Alcohol is the sedative agent for most of the people.
Alcohol can cause immediate adverse effects on the body.
Depending on the person, these effects are of many types.
Many people have allergic reactions after consuming alcoholic beverages and these reactions are called as wine, beer, and alcohol allergy.
After the consumption of alcohol or ethanol, it is broken down by liver enzymes within minutes. These liver enzymes are Alcohol Dehydrogenase which converts alcohol into acetaldehyde.
Acetaldehyde is then transferred to vinegar by the enzyme Aldehyde Dehydrogenase. If a person can’t break down alcohol easily, problems may occur if alcohol is consumed and this reaction is called as alcohol allergy.
Cause of alcohol allergy:
- Due to the inactiveness of the enzyme Aldehyde Dehydrogenase, it makes it impossible to convert alcohol into vinegar. In this case if you consume the alcohol it causes severe reactions like alcohol allergy.
- Antibiotic and antifungal drugs can inhibit the effect of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase and can cause the oriental flush syndrome.
Symptoms of alcohol allergy:
There are various ingredients in wine and beer, which can cause allergic reactions. Particularly there are two elements a person can react to in wine and beer. These two are, the substances used to make the beverages and those substances used to preserve the alcohol.
Consumption of alcohol can leads to the release of histamines in your body. Histamine uses Aldehyde Dehydrogenase for its metabolism same as alcohol. After the ingestion of alcohol it leads to excess histamine in the system. This causes allergic reactions such as:
- Nasal congestion
- Mild flushing of the skin within minutes of ingesting alcohol
- Sensation of heat
- Severe headache
- Intense facial flushing
- Abdominal discomfort
- Drop in blood pressure
- Heart burn
- Itchy skin
Alcohol is a very common cause of vasomotor rhinitis.
What elements can cause alcohol allergy reactions?
Sulphur dioxide: It is the preservative element of the alcohol. It can be found in many normal growing plants. This chemical prevents the growth of organisms in the wine. It also restrains yeast growth, thus preventing the wine from turning into vinegar.
Asthma sufferers can have severe attacks due to this chemical. Some of the symptoms are headaches and hives.
Yeast: Yeast present in the wine and beer can also cause alcohol allergy reactions. Symptoms are hives and abdominal pain.
Histamine: This chemical is released by the body tissues when an allergic reaction occurs. It causes irritation. Histamine content is high in red wines than white wines.
Histamine is also known to worsen asthma and eczema and to cause headaches. Before drinking wine, it is better to take aspirin which can stop some reactions. Histamine can trigger sneezing, runny nose and sometimes wheeze and stomach upset.
Beer: Beer can contain a number of ingredients other than the basic malted grain, hops, water and yeast. It may also contain wheat, rye, corn or maize used in its production. These substances can cause severe alcohol allergy reactions.
Fining agents in wine: Fining process can remove any unwanted organisms, cloudiness or fermentation. Fining agents such as egg white and bentonite are used to encourage solids to fall out of suspension so that the remaining is clear wine.
Prevention of alcohol allergy:
- Alcohol allergy can be managed in the same way as with serious allergy reactions. Use epinephrine in severe conditions.
- The best way to prevent alcohol allergy is, avoid drinking alcohol.