- Alcohol flush reaction
- is redness or flushing in the face or neck after consuming alcohol.
- Esophagus cancer
- Esophagus is the muscular tube that connects the throat and stomach.
- Cancer can form in the tissues that line the esophagus.
Higher Esophageal Cancer Risk If You Flush Easily
One Japanese study has found that: you're at higher esophageal cancer risk if you flush easily with drinking. The study found that about 1/3 of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese are "aldehyde dehydrogenase" deficient which make them flush easily with drinking and people who flush easily have 6-10 times higher risk of getting esophageal cancer than individuals who don't flush easily.
Alcohol Flush Reaction
Alcohol is metabolized by several enzymes. It is first broken down into acetaldehyde, a harmful substance that is then converted to harmless acetic acid (or vinegar). When high levels of acetaldehyde occur in the blood, the following “hangover” symptoms occur:
- Facial flushing
- Light headedness
These symptoms are indicative of a disease known as the Alcohol flush reaction, also known as “Asian Flush” or “Oriental Flushing Syndrome”.
Enzyme and Gene
Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) plays a crucial role in maintaining low blood levels of acetaldehyde during alcohol oxidation. Unfortunately, there is a mutant form of aldehyde dehydrogenase, termed ALDH2*2,
A gene is a locus (or region) of DNA that encodes a functional RNA or protein product, Genes can acquire mutations in their sequence, leading to different variants, known as alleles, in the population. These alleles encode slightly different versions of a protein, which cause different phenotype traits.
ALDH2 gene contains instructions for producing aldehyde dehydrogenase. A variant called ALDH2*2 in this gene results in an inactive enzyme. For individuals with the mutant allele:
- Homozygous individuals (with mutant alleles present on both homologous chromosomes)
- have almost no ALDH2 activity
- Heterozygous individuals
- have reduced activity.
Esophageal cancer  is one of the common malignancies, with an increasing incidence and a high mortality in both developed and developing countries. Esophageal cancer exists in two main forms with distinct etiological and pathological characteristics:
How to Lower Your Risk
Most of esophageal cancer patients are over 60 and more common in men. If you're at higher risk, pay attention to the following advice:
- Don't eat foods that are burning hot. Wait until it cools down a little bit.
- Stop smoking.[4, 9]
- Cigarette smoking and heavy drinking are the two major causes of esophageal cancer, especially when combined.
- Place a tall book (of the same thickness) underneath both posts of your bed frame on the side of your headboard. This will keep your bed at a slight angle so that the acid will go down instead of up into your esophagus.
- Avoid red sauces like tomato sauce, garlic, and things with caffeine like peppermint tea or chocolate.
- Do not wear control top underwear, because it is very tight and squeezes the acid up into your esophagus.
- Obesity increases the risk of adenocarcinoma fourfold.
- When you gain weight, the stomach gets pulled down from the extra weight and the kink that is usually between the esophagus and the stomach gets pulled out. This results in that connective area getting very thick, which can lead to Esophageal Cancer.
- There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer of the liver, colon, rectum, esophagus, larynx, pharynx and female breast.
- High blood levels of alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, may lower the risk of developing cancer of the stomach and esophagus, according to new research from China.
- Risk appears to be less in patients using aspirin or related drugs (NSAIDs).[2, 6]
- However, be warned that aspirin is a blood thinner and overdosing can cause excessive bleeding (see  for more side effects).
- According to the National Cancer Institute, diets high in cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) and green and yellow vegetables and fruits are associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer
- Moderate coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk too.[2, 7]
- Zinc can protect us against esophageal cancer.[3, 8]
- "Younger you" by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
- Factors associated with carcinoma of the oesophagus at Mulago Hospital, Uganda.
- An Epidemiological Study of Precursor Lesions of Esophageal Cancer among Young Persons in a High-Risk Population in Huixian, China
- Expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and effects of bile acids and NSAIDs
- Coffee and tea intake and risk of oral, pharyngeal and esophageal cancer
- Zinc Deficiency Linked to Increased Risk of Less-Common Form of Esophageal Cancer
- American Medical Association Complete Guide to Prevention and Wellness
- Pros and Cons of Aspirin
- Boosting Broccoli's Anti-Cancer Effect
- Dr Oz: What Causes Heartburn?
- ERCC1 Levels Strongly Associated with Survival in Esophageal Cancer
- Digestive System
- Red face after drinking suggests high blood pressure
- Thomasson HR, Edenberg HJ, Crabb DW; et al. (April 1991). "Alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase genotypes and alcoholism in Chinese men". American Journal of Human Genetics 48 (4): 677–81.
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- Normally, a muscle (lower esophageal sphincter) between the esophagus and the stomach keeps stomach contents where they belong. Until this muscle has time to mature, spitting up might be an issue — especially if your baby is relatively full.