Asian remedies that will cure your hangover

 

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

Audrey Magazine (by Jianne Lasaten):

Sure, Asian glow is one thing to worry about, but what about those nights when things go a bit too far and you end up taking one (or five) more shots than intended? Hopefully you got home safe and sound (that’s what’s most important, after all).

But when you wake up the next day, you have to face an immediate problem. When the world is still spinning and you feel too nauseous to move, you know you’ve been hit with the dreaded hangover. For my friends and I, a comforting bowl of pho usually does the trick. But what helps everyone else?

Buzzfeed shared their list of interesting traditional hangover remedies from around the world. Below, we bring you the hangover cures, Asian style! We have to warn you though, you may have to be a brave one to try a few of these…

Philippines: Balut and Rice

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Ah, yes. The signature “weird” delicacy of the Philippines is also a well-known hangover cure. According to the Travel Channel, balut, which is a developing duck embryo, contains cysteine– a substance that breaks down alcoholic toxins in the liver.

 

China: Congee

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This rice porridge contains ginger, garlic and scallions. All three ingredients combined should help ease those headaches.

 

Japan: Umeboshi

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Umeboshi is a pickled sour plum that is well-known for its health benefits. It contains natural bacteria, enzymes, organic acids and alkaline. These help eliminate excessive acidity in the body.

 

Mongolia: Picked Sheep Eye in Tomato Juice

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Commonly known as the “Mongolian Mary,” this beverage is not for the faint of heart. Tomato juice contains simple sugars to boost your glucose levels back up as well as re-hydrate you after a night of drinking. The significance of the sheep eye? Well, that’s still a mystery.

 

South Korea: Haejangguk

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South Korea definitely came prepared because Haejangguk literally translates into “soup to cure a hangover.” Although the recipe differs in every region, this spicy beef broth usually contains pork, spinach, cabbage, onions and congealed ox blood.

 

Indonesia: Kaya Toast

Courtesy of latimes.com

This traditional Indonesian breakfast will satisfy all of your sweet and salty hangover cravings (ladies, this would probably be just as helpful for that time of month). Warm toasted bread slices are served with salted butter and Kaya Jam, a sweet mixture of coconut milk, sugar, eggs, and pandan.

 

Bangladesh: Coconut Water

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We can’t argue with this one. Coconut water is known to have a significant amount of potassium and will keep you hydrated.

 

Thailand: Pad Kee Mao

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Nicknamed “drunken noodles,” this spicy dish is said to be a favorite among Thai men after a night of drinking. It usually consists of wide rice noodles, ground beef (or other meat), basil and other spices, onions and bell peppers.

New antioxidant drink supposedly cures ‘Asian Glow’

Before-Elixir

FoodBeast:

It doesn’t take much for Alcohol Flush Reaction, better known as the infamous “Asian Glow,” to kick in. Usually, one or two drinks is all that’s necessary for one to become bright red and heated. Sure, popping a Pepcid might make things easier, but the risks are kind of unavoidable.

Apparently, there’s an elixir going around that can solve this. They’re calling it Before Elixir.

Asian Glow is said to affect 15 percent of all drinkers and about 70 percent of Asian drinkers. These folks have a variant of the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol, causing them to process it up to 100 times faster than the average drinker. Because of this, a buildup of toxins is created leading to flushing, increased heart rate, headaches and other discomfort.

Asian-Elixer

Before Elixir claims to slow down the metabolism of alcohol and toxin production in the liver that causes the flush reaction. The elixir is made with ingredients like mangosteen, raspberries, pomegranate, milk thistle and B vitamins.

Antacids, such as Pepcid AC, are commonly used to help reduce these symptoms. However, they can cause blood alcohol levels to quickly rise and increase the chance of alcohol poisoning.

While the beverage is currently looking for funding, a few pre-produced bottles can be purchased at the official site.

