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Myth-busting: Redness After Drinking Related To Tolerance?

Myth-busting: Redness After Drinking Related To Tolerance?
Priscilla Peck


Hands up if you are one of those who turns lobster red after a few sips of alcohol. Well, I myself am one of those. This week, Medhatter Priscilla Peck puts on her health hat and quizzes our medical expert, Dr Mark Fernandes from GutCare Clinic on the golden question: Is turning red after drinking really related to your tolerance level? Edited by Cecilia Tan

I used to get teased so often because I would literally turn bright red after a few sips of alcohol. No matter how low the alcohol content was, I’ll still look like a suntanned lobster. So this redness has been codenamed: the Asian Flush Syndrome

I had the privilege to speak to Consultant Gastroenterologist and Liver Specialist from Gutcare Clinic, Dr Mark Fernandes. During the interview, he gave a detailed explanation on the Asian Flush Syndrome.  

Redness After Drinking?



Contrary to all the hear-says and what is on Internet: turning red does not equate to alcohol tolerance level, Dr Mark explained. Rather, it is related our genes. 

Asian Genes You Say?

Yes. It is believed in Ancient China that this process called “Acetaldehyde” was able to protect the liver from entamoeba, which can grow in the liver and cause one’s death. 

“In our genes, we have an extra enzyme that breaks down the alcohol when it is being processed in our liver. The longer it takes to break down, the more likely it’ll cause the redness. During this phase of conversion, one may experience other symptoms like nausea and headaches,” explained Dr Mark.

So Is Turning Red Good?

Despite that one’s ability to flush more easily has no direct co-relation to one’s alcohol tolerance, Dr Mark illustrated that turning red might be a good thing. Fo one thing, if you are more likely to  turn red, you might be reminded to halt or stop consuming alcohol. Those who do not turn red at all may feel that it is fine to continue drinking alcohol in large quantities. And this would eventually lead to them get drunk or worst till, develop the Alcoholic Liver Disease. Find out more about liver problems here:

Hold up! This does not mean all you suntanned lobster can now drink freely any quantity you like because likewise, if you over consume alcohol, you could still risk of getting the Alcoholic Liver Disease.

Whether you turn red or not, it is always good to limit your alcohol consumption for the sake of your body. I’m sure we all want to stay healthy and strong, even in our late years. Moral of the story? Exercise is completely essential to our well being. 

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