ArmitageShanks
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Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:01 am

I was reading in my anthropology book about the advancement of alcohol in society when I came across a paragraph that stated about 50% of Asians lacked the gene to metabolize alcohol. That was their explanation of why alcohol was not as widely used in those cultures because of the unpleasant results in 50% of the people.

Do you know if this is still true?
 
mdsh00
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:07 am

I don't think that a good chunk of Asians completely lack the ability to metabolize alcohol, but they do so much slower. But yes, Asians do seem to have different reactions to alcohol consumption...particularly the "Asian Glow" (red cheeks).
"Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change."
 
Logan22L
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:21 am

ArmitageShanks: The deficiency is in the production of aldehyde dehydrogenase. Ethanol is first metabolized to acetaldehyde by alcohol dehydrogenase, then aldehyde dehydrogenase acts upon the acetaldehyde, forming acetate. Hence, certain Asian populations cannot metabolize the acetaldehyde that is formed. Acetaldehyde can affect the efficacy of vitamins, and is toxic in other ways. Acetate is actually quite useful as energy, but only if you can metabolize the acetaldehyde.

According to an abstract in PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9273829&dopt=Abstract

approximately half of CERTAIN Asians have this genetic problem. Try Googling "Asian alcohol metabolism"

Logan
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desertjets
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:22 am

I've heard it refered to as the Asian Tomato Syndrome. One of my good friends from college was Asian and really couldn't have more than one or two drinks without beginning to feel ill-effects... he was also lactose intolerant. But his older brother could apparently drink with the best of them.
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jasepl
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:48 am

By Asians do you mean all of us? Or only the "oriental" ones?

Because us subcontinentals cannot possibly be accused of not being able to hold our drink!
 
Derico
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:49 am

A while back I went out with some of my friends from elementary school, including a Korean girl named Atena-Ko. She didn't drink when the rest of us did, including two other girls. We asked her and she said that she doesn't drink and that her family doesn't drink. I thought it was simply part of the reserved nature of Korean-argentines to be good citizens. That still could be, but maybe it's because of their low tolerance.

I actually didn't know Asians had a problem with alcohol. There is a stereotype that native people of the Americas have a low alcohol tolerance. Is that true and if it is could it have anything to do with the fact that their ancestry is widely thought to be Asian?
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cwapilot
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:10 am

I don't think it is possible to generalize here. For one thing, as Jasepl points out, there are many different "kinds" of Asians. Even among the "oriental" ones, there are very large, distinct differences. There tends to be a desire to lump all "orientals" into one group because, as some ignorant observers point out, "they look the same." So, usually, when someone sees an Asian from the Indian subcontinent, they lump them in with Arabs, and call all "orientals" (God, I hate using that term) Chinese. Aside from calling a Puerto Rican, Mexican, I can't think of anything worse than calling an Indian an Arab or a non-Chinese Asian, Chinese.

My first hand experience is with Japanese and Indonesians (mostly Javanese). I have not yet met a single person of those ethnic groups, including my 95 pound wife, who cannot hold their own in a drinking match. And that's beside the fact that Javanese Muslims aren't even supposed to drink at all, and shouldn't have any tolerance built up.

This goes to the individual, their weight, their tolerance and their own drinking habits. According to foklore, my Russian friend should be able to drink my Indonesian/Japanese wife under the table. However, in reality, the opposite is true.
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Logan22L
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:33 am

I tried to make it clear in my post that the genetic mutation (I know, it sounds awful, but scientifically, that's what it is) occurs in about half of CERTAIN Asians. The PubMed (a very respected source of scientific information) abstract did not define which Asian groups are likely to have this, so I suggested that a google search might reveal some reputable sources to shed some light on this. It is a well-documented scientific phenomenon; however, I cannot tell conclusively from the research that I have done whether it is half of all Asians (I seriously doubt this) or half of a smaller percentage (i.e., "certain") of Asians (e.g., China, Indochina, Korea, Japan, etc.).

Logan
"The deeper you go, the higher you fly. The higher you fly, the deeper you go."
 
mdsh00
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:51 am

By Asians do you mean all of us? Or only the "oriental" ones?

In the US, "Asians" usually refer to "Orientals." South Asians (Indian, Pak, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Sri Lankan) don't seem to have this problem with Sharaab ...you can look to the Jatts for proof Jasepl  Big grin. As for the certain Asians mentioned, its more prominent among Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans that I have known. But like it was said...there are some Asians that are able to drink like everyone else. I had a Chinese roomate as a Freshman in college and I do remember him getting rose cheeked after a drink or two.
"Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change."
 
