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Alcohol Tolerance Poll

Discussion in 'Hypersensitivity and Intolerance' started by Cort, Oct 7, 2010.


The Alcohol Tolerance Poll

  1. My tolerance of alcohol shifted after I got ME/CFS

    187 vote(s)
  2. My tolerance of alcohol did not shift after I got ME/CFS

    39 vote(s)
  3. After ME/CFS I don't do well with even small amounts of alcohol

    252 vote(s)
  4. After ME/CFS I do OK with small amounts of alcohol but can't tolerate moderate to large amounts

    67 vote(s)
  5. LOL I can actually drink more alcohol now without it effecting me!

    19 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Alcohol intolerance is frequently mentioned in connection with ME/CFS but how common is it? Let's find out. Take the Alcohol Tolerance Poll :).

    You can click on more than one answer.
  2. Min

    Min Guest

    I'm intolerant now - can't even take a teaspoon of herbal tincture, steeped in hot water until it cools, without my head reeling.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi, answering this is not simple for me. I have problems with any alcohol now, but for many years (with mild CFS) I seemed to be able to drink everyone else under the table. I felt stuffed either way and didn't notice the problem, especially since I determined, many years later, that my primary problems with alcohol are delayed just like in exercise. In fact, I am still suffering from alcohol weeks after drinking it - a very PEM experience. I also did not reply that it was worse after getting ME/CFS on the survey because I was only age 7 and had no clue about my alcohol problems.

    Alcohol intolerance hits me in three ways. First, I don't get as drunk as fast as others. Second, the next day I go into full PEM (post exertional malaise for anyone new to the forum). I used to think this was just a hangover, but it lasted days not hours. Third, some days later, I go into what I should probably cause "reverse" PEM, or perhaps the "other" PEM. This is when I get tired but wired (as opposed to serious sleep and aches) and severe chest pains, along with other neurological symptoms such as serious uncontrollable toetapping. Oh, and I also get severe skin peeling at about this point too.

    There is one other thing that gives me exactly this set of symptoms: consumption of a large dose of omega-6 fats. First I go PEM, then the other PEM some days later.

    Many years ago I found out that alcohol poisoning primarily kills through a massive release of arachidonic acid, which in turn triggers massive inflammatory hormone production. We know this because blocking this pathway with drugs substantially reduces the death rate from alcohol poisoning. Arachidonic acid is an active ingredient on the omega-6 fats pathway. Our body uses too much of it, it isn't properly regulated like it should be. It is also an essential nutrient, so we can't always avoid it and survive.

    xrayspex, Manganus and Xandoff like this.
  4. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    This happened to me in the 80's when I first got sick, immediate intolerance to alcohol. And I was only about sixteen years old at the time. It was horrific because in my family, my father's side is Irish and likes to have good hard alcohol at all family occasions. And my dad didn't believe me that I couldn't drink it. I actually had to take a drink and pour it out in the bathroom so they would think I drank it.

    It took many, many years for me to be able to drink a very tiny amount again. And then, even an ounce made me sick. But I seem to have gone back to total intolerance again. The last time I tried to drink around Xmas, I had severe pain in my neck and arms from it. Can't break it down. It's what my mother used to get after she, too, got sick in the 80's. They actually told her at the hospital that if she ever drank again she could die from it because her body could no longer break down the alcohol.

    So basically, my days of drinking anything alcoholic seem to be long over.
  5. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

    Tolerance seems to change - at first complete intolerence - now (is it sulphites in a good red wine) seems to give sound sleep. Chemistry unknown.
    MikeV likes this.
  6. Rooney

    Rooney Senior Member

    SE USA
    After my sudden illness it was not a problem for a couple of years, then it was - just felt too hot in my mouth. Now, upon occasion, it is a welcome comfort to feeling so bad, but because of the sugar I limit myself to one glass of wine at a time.
    MikeV likes this.
  7. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Has anyone asked their doctor why this alcohol intolerance might be present?
  8. zzzz


    Montreal, Canada
    One sip of alcool usually makes me disy. On good days I can tolerate a small glass of wine with a meal. But if I drink more than a glass I will feel more sleepy than usual the next day. The strangest thing is that eating sugar gives me a terrible hangover, but 6 days after ingestion. Go figure! I really wish someone could explain this to me. I've never heard of anybody else having this problem. Want to do a poll on sugar Cort?
  9. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    The doctors gave a pat dumb answer, that anyone can become allergic or intolerant to anything at any time.
    George likes this.
  10. LaurieM


    Before ME I would drink a pint of beer, or have a large scotch after work to relax, or maybe a little more after a heavy work out at my rowing club or after a long run (Endorphins + Alcohol gave a real high).
    Just when I was more or less recovered from Mono I went out for a meal to celebrate getting better and had just a half pint of lager - less than half a glass later and I was so dizzy and all the now familiar ME symptoms began. I've been housebound/bed-ridden ever since - not a drop of alcohol in 6 years and not a chance of endorphins :worried:.

    I have all sorts of food intolerances now, including certain fruit - one strange one being grapes. If I eat them while still fresh (ie slightly crunchy) then I am fine. If they are left for a few days and soften, then they make me extremely ill - I have often wondered if they ferment when they soften as I can actually taste a slight amount of alcohol.

