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ADH1B is a gene that encodes the alcohol dehydrogenase 1B enzyme, which plays a significant role in the metabolism of alcohol (ethanol) in the body. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down ethanol into acetaldehyde, which is crucial for the body’s ability to process and eliminate alcohol.

Genetic variations in the ADH1B gene can influence an individual’s alcohol metabolism rate. Certain variants of this gene are associated with different enzyme activities, which can impact how efficiently alcohol is metabolized. 

For instance, A allele of rs2165670 (Science Grade of A-) 1 and allele C of rs2066702 ( ADH1B*3) (Science Grade of A+) 2 3 are associated with an increased likelihood of alcohol consumption.

ADH1B*2 allele

Science Grade
Immune Health
rsID Number Major Allele Minor Allele Major Amino Acid Minor Amino Acid
rs1229984 c t Arg His

Risk Description

Similarly, ADH1B*2 allele, also known as the rs1229984 (T) allele, is linked to an increased ability to metabolize alcohol more rapidly. We rate the reliability of the research behind this marker with a Science Grade of A+. 4 5

Individuals with a higher rate of alcohol metabolism tend to experience unpleasant effects such as facial flushing, nausea, and rapid heart rate when consuming alcohol due to the rapid buildup of acetaldehyde. This can act as a deterrent for excessive alcohol consumption.

Carriers of the ADH1B*2 allele often consume less alcohol and have a reduced risk of alcohol dependence.

The SNP is most prevalent in East Asian populations. In European and African populations, studies have shown that the presence of the T allele reduces the risk for alcoholism and alcohol dependence throughout life. To quote a meta analysis from the Nature Journal, Molecular Psychiatry:

We also tested the effects of this allele on the development of alcoholism in adolescents and young adults, and demonstrated a significantly protective effect. This variant has the strongest effect on risk for alcohol dependence compared with any other tested variant in European populations.


Nutritional Contraindications:*

Ingredient Active Ingredient Effect
Alcohol ethanol

While alcohol isn’t healthy for any of us, and will increase disease risk at high enough doses for all genotypes, carriers of the T allele for rs1229984 are well advised to avoid alcoholic beverages altogether based on poor short term metabolism. Conversely, cancer risk when drinking tends to be higher for carriers of the C allele (despite better short term alcohol metabolism). 

Discuss this information with your doctor before taking any course of action.


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