 

The truth about alcohol flushing, or the “Asian Glow”

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Tea With MD:

Like many an Asian out there, I turn pretty darn red when I drink. Not just a cute “oh she has a lot of blush on” kind of way. I mean, I sometimes get red and splotchy all over my entire body. It always starts in the face and then slowly spreads down, and before I know it, I’m as red as the nose on Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. Everyone around me tries to take my drinks away, thinking I’m far drunker than I really am, and I end up having to use the black and white filter on all my pics. Bummer. 

Seeing as many booze-filled parties are coming up in the next week, I think this is a perfect time to discuss “Asian glow” and how to slow the glow.

 

Facial Flushing

So why do some people (mostly Asians) get alcohol induced flushing? The answer lies in biochemistry.The breakdown of alcohol is shown below. Simply put, some people don’t have the second enzyme to properly break down alcohol, so we get an accumulation of a bad intermediate product, acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde causes facial flushing through histamine release, nausea, headache, increased heart rate. In fact, there is a drug we prescribe to alcoholics called disulfiram that does the exact same thing – it inhibits the second enzyme below, causing a horrible feeling whenever patients drink, making them want to quit.

Alcohol metabolism

Have you ever taken Pepsid AC to combat the redness? Ever wondered why that works? Pepsid AC is an antihistamine, an H2-blocker, that blocks the dilation of blood vessels near the skin that causes flushing. Studies show that antihistamines like Pepsid or Zantac do effectively block the effect of alcohol-induced flushing, but the true interactions between these drugs and alcohol are not fully known.

In the medical literature (feel free to Pubmed it too, medical folk!) there is a lot of controversy over whether or not it’s dangerous to take antihistamines with alcohol. First generation antihistamines (Benadryl, Vicks, Dimetapp) should definitely not be taken with alcohol because it can cause excessive sleepiness from both. Second generation antihistamines such as Pepsid or Zyrtec do not cause drowsiness, but there are mixed reports in the literature about whether or not they actually raise the blood alcohol level. If you love taking pepsid AC to hide your glow, I urge you to space out your drinks so you can pace yourself appropriately in the absence of your usual flushing as a clue.

That being said, recent research published in PLoS found that Asians who flush with alcohol yet drink heavily anyways are at higher risk (up to ten-fold!) of developing esophageal cancer, especially squamous cell carcinoma. The thought is that without the proper enzyme to break down alcohol, Asians are more susceptible to DNA damage and therefore cancer from toxic by-products. It is thought that the flushing is meant to be a protective mechanism to prevent susceptible people from drinking too much, and therefore developing cancer.

What do I, an Asian who flushes with even a drop of alcohol, make of all of this? My advice is to listen to your body: if you start feeling sick with high heartrate, dizziness, nausea, total body itching and flushing, you need to stop ingesting more alcohol at that point. Also, if you glow with liquor, be safe and drink in moderation. Glowing is your body’s way of telling you that you’re not built to handle large quantities of alcohol and that you are at risk of developing cancer with excessive alcohol use. So even if Pepsid helps control your flushing, it will not prevent you from experiencing the cumulative carcinogenic effects of alcohol. I will say it again: drink in moderation.

The safest ways to combat alcohol induced flushing include not drinking completely or limiting yourself to a few drinks occasionally. If you are female, you can use green-tinted primer under a slightly lighter toned foundation or BB cream to hide the glow. Of course, there are also those handy Instagram filters you can use to edit the photos to your advantage.

What experience do you have with alcohol-induced flushing? Any tips you have found to combat the glow?

PS- In doing research for this article I found a product called “NoGlo” that claims to stop Asian glow through vitamins and nutritional supplements. I’m definitely skeptical.

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Link

Lies you’ve heard about ‘Asian Glow’

 

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Audrey/Story by Teena Apeles:

 

All Asians turn red when they drink.
False. It’s estimated that 36 percent of East Asians have the genetic variance that causes facial flushing, according to Dr. Philip Brooks and his colleagues. Other studies suggest this genetic variant in Southeast Asians as well, such as Vietnamese and Indonesians, and there is a considerably low occurrence of the ALDH2 deficiency in the Filipino population compared to Japanese, Chinese and Koreans.

