends (and in Ireland as well, great times!) I think in moderation occasionally It’s really not something to worry about too much. Live your life to the fullest. I know my problems stem from just chronically irritating the lining in hindsight, I’m very fortunate though that malt is very treatable. There are others that aren’t so. So I’m hoping at least stopping now will avoid any further damage. Which of course it will, but there’s no crystal ball to look into to know what’s to come. again, you need to live your life to the fullest. Even if you get the DNA test and result isn’t what you hoped for, it’s not the end of the world, but I know it’s hard socially especially when you’re young not to drink.


24-year old Female w/ Irish, Luxemburg, Germany, and Spanish (Spain) Heritage. I researched my entire heritage to find some Asian anything and didn’t find any. There is a possibility of some Native American, but it is unsupported, only suspicion of an illegitimate child. I have had flush since I started drinking at 16. I now drink maybe one drink a year because I get very sick when I do drink and trying to not get cancer. I’ve been following this forum for a while and thought I would share so we can add another one to the list of people who have this.


Hey all,

White guy here. I’ve been dealing with alcohol flush for about 6 years now. I was enjoying a clear unflushed face the first few years I started drinking. It started midway through college.

Weirdly, I’ve noticed it almost always happens on day #2 of consecutive drinking. It rarely happens if I’ve been sober all week, then go out on Friday. I find this odd. It makes me think that my ALDH2 enzymes are active, but possibly inefficient and cannot take two days in a row. HOWEVER, sometimes if I drink a ridiculous amount of water on the second day in a row of drinking, I do not get flushed. Perhaps this is a coincidence, or, there is some sort of link between hydration and flush. I believe the latter to be true.

Anyway, I’m glad I found this forum. I’ve been trying to learn more about this annoying reaction we all have to deal with.


Something else I notice is that no matter how much I drink I can’t seem to get buzzed or even close to drunk? Not that that’s always the goal, but it would be nice once in awhile. Very odd how this came about all of a sudden with the Flushing an inability to get buzzed. Very perplexing. Wondering if anyone else has trouble getting buzzed or drunk with this?