Alcohol is metabolized sequentially by two enzymes: first alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) converts alcohol into acetaldehyde and then ALDH2 oxidizes the acetaldehyde to harmless acetic acid.
Alcohol consumption leads to the accumulation of acetaldehyde in the body. In some individuals with impaired metabolism, this can cause near term effects such as facial flushing, increased heart rate, and more pronounced intoxication. Short term effects aside, it is important to also note that acetaldehyde is a highly toxic chemical that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified as a group I carcinogen. Acetaldehyde induces genetic mutations and inactivates cellular proteins. As a result of its undesirable characteristics, researchers work with acetaldehyde under controlled environmental conditions. Aldea’s ALDH2 activators have been shown to enhance the metabolism of acetaldehyde in animals and may have the potential to limit its harmful short and long-term effect in humans.