Alcohol can negatively affect us in several ways, even more so when its intake is excessive for our metabolism. The so-called ‘hangover’ or vomiting and nausea are common symptoms for anyone after excesses, but what if you feel bad immediately after consumption
. This body response may be a sign that you have an ‘ allergy’ to alcohol or, rather, intolerance to any of its components.
Alcohol intolerance occurs when your body does not have the proper enzymes to break down (metabolize) the toxins in alcohol. This occurs because ofinherited (genetic) traits, in reaction to other allergies or in response to intolerance to any of its components.The allergy as such to pure alcohol does not trigger this process, but rather to the sensitivity to sulfites and histamine found in some beverages. These substances do not stimulate the immune system, but other body systems to produce a reaction. Unlike an allergy, antibodies are not activated.

So how does it occur

The breakdown of alcohol occurs in the body largely through the liver. It metabolizes more than 90% of the alcohol we consume. A small part is also excreted through the lungs, skin, and kidneys with the urine. But nevertheless,pure alcohol is not drunk, but a mixture of different substances that, sometimes, certain people cannot break down.
Acetaldehyde is a metabolite produced in the process of metabolizing alcohol and is highly toxic. The body usually has no problem metabolizing alcohol, especially if a person drinks in moderation, however, if you are intolerant to alcohol, you may have difficulty breaking down alcohol and acetaldehyde will build up instead.
In turn, a member of the SEAIC indicates that there is a non-allergic clinical picture, which is called ‘ non-allergic histaminosis’ , in which alcohol inhibits the function of an intestinal enzyme, the ‘diamine oxidase’, which is responsible for the degradation of intestinal histamine. People can tolerate a certain amount of foods that contain histamine. However, above a certain limit, they will develop symptoms. “If this enzyme is deficient, and is also inhibited by alcohol, the person suffering from this disorder may manifest pseudo-allergic symptoms when consuming alcohol, such as itchy skin, redness, or abdominal pain,” he points out.
In other cases, there may be a reaction to the very foods with which the drink is made, such as barley , wheat, and hops in beer, apples in cider, or grapes in wine. Reactions have also been described in patients allergic to Hymenoptera.(bees and wasps), as their remains are found in the winemaking process; or in patients allergic to eggs, since egg white is sometimes used to clarify wine.


Those who suffer from this pseudo-allergy to alcohol usually feel it quickly : for example, shortly after drinking alcohol, the nose swells, the heart beats fast and the face turns red. Other symptoms of a true allergy to alcohol can affect the skin, breathing, and circulatory system.
In addition, another of the most common symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, may include:
Facial redness (blushing).
Red, itchy bumps on the skin (hives)
Worsening of pre-existing asthma
Stuffy or runny nose
Feeling dizzy or faint
Low blood pressure.
Nausea and vomiting


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

Migraines.Drinking alcohol can cause migraines in some people, possibly as a result of histamines in some alcoholic beverages. The immune system also releases histamines during an allergic reaction.

Serious allergic reactions. In rare cases, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening (anaphylactic reaction) and require emergency treatment.

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