Many hangover sufferers looking for someone or something to blame can now point the finger at their own genes, according to a new study. Mutations in a specific gene inactivate a key enzyme and slow the elimination of acetaldehyde -- the first product of alcohol metabolism -- from the body, say Japanese researchers reporting in the July issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Their study of 326 Japanese female and male workers found that those with a mutated, inactive form of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) -- an enzyme that plays an important role in the elimination of alcohol-induced acetaldehyde -- are more susceptible to hangovers and facial flushing when they drink. This mutated form of ALDH is called ALDH2. People with the inactive form of ALDH2 needed to drink "significantly less" than those with active ALDH2 to trigger hangover, study corresponding author Masako Yokoyama, of the Mitsukoshi Health and Welfare Foundation, said in a prepared statement.
When can we expect the anti-hangover pill?