57AZ
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 12:52 pm

I am fairly certain that lower alcohol absorbtion is common amongst the East Asians (China, Japan, Korea, etc.). I am South Korean and do get rose cheeked after a couple of drinks, depending on the alcohol content. Having returned to Korea and had local alcoholic beverages there, I think it is fair to say that the alcohol content of East Asian adult beverages is somewhat lower than their American counterparts. Myself, I hardly ever drank alcohol during my college years as I worked for a shortline railroad in passenger train service and was subject to call at any time. Operating Rule G prohibits use of or being under the influence of any intoxicating or controlled substance while on duty, on or around railroad property. Only exception is medications prescribed by a licensed physician which will not affect the employee's ability to safely perform their duties.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
theCoz
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 12:57 pm

That means asian chicks are cheap dates! woo hoo!  Innocent
 
Dash8King
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Thu Nov 18, 2004 2:16 pm

There is a stereotype that native people of the Americas have a low alcohol tolerance. Is that true and if it is could it have anything to do with the fact that their ancestry is widely thought to be Asian?

Well I live in the north among many aboriginals and I can say for here anyways many cannot tolerate alcohol. They go snakey and their tolerance is much lower. It is estimated that in the smaller communities where alcohol is allowed-90% of all complaints to the RCMP are alcohol related. The same is here in Yellowknife although not 90% high it is still a huge problem.

The reason for the Inuit anyways is because up until the 1900's most had not drank alcohol. So when your in a family and only two generations have been drinkers well that is going to weigh in when you drink.
 
saigonhouston
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:33 am

I'm Asian and I'm a Dirty Martini or cosmopolitan lover. I can handle as many as 5-6 drinks on every weekend night out.

I will be red after my 6th drinks and sometime not. It depend on what I have ate before I went to the bars. Therefore, I still don't believe that has anything to do with Asians & Alcohol tolerance.

So..tell me that how many of you guys in here that are non-asian and able to handle 6 martini without felling a little tipsy?

If your answer is YES, I am feeling a little tipsy and becomes more friendly.
Then we need to open a new discussion topic as "Race and Alcohol Tolerance".

Saigonhouston.


 
Logan22L
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:50 am


I'm not sure what part of the scientific reality is not being understood here. The fact is, genetic differences exist between various groups of people, and sometimes race plays a role in this. It is not intended to demean anyone. Many researchers have noted the inherited mutant allele that causes an inability to produce aldehyde dehydrogenase in certain Asian populations. If people with this mutation procreate with non-Asians, Darwin has taught us that it is likely that it will cross race lines; however, other genetic factors may play a role in whether this mutation in spread.

Please stop ignoring the science and trying to be so PC. Science describes reality to the extent that we understand it, assuming we interpret things properly. Yes, anyone gets (more than) tipsy after 6 martinis. This is not about getting drunk, it's about the lack of an isoenzyme needed to metabolize acetaldehyde.

Logan
"The deeper you go, the higher you fly. The higher you fly, the deeper you go."
 
707CMF
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:22 am

I know for a thing that my former flatmates (and still one of my best friends), of Vietnameze descent, could not possibly hold a beer.

For one of his birthday, we had forced him to drink a full pint of beer, and I still regret that. Worst evening of his life, and he now cannot stand the mere smell of beer.

Cheers,

707
 
mirrodie
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:27 am

aldehyde dehydrogenase....thanks for that Logan, I forgot the name of the lacking enzyme.

My old roommate, of Chinese Heritage, has the same problem.....he gets the old red face while drinking his first drink.... but it didnt have too much of an effect on how quickly he got drunk.
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flpuck6
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:53 am

I am Asian (Chinese) ... (of asian origins) ...

In college, I had no problems drinking, though I did get the "asian glow" ... red cheeks, red face everything ...

but after college, as eating dinner one night, I had wine with my dinner and found myself with a major stomach ache soon after ... only after sitting on the can and getting sick did I feel better.

A few more tries of wine / alcohol with food confirmed that I can no longer drink alcohol with any meal  Sad I think it has something to do with digestive enzymes ... whatever it is, I prefer to EAT rather than drink!
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yokohama1970
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RE: Asians And Alcohol Tolerance?

Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:35 pm

I am 1/2 Japanese & 1/2 Caucasian. I can only handle one drink & I really "nurse" that Molson or Cointreau. I rarely drink liquor, it just doesn't work for me.

Tom
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