Aldh2 deficiency is an inherited genetic metabolic enzyme deficiency disorder. Aldh2 is a short term for aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, a gene found on human chromosome 12. It is an enzyme of aldehyde dehydrogenase family, whose main function is to convert the acetaldehyde (a toxic product), formed in our body into acetic acid, a relatively non toxic product. Acetaldehyde is a toxic product formed when alcohol gets metabolized in the liver. But with the help of Aldh2 enzyme, acetaldehyde is quickly converted to acetic acid.
Acetic acid is the acid found in vinegar.In most people acetaldehyde formed after consuming alcohol gets converted into acetic acid with the help of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase a type of Aldh2. However there are certain groups of individuals, especially the people of East Asian ancestry such as Japanese, Chinese and Koreans who are deficient in Aldh2. It has been seen that 30 to 40 percent of East Asian people have Aldh2 deficiency.
Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 2 Deficiency Symptoms
If the conversion of acetaldehyde takes place slowly as a result of Aldh2 deficiency, then the toxic product hangs around in the blood and tissue, giving rise to problems.Acetaldehyde when gets accumulated and does not metabolize fast, increases the risk of cancer. Those people who drink alcohol recurrently and have Aldh2 deficiency are at a greater risk of esophageal and other digestive tract cancers.
In addition to the risk of cancer in the long term, increased level of acetaldehyde after consuming alcohol in Aldh2 deficient person causes symptoms such as flushing of face, rapid heart rate which in medical term is called tachycardia, nausea, vomiting and headache (that typical hangover headache). Many people feel dizzy, together with all other symptoms even after drinking half bottle of beer when they have Aldh2 deficiency.
For this reason post drinking flush is also called Asian flush, Asian glow or Asian red. Many people find their face, neck and shoulder turning red and hot after drinking due to dilatation of the arteries. This is due to accumulation of acetaldehyde. Some time the entire body gets flushed if the deficiency of Aldh2 is pronounced.
ALDH2 Deficiency Cure And Treatment
From the above facts people with Aldh2 deficiency should avoid alcohol in any form. This will reduce the risk of getting digestive tract cancer in the long run, besides symptoms such as flushing of face and rapid heart rate. Some people are of the opinion that avoiding caffeine and spicy food before drinking reduces flushing of face.
Eating food rich in protein or complex carbohydrates before drinking reduces the intensity of flushing. This is due to slowing down of speed of alcohol getting metabolized and thus delaying acetaldehyde formation in the blood.
According to some medical experts, taking low dose of H2 receptor antagonist, before an hour of drinking alcohol controls flushing, however, a person should not try this unless he discusses it with his doctor and gets approval from his doctor.
As you know Aldh2 deficiency, is a genetic inherited disease, there is no cure for the symptoms resulting after drinking alcohol; the only best way to prevent the frightening and uncomfortable symptoms is to avoid consuming alcohol.
Due to Aldh2 deficiency, such people do not fall victim of alcoholism and other drinking related problems. They limit their alcohol consumption in fear of facing the irritable physical ordeal such as flushing and rapid palpitation.