 

Only Asians have the ALDH2 deficiency.
False. It is estimated that 8 percent of the general population has this genetic condition. It has also been observed in South American, North American and Mexican Indian populations, but the deficiency, according to many published works, occurs “rarely” or is “virtually never seen” in Caucasians or Africans. “For the most part, we don’t think that the flushing you see in Caucasian people is the same ALDH2 deficiency that you see in the East Asian population,” says Brooks.


If you are Asian and get flushed after drinking alcohol, you definitely have the deficiency.
False. While it’s a pretty solid biomarker for the genetic condition among East Asians, Brooks says the only way to know for certain that you have the deficiency is to have genotyping done. In the Japanese study by Dr. Yokoyama, participants were given a questionnaire that was designed to be almost 99 percent accurate in identifying people with the ALDH2 deficiency, and an ethanol patch test was also suggested as fairly accurate.

There are certain types of alcohol that don’t cause facial flushing.
False. Some Asians have speculated that rice-based liquor does not cause flushing. “I found I don’t get red if I drink sake or Korean drinks like soju or makgeolli,” says Jeannie. “Engineered for Asian people!” And Faith believes that a little lemon or lime with liquor goes a long way for her: “Tequila is my drink of choice because it always settles best with my body. I think part of the reason tequila settles better with me is because I usually chase shots with a slice of lime or lemon, and something about the acidity in them helps the al- cohol digest better or something.” She adds, “I know for a fact that when lemons or limes are involved, I have way less of a chance of getting the Asian glow or any of the side symptoms.” But Brooks says there is no basis — and he’s not aware of any data — for ALDH2-deficient people to assume that different kinds of alcohol won’t cause facial flushing, and if it does, on occasion, that that in any way decreases one’s risk for esophageal cancer.

 

Check out this link:

Lies you’ve heard about ‘Asian Glow’

Link

Understanding Asian Glow: FRIEND OR FOE?

 

pouring red wine

Audrey/Story by Teena Apeles:

 

Seeing red every happy hour? Or should we say, does everybody else see that unseemly crimson creep up on your face with that first sip? It’s not just you. About a third of East Asians, and even some Southeast Asians, suffer from the uncomfortable flushing that accompanies drinking. But beyond aesthetics, the Asian glow, which is caused by a genetic condition, comes with some serious consequences. Contributing writer Teena Apeles parses out fact from fiction.

 

When you hear the phrase “Asian glow,” what comes to mind? The word “glow” to me mostly has positive connotations, like “pregnancy glow,” referring to an expectant mother’s complexion and overall appearance as being radiant. Or there’s “glow” as in bright, shining.

While I’d like to think of the Asian glow, also called the “Asian flush,” as something complimentary or something one would like to achieve, for anyone who experiences this flushing of the face after drinking alcohol — or knows someone who does — it’s anything but. Me with a bright red face … not something cute nor radiant and, depending on how much alcohol I consume, neither is the feeling when I’m experiencing it: I turn dark red, I feel feverish and dizzy, my whole body throbs and I get incredibly self-conscious of my appearance because it can look alarming. If you’re in the same alcohol-induced, red-face drinker camp as I am, you know this all too well and probably just brush it off as an annoyance — or find ways to prevent it, but more on that later.

Twenty-three-year-old Faith, who works as a beauty writer, recalls the first time she got the Asian glow during college, “when I had a shot of vodka at a fraternity house,” though it didn’t seem to alarm anyone, including herself. “No one really said anything, because it seemed like common knowledge that Asians got red when they had alcohol,” says the Chinese American. “I remember seeing my dad get red when he drank beer, so I guess I wasn’t too surprised. I was more annoyed about the side effects: My heart was pounding, and I got a huge headache.”

Jeannie, a Korean American in her early 30s, remembers experiencing the Asian glow when she first drank. “Actually, I maybe suspected it even before, because my dad had it, and I’d seen other older Korean people have it,” she says. “I’m not sure if I know the science — I heard that it’s because we miss an enzyme to process alcohol, but other people describe it more simplistically as an allergy.”

Jeannie goes on to echo Faith’s and my complaints about the physical effects that follow: “You don’t really enjoy drinking once it starts giving you a pounding headache.

