Why no treatment for mutation that causes alcohol-digesting enzyme deficiency in Asian populations?

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Between the two of us, my roommate and I have the, uhh, digestive problems that are more common in people of East Asian descent. She’s lactose intolerant. I get so-called “Asian glow” when I drink alcohol. But at least when my roommate is craving cheese, she can pop some Lactaid pills. Why can’t I take an Asian glow pill?

After all, both conditions stem from trouble with enzymes our bodies make. Like most people around the world, my roommate stopped producing the enzyme lactase as she got older. Lactase digests the milk sugar lactose, so without lactase, she gets bloating and cramps when she eats dairy products. Lactaid pills give her extra doses of lactase.

Meanwhile, my body produces an inefficient version of the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which is the second of the two enzymes that people need to break down the ethanol in alcoholic drinks.

Read the full, original story: Why Is There No Pill For ‘Asian Glow’?

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