Have you stumbled on this page because you’re searching Google for an Asian flush cure? I don’t blame you. I did exactly the same thing when I first found out there was something I could do to avoid being embarrassed in public about my red face.
I went to Google and searched high and low for anything claiming to be an Asian flush cure, bought it and tried it.
Now, let me tell you something I wish I had’ve known before I went and wasted all my money doing that.
You need to be exceptionally careful when choosing Asian flush cures. There are not only charlatans trying to sell you snake oil left right and centre, but there are some serious health considerations that I was not aware of until I became a little more educated about the Asian flush syndrome and all of the methods commonly used to cure it.
If you are serious about stopping your Asian flush and doing it in a safe and sustainable way, please take your time and read everything I’ve presented for you below:
Why do people feel the need to cure Asian flush in the first place?
I guess the first question is not ‘how do we prevent Asian flush’ (we’ll get to that in just a moment), but rather, why do we want to stop it in the first place? Why do people feel it is so important to not flush red when they drink alcohol?
Surely a little bit of rosiness in the cheeks isn’t such a big deal, right?
In fact, according to most of the people we’ve surveyed, the vast majority find that their condition makes them feel uncomfortable and self-conscious when drinking alcohol in public.
Think about it, you’re out drinking (because it’s kind of sad to drink at home alone) and you’re looking as presentable as you can be. Maybe you’re wearing a new outfit, perhaps you spent some extra time doing your makeup or made sure your hair was looking just the way you like it.
The last thing you want is for your face to begin flushing bright red! Not only that, if the redness wasn’t enough, let’s throw in a whole bunch of swelling around the eyes and cheeks. That’s not a great way to impress someone on a first date, nor to attract someone to date in the first place.
When out in public, people want to look their best and often expect others to be looking their best too. Call it superficial if you like, but it is a reality.
This brings us to the point of discussing the various ways one can prevent their Asian flush from happening so that they can look their best when out drinking alcohol in public.
As you will see, the various Asian flush cures have their benefits and drawbacks. We hope that after reading this article you will have a good idea of what kind of alcohol flushing cure is right for you and what isn’t.
So without further adieu, let us begin with the most effective yet arguably the most difficult Asian flush prevention method to implement:
Refrain from drinking alcohol altogether
Virgin cocktails anyone? How about a glass of soda water with lime that you can pretend is a vodka and soda or a gin and tonic? The art of drinking but not ‘drinking’ is a skill worth learning if you suffer from Asian flush – and let’s face it, this is the best way to stop Asian flush from happening!
As skilled as you might be at this fine art, it often nearly impossible to avoid the social pressure to have a drink or two, or three, or four… you get the point.
If you haven’t realized already, alcohol consumption is the cornerstone of social interaction, celebration and courtship in many of the world’s modern societies. In some cases, it is literally unavoidable if you want to be accepted in a social or professional situation.
Whether it’s with an important client to close a deal, university drinking games or a bottle of Champaign on a hot tinder date, unless you’re a grandmaster of drinking but not ‘drinking’, you are likely to find yourself in a situation where you might be consuming alcohol.
In these moments, refraining from alcohol is sometimes not the desired option.
This brings us to the second Asian flush cure we’ll be covering. This method is quite widely used amongst sufferers unaware of its potential dangers. Make not mistake, this is not a recommendation but rather a warning. We absolutely do not recommend using this method to prevent your Asian flush if you care about your long-term health and wellbeing.
H2 Receptor Antagonists (i.e. Pepcid AC, Zantac and other Antihistamines)
If you search through any Asian flush forum you will undoubtedly come across a discussion about the off-label use of antihistamines like Pepcid AC and Zantac Forte to prevent symptoms of alcohol flush reaction. For you reference, here is one such discussion where users are talking about their experiences with using Pepcid and Zantac to cure their Asian flush.
We reiterate that we do not condone the off-label use of any medication for any purpose than otherwise intended by the original manufacturer.
Pepcid AC, Zantac and other similar antacid medications are made for relieving discomfort from heart burn and indigestion. Moreover, they have been specifically tested for this purpose and this purpose only.
Problems can potentially arise when people take these medications without any of the underlying problems they are intended to treat, not to mention also mixing them with large quantities of alcohol.
In this regard, without clear scientific inquiry by the manufacturer into the medication’s use in conjunction with alcohol, it would be irresponsible to regularly combine these two things and expect everything to be ok.
In addition to the complete lack of manufacturer guidance, there have also been some independent studies that have looked at the various risks that could arise when using antacids to prevent Asian flush.
Antacids like Zantac can make you drunk quicker
It is becoming more and more known in the Asian flushing community that specific risks arise when taking Zantac in conjunction with alcohol.
A 1992 study looked into the effects of Ranitidine (Zantac) on blood alcohol levels after ethanol ingestion.