At last year’s Audrey anniversary gala, where cocktails and high-end whiskey abounded, Chinese American TV personality and journalist Lisa Ling opened the event by joking that she liked attending events like this — with a predominantly Asian audience — because she knew she wouldn’t be the only who would be red by the end of the night. And, yes, while that line was met with a lot of laughter, studies suggest this condition should not be taken lightly by any means, especially if you drink often. But first, let’s get down to what causes it.

 

 

 

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THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE FLUSH:

The symptoms that accompany the facial flushing, which Jeannie and Faith described, are what a significant percentage of East Asians (Chinese, Japanese or Korean) experience, due to a genetic condition that prevents their bodies from breaking down the alcohol. And Jeannie is correct that a particular enzyme is the culprit.

Between 30 to 40 percent of East Asians have a genetic variation in an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2),” explains Dr. Jessica Wu, a Los Angeles dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine. “This enzyme converts alcohol to another compound called acetaldehyde.” People who have a fully active ALDH2 enzyme can break down the acetaldehyde, but in ALDH2-deficient individuals, “this compound accumulates in the body and releases histamine. The combination of acetaldehyde and histamine produces the characteristic symptoms of alcohol intolerance: redness, flushing, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea and heart palpitations.”

The alcohol-induced symptoms in individuals can vary from mild to extreme, depending on whether a person inherited one or two of these variant genes. In the latter case, facial flushing can be quite severe, resulting in an almost purple flush and other symptoms. That sure takes the fun out of drinking, right? But people with this genetic variant condition still drink despite these symptoms. “My patients who are young women are especially embarrassed by this because drinking is often a part of socializing, dating and business entertaining,” says Wu.

About 92 percent of the world’s population can enjoy drinking just fine without turning red. Lucky them. But for ALDH2-deficient individuals, heavy drinking can have harsher consequences beyond facial flushing over time.

 


THE LINK BETWEEN THE ASIAN GLOW AND CANCER:

Dr. Philip J. Brooks of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism was doing research on the general topic of alcohol and cancer when, in 2007, he became acquainted with Dr. Akira Yokoyama and his “tremendous work” on the relationship between ALDH2-deficiency and esophageal cancer in the Japanese population. The two met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer. “I was struck by how strong the data was and how relatively too few people were aware of it, compared to some of the other effects of alcohol,” says Brooks.

Brooks and Yokoyama went on to write the article “The Alcohol Flushing Response: An Unrecognized Risk Factor for Esophageal Cancer from Alcohol Consumption,” published in PLOS Medicine on March 29, 2009, with colleagues Mary-Anne Enoch, David Goldman and Ting-Kai Li. If you missed out on this research hitting the news, despite it being featured in every major news outlet during that time, so did I, which is why it’s so important that you share it. Here’s your chance to separate the fact from fiction and, perhaps, spare loved ones in your life who drink a lot of headaches … or much worse.

Brooks and Yokoyama’s article states, “ALDH2-deficient individuals are at much higher risk of esophageal cancer (specifically squamous cell car- cinoma) from alcohol consumption than individuals with fully active ALDH2.” And this particular alcohol-related esophageal cancer is quite deadly: The five-year survival rate in the United States is only 15.6 percent and 31.6 percent in Japan. But what you should take from this, Brooks emphasizes, “is this cancer is preventable.”

And while it would seem that if you just have one copy of this variant gene your risk of developing esophageal cancer would be lower than if you have two copies, that’s not the case. “People who have two copies get so sick when they drink that they basically don’t drink,” he says. “Ironically, they are protected from being alcoholics, and they are actually at a lower risk of getting esophageal cancer because they just don’t drink. So it’s kind of a complicated genotype.”

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THE CURE FOR THE ASIAN GLOW:

Let’s get one thing straight: There is no cure per se for alcohol-induced flushing if you are ALDH2 deficient, despite articles you see online. Sure, people have posted that there are ways to mask or minimize the onset of the flushing — a cursory search will even bring up some herbal remedy to take 21 days before having a drink to remove all symptoms. And some people say they have developed a higher tolerance to alcohol and experience less flushing over time, but these things are not in themselves a cure for the root of what causes it: your genetic condition.

