B1 Intermediate US 18309 Folder Collection
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For most people when they drink alcohol
it can make them feel more confident and comfortable
But for me, drinking makes me feel less confident and uncomfortable
That's because thanks to my DNA...
alcohol makes my skin turn red
It's called the Asian Flush
And it affects about 36% of North East Asians with higher rates among Asian Americans.
I guess we should probably show you what it looks like
"For Science!"
"If I know that I'm gonna need to take pictures that I'll drink less until these pictures are over
and then I'll go back to normal pace"
People tend to assume that a red face means that we're drunk
but that's a myth
These are completely separate processes
Facial flushing whether from embarrassment, or exercise, or alcohol...
It happens when the blood vessels under the surface of the skin dilate.
And in the case of Asian flush, this is part of an immune response
The body is detecting a threat
The threat isn't the alcohol itself
but a substance that our livers produce while breaking down alcohol
"For me at least, the warmth starts in my chest and then it moves its way up."
"My cheeks are warm, my ears are warm..."
"It's weird. It's like my eyes are almost puffy"
"Ahh I do feel like they got puffy..."
When people drink ethanol, that's the chemical name for booze.
The liver gets rid of it using two main enzymes.
The first reacts with the ethanol molecule to produce a substance called acetaldehyde.
And the second quickly turns acetaldehyde into acetate, which is similar to vinegar and easy for the body to eliminate.
It's that second enzyme that really screws things up for people with Asian flush.
If you look inside our DNA
you'll find that the gene providing the instructions for that enzyme
was tweaked at some point in our history
And that gene mutation produces an inactive enzyme
So when we drink our bodies accumulate acetaldehyde
at a level about 6 times higher than normal people
If acetaldehyde sounds familiar that maybe because it's similar to formaldehyde
It's toxic
That's why it triggers the immune responds
And the red face is really the least of it
After having that one beer
I didn't feel tipsy at all, but my heart rate doubled
My eyes were bloodshot, and within half hour I had a headache
Even worse, acetaldehyde can cause cancer
It's a problem because people can actually develop a tolerance to Asian flush
and that allows them to drink pretty heavily
Studies have shown that heavy drinking raises the risk of esophageal cancer for everyone
but especially for people with Asian flush
So it's potentially problematic that alcohol consumption in Asia has been increasing
especially in China
So if you have an Asian flush, be careful
Your body is freaking out for a reason
And if you don't flush...just don't expect us to keep up with you
And also...
"You don't have to bring it up every time...like, yes I know that you're red..."
"I know this, thanks, awesome..."
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Asian flush, explained

18309 Folder Collection
Sabrina Hsu published on December 6, 2016    Sabrina Hsu translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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