The researchers found that:Relative to baseline, ranitidine increased the mean peak concentration and the area under the curve of blood alcohol concentrations by 34% (P<.05) and 41% (P<.01), respectively. First-pass metabolism of ethanol was decreased from 70±10 to 31±9 mg/kg of body weight, with a corresponding increase in ethanol bioavailability of 79.6% to 92.6%.
Essentially what this means is that you will get drunk a lot quicker if you take Zantac, or any other antacid medication based on the compound ranitidine, before drinking alcohol. So much so that the researchers warned that:Patients treated with ranitidine or cimetidine should be warned of possible functional impairments after consumption of amounts of ethanol considered safe in the absence of such therapy.
This means that if you are planning to drive after 1 standard drink, be aware that you may not only be functionally impaired if you have mixed alcohol with Zantac, but you might also be significantly over the legal blood alcohol limit.
Health risk when using Pepcid AC or Zantac for Asian flush
In addition to getting you drunk quicker, independent studies have also highlighted various health risks associated with the consistent use of antihistamine products like famotidine (Pepcid AC) with or without alcohol.
In this regard, if you are a regular off-label user of these antacid medications for the purposes of preventing or reducing your alcohol flush reaction, we encourage you to take note of these potential risks and speak to your medical practitioner about whether or not you should continue doing so.
Without going into all of the potential long-term risks here, it is worth noting that a few studies have highlighted some interesting side-effects worth noting.
A 1988 study looking at the haematological adverse effects of histamine h2-receptor antagonists found that:Malabsorption of dietary iron and cobalamin appears to result from inhibition of gastric secretions by the H2-receptor antagonists. This is of no clinical importance in short term treatment, but long term use of H2-receptor antagonists may theoretically contribute to the occurrence of iron or cobalamin deficiency anaemia.
This means that the long-term use of h2 receptor antagonists like Pepcid AC and Zantac Forte could potentially result in users becoming anaemic.
According to the Scottish Government’s NHS Inform article about anaemia:Severe anaemia may increase your risk of developing complications that affect the heart or lungs, such as an abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia) or heart failure, where your heart is unable to pump enough blood around your body at the right pressure. Pregnant women with severe or untreated anaemia also have a higher risk of complications before and after birth.
Whilst impending anaemia is not necessarily the fate of everyone who uses Pepcid AC or Zantac to cure their Asian flush, it is still worth noting the seriousness of this side-effect and considering it alongside the following risks involve with off-label antihistamine use for alcohol flush reaction symptoms.
Pepcid and Zantac heightened cancer risks for ALDH2 deficient drinkers.
One of the more serious risks involved with the off-label use of antihistamine medications for the prevention of Asian flush symptoms is that they may increase the already existing cancer risks faced by ALDH2 deficient drinkers (i.e. people with Asian flush).
This is because antihistamine medications, by their very nature, prevent Asia flush symptoms by reducing the histamine reaction that gives rise to the symptoms – i.e. they just mask the symptoms.
This means that the root cause of the reaction remains unaddressed and is just being covered up by the antihistamine properties of these antacid medications.
This is problematic because the root cause of the initial histamine release that gives rise to Asian flush symptoms is a by-product of alcohol metabolism called acetaldehyde – i.e. a group 1 cancer causing carcinogen according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
If you have Asian flush, you will have probably heard of the serious warnings that have been issued by the US government and the International Agency for Research on Cancer about the heightened cancer risks for people with ALDH2 deficiency (i.e. alcohol flush reaction).
If not, you can read a great summary of the Asian flush cancer risk, or refer to this quick quote from The United States National Institutes of Health from their 2009 press release:A series of epidemiologic studies by Akira Yokoyama and his colleagues in Japan have shown that individuals with one copy of the inactive variant are about 6-10 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than are individuals with the fully active ALDH2 enzyme who drink comparable amounts of alcohol. Notably, these studies showed that individuals with the inactive variant who drink the equivalent of 33 or more U.S. standard drinks per week have a 89-fold increased risk of esophageal cancer compared to non-drinkers.
Why is this such a problem for people who take Pepcid AC or Zantac to prevent their Asian flush?
The problem arises because these medications might make it easier for aldh2 deficient drinkers to consume more alcohol over time, without feeling the unpleasant symptoms that may have otherwise caused them to stop or even refrain from drinking. Furthermore, by simply masking the symptoms rather than addressing the underlying problem, users are unwittingly increasing their exposure to acetaldehyde and its various carcinogenic properties.
For this reason, and the other risks mentioned above, we highly recommend refraining from using antihistamine medications like Pepcid AC and Zantac for the treatment of Asian flush symptoms. It is not only irresponsible to be using any medication for an off-label purpose, but in the case of ALDH2 deficient individuals, it is downright dangerous. Don’t do it.
What about Asian flush supplements?
