Can I be allergic to alcohol? Although a true alcohol allergy is rare, and the reaction can be severe, most allergic reactions to alcohol are due to an ingredient in alcohol. Every person’s body chemistry and make-up is different, so a person’s response to alcohol can vary greatly. A true alcohol allergy tends to be inherited.
Often, a true alcohol allergy is termed alcohol intolerance. Although research is limited, people with a true allergy to alcohol should avoid drinking. Research indicates that the enzyme, aldehyde dehydrongenase, metabolizes alcohol in the liver into acetic acid (vinegar). A person who has an allergy to vinegar can then have a severe reaction to the alcohol. Others can have a polymorphism in the ALDH gene, which renders aldehyde dehydrongenase inactive and makes it impossible to convert alcohol to acetic acid. The second type of intolerance or allergy is more common among the Asian population, and symptoms may include flushing, nausea, and rapid heartbeat.READ MORE