Asian flush, explained
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Asian flush, explained


For most people, when they drink alcohol, it can
make them feel more confident and comfortable. But for me, drinking makes me feel less confident
and UNcomfortable. That’s because, thanks to my DNA, alcohol
makes my skin turn red. It’s called Asian flush, and it affects
about 36% percent of Northeast Asians, with higher rates among Asian Americans. I guess We should probably show you what it
looks like. [For Science. For Science.] [Are we slamming?] People tend to assume that a red face means that we’re
drunk but that’s a myth. These are completely separate processes. Facial flushing, whether from embarrassment,
exercise, or alcohol, happens when blood vessels under the surface of the skin dilate. In the case of Asian flush, this is part of
an immune response. The body is detecting a threat. The threat
isn’t the alcohol itself, but a substance that our livers produce while breaking down
alcohol. [For me at least, the warmth starts in my
chest and then moves its way up.] [My cheeks are warm, my ears are warm.] [It’s weird, it’s almost like my eyes
are almost puffy] When people drink ethanol – that’s the chemical
name for booze – the liver gets rid of it using two main enzymes. The first reacts with the ethanol molecule
to produce a substance called acetaldehyde. And the second quickly turns acetaldehyde
into acetate, which is similar to vinegar, and easy for the body to eliminate. It’s that second enzyme that really screws
things up for people with Asian flush. If you look inside our DNA, you’ll find
that the gene providing the instructions for that enzyme was tweaked at some point in our
history. And that gene mutation produces an inactive
enzyme. So when we drink our bodies accumulate acetaldehyde
at a level about 6 times higher than normal If acetaldehyde sounds familiar, that may
be because it’s similar to formaldehyde. It’s toxic. that’s why it triggers the immune
response. And the red face is really the least of it. After having that one beer, I didn’t feel tipsy
at all, but my heart rate doubled. My eyes were bloodshot, and within a half
hour, I had a headache. Even worse, acetaldehyde can cause cancer. It’s a problem because people actually can
develop a tolerance to Asian flush, and that allows them to drink pretty heavily. Studies have shown that heavy drinking raises
the risk of esophageal cancer for everyone, but especially for people with Asian flush. So it’s potentially problematic that alcohol
consumption in Asia has been increasing, especially in China. So if you have Asian flush, be careful – your
body is freaking out for a reason. And if you don’t flush, just don’t expect
us to keep up with you.

100 thoughts on “Asian flush, explained

  1. Omg… that's why I don't like drinking. My great-great-grandmother was Asian. Everybody I know loves drinking, I don't I stick to the weed😉😁💚

  2. i remember the first time i hung out with my work friends we went to a pub and the more my korean coworker drank, the redder he got and i was so confused and was asking him and everyone and someone said it's because he's asian and i just thought they were being racist so i just said "ok" 💀💀💀

  3. Thank goodness I'm southeast. I don't have to worry about this.
    Although to shed light into this, this so-called asian flush affects everyone with light skin tone because the redness would be visible, regardless if you're asian or not.

  4. While in California to see my half sister i chugged three beers and everyone just stared. My sis being herself says "looks like Jay's got Asian Flush" It was my first few beers and I dont drink a lot it was funny and thats how you know I am Qing Chinese

  5. so glad they made this video! Now I can send it to all my non asian friends to watch. Cuz I’m tired having to explain shoooo!

  6. Am East Asian. Am Drunk. Have looked at a mirror. Have Asian Flush. Have remembered this video. Am re-watching it. As a citizen of the world, I wish you all happiness and good health. And yes, I have perfect spelling/grammar even when drunk.

  7. This isn't just an asian thing. I turn red after a drink or two even though I'm still quite maintaining of my faculties. Its kind of annoying because people see my red face and think I'm hammered or can't handle a drink but nope just genetics going on

  8. When my parents got married my mom had only one shot at the reception. Her whole face turned red and apparently she got so sick that she passed out. She never drank alcohol again.

  9. I thought an increased heart rate + suddenly feeling hot was normal when drinking (shots etc strong stuff at least)? Is it not like that for most people regardless of their race?

  10. When ever I would drink alcohol even a little sip my whole body would become numb and I would start sweating so so much. My body started hurting and my heart would start beating so fast , it never went away so no alcohol for me lol

  11. Native Americans have the same problem dealing with the white man's fire water….but you really can't tell if they have red flush because they always have red flush.

  12. I’m 100% European and I flush when I drink alcohol…maybe not too much but definitely in my cheeks and ears. 🤷‍♀️

  13. I'm half Taiwanese, and I've alway wondered why it was specifically Asians that get red! Also, I just adore Joss Fong so much! She's so good at her job.

  14. I remember when I had my first drink and my cheeks got really warm and turned red. All this time I thought this happened to everyone

  15. All you do is take a couple of Pepcid 30 mins before you drink and you are good to go.

    When I was younger I thought it was normal until I realize that being light headed, itching, swelling, having white spots all over my body, blurred vision, nauseous, and feeling like you are about to pass out after drinking only 3 beers is not normal at all. It’s basically my body doing everything it can to get me to stop drinking.

  16. I'm American, my grandparents were German. I have the Asian flush. I'm the only 1 in my family. 🤔The worst part is the headache.

  17. PEPOWL!
    THINK IM CRAJIE-
    WHEN I SAY WHAT???
    UNTIL THEY FIND OUTTTTT WHATT????????
    AND WHAT ELSE??
    AND WHAT ELSE???

    AND HOW SMALL??
    AND HOW SMALL?

  18. Didn't know it was worse for Asians, I just thought it was a universal effect, except for maybe brown and black people. You find red faced Europeans in most bars.

  19. 02:45 “potentially problematic”? China is the most populated country on an already overpopulated earth, let’s just let natural selection do it’s thing

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