    A neighbour who says she once suffered from ME for 15 years told me that she found that a weak solution of apple cider vinegar made her feel much better. I tried it and had a massive relapse - of course apple cider vinegar is the result of fermentation although I believe most of the alcohol is converted to acetic acid. So it makes me wonder if it's the alcohol or the fermentation that causes the problem. It also makes me wonder (probably unfairly) if my neighbour actually had ME!
  11. caledonia


    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    The last time I drank anything "significant" (couple of servings of alcohol, previously well tolerated), I felt so horrible the next morning, I thought I was going to die. Nauseous, achy, headache, in general feeling poisoned. Felt a bit better after I got some food in me. That's when I knew something had changed.

    After a decade I've worked my tolerance from zero back up to a couple thimbles full. I just pretend each thimble is a shot (lol).

    I believe alcohol intolerance would be generally indicative of an impaired detox system. Probably anyone with alcohol intolerance would be able to give you a laundry list of other chemicals they react badly to (MCS).

    Richvank's methylation unblocking protocol has been helpful for me in this area.
  12. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

    Los Angeles, CA
    I've never had a very good tolerance of alcohol, but since becoming ill it's just all that much worse.
  13. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

    Alcohol, the by-product of fermentation, is much more than just ethanol, though that is the main component. There are a whole galaxy of other compounds in there produced by the yeast during fermentation, including acetone, ethyl acetate, methanol, propanols, dozens of esters, and much more. These only occur in small quantities, often just a few parts-per-million, but they can have very disproportionate effects on flavour and on the damage it does to you the next day.

    Some of the esters in particular are desirable in flavoured spirits, such as whiskey, rum and brandy, as they are important in giving those spirits their flavours. While some of the other components are just bloody awful for you, such as acetone, ethyl acetate, methanol, and propanols. It is these (especially ethyl acetate) that are the main culprit for hangovers. (Although if you drink enough plain ethanol - aka vodka - it will still hurt you!)

    (This is not including anything that is later added, like sulphur based preservatives in wines, which are a whole problem on their own.)

    For our purposes beverage alcohols can be divided into two groups, distilled and non-distilled.

    Non distilled drinks contain all the above compounds, in various proportions, depending on the stock feed for the fermentation, the yeast strain used, and a bunch of other factors, like fermentation temperature, etc.

    Distilled alcohol is quite different. The whole point of distilling is the ability to select which of those components you want, potentially to a very high level of concentration and purity. For a start the acetone, ethyl acetate, methanol, and propanols, etc, can be and usually are more-or-less entirely removed during distillation and discarded (or sold to industry as solvents, etc), and the esters are profiled to suit the spirit (if it is a flavoured one).

    It is a bit more complicated than that, but there is no need to get into deeper explanations here. The important point is that if you wish to drink then good quality vodka is the least damaging drink on offer (for the equivalent amount of ethanol, of course). The worst drink is probably apple based non distilled stuff like cider and applejack, etc, they have a well earned reputation for vicious hangovers.

    I generally find any good quality spirit in the mid-upper quality range, is way easier on me than beer or wine. I don't drink wine at all, and very rarely beer. I do drink spirits regularly & moderately. However, I still don't drink a lot, certainly less than the average Australian, though that is not necessarily saying much!

    I do realise that spirits are not to everybody's taste, but them's the basic chemical facts about booze and you.
    Barry53, ScottTriGuy, alkt and 2 others like this.
  14. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

    This is the same problem i have. I take a herbal tincture 3x a day - 5ml in water and it alwas makes me feel a bit drunk and gives me the pains in my legs that i used to get when i drank a whole glass of wine.
  15. HowToEscape?

    HowToEscape? Senior Member

    OUCH. I'm a firm believer that food was meant to go with wine. A certain famous individual is widely hailed for turning water into wine, not wine into water (and the account specifices that the water became fancy wine which impressed the wine critics at the occassion).
    I am still cheesed that an ounce now has an effect and two ounces can knock me down for a couple hours. You have it much worse - obviously you gotta cut out any alcohol you can identify. It's not getting metabolized.
  16. tolduiwuzsic


    South Carolina
    I get this horrific jaw pain and then feel like i've been poisoned the next couple of days.
  17. Recovery Soon

    Recovery Soon Senior Member

    Ditto. I could pound like no one else. Still probably could- but then I get pounded for weeks.

    Ironically, I have often noted that my day to day symptomology feels very much like a hangover- that same toxic feeling. In fact, when people ask what I feel like, I just say "What does a hangover feel like?"

    The toxicity has to be the clue btw the condition itself, and the alcohol intolerance.
  18. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

    Great Plains, US
    Like Caledonia said, I thought alcohol intolerance was just another sign of an impaired detox system. I assumed it meant my liver was not dealing well with the added stress. Rich Van K's theory would seem to cover this territory.

    When I told my doctor I could no longer tolerate alcohol, she just nodded as if it made sense.

    Before ME/CFS, I could drink one glass of wine and that was it. My liver was never great at detoxifying things. I also was fairly chemically sensitive before ME/CFS. And after getting ME/CFS, I could drink a couple sips of something alcoholic and that was it.

    Now that I've been avoiding mold toxins for the last two years. I've become so hypersensitive to them that I haven't even tried drinking at all. I'm sure it would be really bad for me. After all, alcohol is a mycotoxin.

    I couldn't even stand to be inside a winery. Man it was moldy in there. I can't even go into a couple restaurants that have old wine barrels sitting around as decor. lol

    I still think that instead of giving our illness a bunch of acronyms, or even if it does get a new acronym as its name, the common name should be "Easy To Poison disease".
  19. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Sugar poll is a natural - good idea!
  20. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    That's interesting because I actually do quite a better with hard alcohol than with wine or beer.....

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