Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: Seeing red
And here I just thought some people got embarrassed when they drank. In this week's guest column, Owl Meat examines the red-faced drinking phenomenon. Just like in poker, having a flush can work to one's advantage. Owl Meat? Are you there? Ah, here he is:
I had a Korean friend whose face would flush red when he drank alcohol. Other than being a fun party trick, I never gave it much thought. I knew that it was common with some Asians and not dangerous.
Then I read an interesting article in New Scientist on the topic. It turns out that this phenomenon is, in fact, a very advantageous piece of recently evolved physiology.
A genetic study shows that the reaction is from a genetic mutation that occurred about 10,000 years ago.
Coincidentally, it occurred at a time when east Asians were learning to cultivate rice and ferment it into alcoholic beverages ...
The red flush is a by-product of the rapid alcohol metabolism. This allows people to metabolize alcohol at 100 times the rate of others? That's amazing.
You can see how this mutation would have benefits and natural selection would favor those with it.
If the alcohol is metabolized that fast, I suppose that one would feel little of the desired effects of it.
Fascinating. I leave you with some vintage Siouxsie Sioux.
(Photo by Getty Images)