Snips about SNPs: Alcohol Flush

Does your face flush after a drink or two? The ALDH gene is responsible for the enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde, which is a toxin that your body produces from alcohol.

While most people can get rid of acetaldehyde fairly quickly, for some, a genetic variant in the ALDH gene causes it to build up. This can cause your face to flush — known as an alcohol flush reaction. It also can make you feel bad when drinking…

Check your genetic data for rs671 (23andMe v4, v5; AncestryDNA):

  • A/A: Alcohol flush reaction[ref], also, higher risk of lung cancer from smoking[ref]
  • A/G: Alcohol flush reaction
  • G/G: normal acetaldehyde metabolism

Want more details? Check out the full article on your alcohol drinking gene.

*SNP stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, which is when one of the nucleotide bases (the A, C, G, or Ts) is replaced by a different nucleotide base in a gene.  Want to know more about your genes? Read through all the Snips about SNPs



Author Information:   Debbie Moon
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. She holds a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University. Debbie is a science communicator who is passionate about explaining evidence-based health information. Her goal with Genetic Lifehacks is to bridge the gap between scientific research and the lay person's ability to utilize that information. To contact Debbie, visit the contact page.