For instance, in a 1988 article titled “Antihistamine Blockade of Alcohol-induced Flushing in Orientals” — yes, it used that term — published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the authors shared results of an alcohol study conducted on Asians. Half of the subjects received 50 milligrams of diphenhydramine and 300 milligrams of cimetidine before receiving low doses of alcohol; the other half, placebo tablets. The abstract states: “The antihistamine group showed a significant reduction in the skin flush. The antihistamine also neutralized the systolic hypotension induced by the administration of alcohol.”

Now does this mean you should start popping antihistamines before you drink so you don’t turn red? Most definitely not. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, you should not drink alcohol when you are taking antihistamines, period.

Other remedies for the Asian glow you’ll see online or learn from Asian friends — as I have — are antacids, which contain histamine blockers that people have reported minimize flushing. “I actually can’t remember how I first heard about how to avoid it. I think it must have been from a friend or classmate, who recommended Pepcid AC,” says Faith. “I did some Googling and decided to try it out for myself and found that it worked, but that Zantac (which does the same thing but has a different active ingredient) worked better for me.” She takes one Zantac 45 minutes before she takes her first sip of alcohol to avoid the Asian flush and other symptoms.

While I haven’t tried antacids or antihistamines before drinking (the latter makes me feel a little loopy as it is), I must admit I’m curious to see what would happen. For once, can I not be the one bright red, unhealthy-looking face in group pictures?

Even if they do work, this is not a cure for my condition. Using anything to mask the facial flushing and continue drinking, Brooks feels, is particularly dangerous because it isn’t reducing the risk of esophageal cancer. “And to the extent it makes you think you can keep drinking more,” he adds, “it’s actually worse.”

The takeaway? If you’re an ALDH2-deficient individual, it is in your genetic makeup and can’t be changed. Therefore, there is only one sure way to avoid alcohol-induced flushing (and you know the answer): Don’t drink.

 

THE RED FLAG THAT SAVES LIVES:

If something doesn’t make you feel good, consider it your body’s way of protecting you. It’s saying whatever you’re doing is simply not good for you. So here’s the silver lining on that Asian glow and its unpleasant related symptoms: These adverse reactions you experience when drinking alcohol make you less likely to abuse alcohol (this has been shown in research with groups of East Asians who have the condition) and, in turn, suffer from alcoholism and all the health risks associated with it, including esophageal cancer.

Of course, it’s difficult in social situations not to drink while the rest of the world seems to be partaking in what most consider a pleasurable pastime. But university students with this ALDH2 deficiency especially (yes, we’re talking to you, young women) should take note of the alcohol-related risks that come with heavy drinking over time.

Heavy drinking is simply bad for your health as it is. “Readers should be aware that the American Heart Association warns that drinking more than a glass of wine a day (for women) is associated with a higher risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” says Wu. And if you do have alcohol intolerance, she suggests that you “drink sparingly and choose your drinking occasions wisely.”

And if you care about your skin, here’s another reason to take her advice: “Repeated episodes of flushing can enlarge the facial veins, leading to permanent redness and/or ‘spider’ veins on the face.”

I’m well beyond university age, but the Asian glow still bothers me. I do wish I could happily enjoy a cocktail or beer with my friends or even my husband without consequence. But I’ll admit the condition does save me money most of the time — drinks are expensive in Los Angeles! (Except, of course, when I go out with friends and we split the bill evenly and I’m the one person who gets stuck paying extra money for their expensive glasses of wine. Goodness, if I can have that extra cash back from all those nights. …)

So what’s your verdict now that you know what causes your uncomfortable alcohol-induced flushing? Are you going to treat the Asian glow as a friend or a foe? I vote friend, because a good friend is someone who looks out for you. And to that I will toast — and wear my facial flush that follows proudly.

This story was originally published in Audrey Magazine’s Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

 

Check out this link:

Understanding Asian Glow: FRIEND OR FOE?