Alcohol intolerance



Alcohol intolerance is due to a genetic deficiency of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme that metabolises ingested alcohol. It can also be an effect or side effect associated with certain drugs such as disulfiram, metronidazole, or nilutamide. It is characterized as intolerance of and unpleasant symptoms upon the ingestion of drinking alcohol, causing Hangover symptoms similar the “disulfiram-like reaction” by aldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency or the Chronic fatigue syndrome.


If people are intolerant, some nearly Non-alcoholic beverages maybe a problem, similar to alcohol containing medicaments, Vinegar, inhalation of alcohol or the vapour of alcohol containing Cleaning agents.

Drinking alcohol first or afterwards together with Calcium cyanamide, an inorganic compound used as a fertilizer, can cause permanent or long lasting intolerance (nitrolime disease), contributing together with other substances the accumulation of the harmful Acetaldehyde by inhibiting the enzyme Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase.


Alcohol intolerance occurs when your body doesn’t have the proper enzymes to break down (metabolize) the toxins in alcohol. This is caused by inherited (genetic) traits usually found in Asians.

Other ingredients commonly found in alcoholic beverages, especially in beer or wine, can cause intolerance reactions. These include:

  • Sulfites or other preservatives
  • Chemicals, grains or other ingredients
  • Histamine, a byproduct of fermentation or brewing

In some cases, reactions can be triggered by an allergy to a grain such as corn, wheat or rye or to another substance contained in alcoholic beverages.

Rarely, severe pain after drinking alcohol is a sign of a more serious disorder, such as Hodgkin lymphoma.

Risk factors

Risk factors for alcohol intolerance or other reactions to alcoholic beverages include:

  • Being of Asian descent
  • Having asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Having an allergy to grains or to another food
  • Having Hodgkins lymphoma


Being allergic to something means hyper sensibility of out body to different substances. Allergy develops after repetitive influence of agents on human organism. Allergy to alcohol is painful, but quite common reaction to alcohol, mainly caused by drinking strong drinks, containing ethanol.

Except ethanol, other ingredients of the alcohol drink can cause allergy to alcohol. For instance, yeast and hop in the beer, or sulfites, used as preservatives in wines. Coloring agents can also cause allergy, as well as polyphenol compounds and flavorings that are used in alcohol manufacturing.

Alcohol allergy can be inherited and developed in the proses of drinking. Inherited alcohol allergy usually develops on either maternal or paternal line in all representatives of the family. Having this kind of alcohol allergy a person cannot drink alcohol at all in any, even smallest amounts. Because alcohol can cause not only vomiting and severe headaches, it can cause an anaphylactic shock!

People who drink low quality alcohol drinks with a lot of colorings and different chemicals can suffer from developed alcohol allergy. Of a person drinks alcohol only occasionally, on different events, he can miss the sign that points out to alcohol allergy, like red stains on his face, hands or neck after having a glass of champagne. Many people think they are allergic to some foods, because there are usually a lot of different dishes on the dinner tables. But other symptoms indicate at alcohol allergy, such as heavy headache, fatigue, sloughing of skin, lowering blood pressure.


Champagne and a lot of wines contain sulphur dioxide, getting into wines with the grapes, worked up with that chemical. Sulphur dioxide is also used as a stabilizer of the first wort in wine manufacturing. Sulphur compounds can cause a heavy allergy in some people.

Another allergy agent is pesticides, used while growing grapes and other crops to manufacture alcohol drinks. Fake wines, cognacs and liqueurs contain herbal or synthetic additives, which can become allergy agents.


The following may help your doctor determine the cause of your symptoms and whether you have alcohol intolerance or something else:

  • Description of your symptoms. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and what drinks cause them. Your doctor may want to know whether you have blood relatives with food allergies or other allergies.
  • Physical examination. A careful exam can identify or exclude other medical problems.
  • Skin test. A skin prick test can determine whether you may be allergic to something in alcoholic beverages — for example, grains in beer. Your skin is pricked with a tiny amount of a substance that could be causing your reaction. If you’re allergic to the substance being tested, you’ll develop a raised bump or other skin reaction.
  • Blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system’s response to a particular substance by checking the amount of allergy-type antibodies in your bloodstream known as immunoglobulin E antibodies. A blood sample is sent to a laboratory to check reactions to certain foods. However, these blood tests aren’t always accurate.


The only way to avoid alcohol intolerance symptoms or an allergic reaction is to avoid alcohol or the particular beverage or ingredients that cause the problem. For a minor reaction, over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines may help reduce symptoms, such as itching or hives. However, antihistamines can’t treat a serious allergic reaction.

If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a certain food, wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace to let others know you have an allergy, in case you’re unable to communicate during a severe reaction. Ask your doctor if you need to carry emergency epinephrine (adrenaline) in the form of an autoinjector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q). This prescription device has a concealed needle that injects a single dose of epinephrine when you press it against your thigh.


Unfortunately, nothing can prevent reactions to alcohol or ingredients in alcoholic beverages. To avoid a reaction, avoid alcohol or the particular substance that causes your reaction.


Read beverage labels to see whether they contain ingredients or additives you know cause a reaction, such as sulfites or certain grains. Be aware, however, that labels may not list all ingredients.

Useful advice

Holistically and ideally we should avoid alcohol altogether once it is found to be allergic, however there are suggestions to improve the immunization to increase the antihistamine effect.

The above given home remedies are found to be effective but less efficient ,they are slow to act . If you need to cure Alcohol allergy faster ,there are professional methods of natural treatment or improvised home remedies which could cure Alcohol Allergy faster.


Living with food allergies can be challenging, and no therapies are available to alter their natural course. The outlook will depend on the success of immune therapy, allergen avoidance, and compliance with carrying a self-injectable epinephrine (adrenaline) device.


Depending on the cause, complications of alcohol intolerance or other reactions to alcoholic beverages can include:

  • Migraines. Drinking alcohol can trigger migraines in some people, possibly as a result of histamines contained in some alcoholic beverages. Your immune system also releases histamines during an allergic reaction.
  • A severe allergic reaction. In rare instances, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening (anaphylactic reaction) and require emergency treatment.


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