It's so weird! I wonder what the heck is going on. I feel this must be some sort of tremendous clue. The effects come on really quickly for me...I've always been a cheap date lol, but can no longer tolerate even a tiny amount of alcohol. It will put me in bed sick as a dog for several days. The last time I had a few sips I ended up unable to care for myself for several days (and at least 2 weeks to climb back to baseline). I really feared I had done permanent damage. Never again!
I blame inability to detox, but who knows. The intolerance came on quickly for me - one day I could have a couple of drinks and a month later I couldn't tolerate a few sips. I wonder if it coincides with that 3 year shift in cytokines? My intolerance to alcohol came approximately 3 years after I went from moderate to severe ME/CFS.It's so weird! I wonder what the heck is going on. I feel this must be some sort of tremendous clue. The effects come on really quickly for me...
Really interesting Lisa!Ethanol is a fungal toxin - a mycotoxin - made by yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
It is a mycotoxin that people's livers are evolved/designed to process easily, with a high percentage of our liver enzymes (I read once something like 20%) existing specifically to break it down. But it is a mycotoxin nonetheless.
This is why you can use vodka as an effective sterilizing agent against other microorganisms. It kills them off, just as (say) Stachybotrys toxin kills off a wide variety of bacteria in the environment (and maybe in our guts), and just as Penicillin (another mold toxin) kills off certain bacteria in our bodies.
The main reason that these toxins are made is so that the fungi that make them have less competition from other microorganisms and can grow more freely. Once alcoholic beverages are fermented, they generally are going to be safe to drink even if you leave them out, because anything other than that yeast is not going to be able to grow in it. The ethyl alcohol - a mold toxin - kills them off.
There's a fair amount of literature showing that the combination of other mycotoxins such as aflatoxin with ethanol is more damaging to mammals than if just the other mycotoxins were present by themselves. Here's a paper showing an effect in mice, for instance.
Therefore, someone who has experienced substantial exposures to environmental mycotoxins (such as by living in a moldy home) might reasonably be expected to be harmed more by drinking ethanol than the average person would. The synergy is key.
Another problem with alcohol is that it often tends to be contaminated with mycotoxins other than ethanol (such as ochratoxin, trichothecene or aflatoxin). This tends to be especially the case with beer and wine, but it may be an issue in some distilled spirits as well.
Europe has much stricter standards for levels of these other mycotoxins in food and drink than the U.S. does, and so if people suspect that these toxins are the reason that they are reacting to alcoholic beverages, trying European brands may be worthwhile. Higher-quality U.S. brands (especially spirits brands) possibly also may be safer, because of the greater care that these companies may take in terms of monitoring the quality of the grains being used.
Here's an article by Dave Asprey on this topic:
Personally, when i was living in the moldy house, I was pretty alcohol intolerant in general. When I did drink, I did much better with higher-end spirits, such as Stoli vodka or Wild Turkey Rare Breed bourbon.
Now that I am not in a bad environment any more, and especially if I am really clear of environmental exposures (such as when camping in a good location), I am able to tolerate a variety of alcoholic beverages much better than I used to. Still, I usually stick with either high-end spirits or occasionally expensive craft beers, because I do better with them.
I used to be rather a wine connoisseur (and even worked for an importer of expensive Italian wines at one point in my life), but an awfully lot of wine is contaminated with toxins that cause me problems. So that is like playing Russian Roulette, for me.
This is a good topic. Thanks for bringing it up.
Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.
I always thought I was just a freak of nature!!! Literally one sip of wine and I'm seeing stars. One glass, and I can't walk.
Since I've started LDN, however, I don't touch more than a sip of anything. I mistakenly took my LDN and drank heavily of whisky one night all at the same time and, yowza, was I sick all night long. Most likely, a moderate intake with LDN wouldn't be a problem but after that one experience, I'm not risking it!
Thanks so much boohealth for your helpful input. I will research the enzyme DAO and see if it will help me. I am surprised by your information about cognacs and unaged brandies. I would have dismissed those both as too sweet, but will look into them now. Best, ClaudiaThere is also a histamine issue with red wine (not sure about beer). You can take an enzyme called DAO before drinking wine, eating cheese or other foods that trigger or increase gut histamine. I do nicely with fine cognacs--I don't like sugary liquors at all. Also, there are now pure fruit artisanal brandies in numerous states. They are essentially clear, unaged brandies. Aromatic, but dry, and you don't have to worry about mycotoxins from improper grain storage.
I will research the enzyme DAO and see if it will help me.