In response to the intolerable risks of taking Pepcid and Zantac for Asian flush, many supplement manufacturers have stepped in to offer a safer and more sustainable natural solution.
These supplements are not only aimed at preventing the symptoms of alcohol flush reaction, but they also go the extra step in addressing the underlying problem of acetaldehyde toxicity.
This makes them a much safer and highly preferable alternative to the off-label use of antihistamine medications.
These supplements, or at least the ones that are worth taking, will invariably contain some amount of an amino acid called N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) – this is the key component.
NAC binds directly to acetaldehyde and is also a necessary precursor for the body’s natural production of a potent anti-oxidant called glutathione, which is essential for neutralising blood acetaldehyde levels and safely dealing with symptoms of alcohol flush reaction.
In our opinion, this is the key to dealing with Asian flush symptoms safely.
There are numerous Asian flush specific supplements currently available that contain NAC. But buyer beware, they are not cheap – and if they are cheap they are most likely not worth buying.
In our opinion, the better Asian flush supplements do not require you to take their pill on a daily basis. This seems to us like a way to unnecessarily force you into buying their supplement every month or two.
You will invariably get much better value and more effective results from an Asian flush supplement that requires you to only take it immediately before you commence drinking.
Before you buy any DAILY USE Asian flush supplement you need to read this.
Whilst the use of NAC has seen amazing results in reducing acetaldehyde and preventing the symptoms of alcohol flush reaction, there is a notable risk that not many people are talking about if taken on a daily basis.
Daily use of NAC has been shown to increase the chance of stones forming in the ureter, bladder and kidneys. If you have ever experienced this before you will know how excruciatingly painful this is and how important it is to ensure that this does not happen to you.
In order to protect against this, it is advisable to opt for Asian flush supplements that only require you to take pills immediately before drinking alcohol in order to reduce overall weekly NAC intake.
In addition to this, it is also essential that NAC is taken in conjunction with a sufficient amount of vitamin C to ensure the proper assimilation of NAC in the body and to significantly reduce the risk of kidney, bladder and ureter stones.
As we speak, Sunset Alcohol Flush Support is the only Asian flush supplement that contains the right NAC to Vitamin C ratio and only requires you to take the pills immediately before drinking alcohol rather than every day.
The big problem with all Asian flush cures taken orally.
If you have to take something orally, your body needs to digest and assimilate all the ingredients properly in order for it to work as intended.
Unfortunately, there are many complications that can get in the way of a pill being absorbed properly:
- The problem of disintegration – For an Asian flushing supplement to work properly, it must be released into the body in a timely manner – i.e. it must disintegrate quickly. In this regard, a recent study examined about fifty well-known vitamin tablets that were in pill form to test if their ingredients could be released quickly enough to be properly absorbed. The results shockingly revealed that out of the fifty tested vitamins, 50% did not disintegrate.
- Binders – Many Asian flush supplements that come in tablet form can contain excipients, binders, filler and flow agents, that are used to make the ingredients stick together better or compress to a convenient and more easily ingestible size. Unfortunately, these compounds can also add to the poor disintegration and absorption rates.
- Individual differences – Everyone is different. Whether it be body size, diet, pre-existing nutrient levels, etc. When taking an Asian flushing supplement orally, it is common to expect a wide range of efficacy across a large group of people. It might work well for some and less well for others, based on a variety of individual specific factors that are nearly impossible to pin down.
For the above reasons, many people will choose to compliment their Asian flush supplements with something that doesn’t involve swallowing something and hoping that your body does what its supposed to with it.
Call it your final line of defence or your insurance policy. We choose to think of it as the only way to know for sure that you are not going to get a red face when you drink alcohol.
Anti-flushing Asian flush specific moisturizer will always have your back.
Whichever way you choose to avoid your Asian flush, whether it be via the off-label use of antihistamines or Asian flush specific supplements, the cold hard reality is that you can never be sure they are going to work.
Maybe you ate something that interacts with one of the ingredients in the pill you’re relying on. Maybe your existing medication counteracts with the pill’s function. Or perhaps you simply forgot to take your pills with you that day and got invited to an unexpected work party or an impromptu tinder date.
You can never be 100% prepared when you are relying on pills. This is why we are excited to introduce the world’s first high-end daily moisturiser designed specifically with Asian flush in mind.
Simply apply it every morning as your daily moisturiser and be 100% prepared to drink alcohol without flushing for the entire day.
You can also combine it with your favorite Asian flush supplement, use it immediately prior to drinking alcohol or as a convenient way to reduce flushing that has already appeared.
It is, without a doubt, your best friend when it comes to being 100% prepared to drink alcohol without getting a red/swollen face.
To find out more, check out Reset today.
At Reset, we always want to spark a discussion about Asian flush and Asian glow. If you have any comments, or want to share your experience living with Asian flush/Asian glow, be sure to drop us a line!