Durian & Alcohol – Know the Real Deal!

Durian & Alcohol: Know the Real Deal

Most Asians love to eat fruits when they drink beer. Many of us do not see anything wrong with this. After all, fruits are healthy, right?

Well, there is Asian folklore that claims that durian and alcohol is a deadly mix. Old people claim that it is true, but for millennials, this is just a myth that we should stop believing in. So the big question remains, is this a myth or a truth?

Before we answer that, let us take a look at a few facts first.

How Body Normally Processes Alcohol

When you consume alcoholic beverages, the ethanol in the drink enters the liver. Upon entering the liver, an enzyme called Alcohol Dehydrogenase is released. This enzyme is said to boost the toxicity of alcohol by converting it to Acetaldehyde.

Luckily though, an enzyme called Aldehyde Dehydrogenase is also released. This enzyme can convert Acetaldehyde to less harmful substances like carbon dioxide and fatty acids.

This is the normal metabolic process that the body undergoes when alcohol enters the system.

What Happens When You Eat Durian While Drinking Alcohol

But what happens when you add durian to the mix? Well, studies show that things may take place differently. How differently? Well, continue reading to find out.

When alcohol enters the body, it goes to the liver where the release of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase is stimulated. The release of this enzyme promotes the conversion of alcohol to acetaldehyde, which is considered to be a toxic substance.

At this point, you will expect the enzyme Aldehyde Dehydrogenase to be released too, right? Well, when durian is in the mix, it will still be released, but its metabolic activity is reduced by 70%. As a result, the toxic substance called Aldehyde is free to travel into your bloodstream and can be delivered to different parts of your body. This phenomenon may lead to heightened symptoms of being drunk—severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

Why is this so? Well, that’s because durian contains high amounts of the sulfur-based compound called diethyl sulfide, a substance that can inhibit the effect of the enzyme Aldehyde dehydrogenase by 70%. As a result, it impairs and lengthens the breakdown of alcohol in the body.

Durian & Alcohol: Is it a Deadly Combination?

The myth which tells that durian and alcohol is a deadly combination may have some truth in it. According to folklore, the consumption of these two may lead to sudden death. In fact, most people would claim that you would just drop dead when you consume this combination.

Well, that is not precisely true. You wouldn’t die right away (as they claim) but based on the facts stated above, the sulfur content of durian may affect alcohol breakdown. The delay in alcohol breakdown may lead to more pronounced symptoms of alcohol intoxication such as headache, vomiting, heart palpitations, nausea, facial flushing, and low blood pressure.

While there are no experiments that can prove that the combination of durian and alcohol is fatal, scientific studies show that this combination will deliver unwanted side effects to the body. And depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, this phenomenon can be fatal.

Our Recommendation

For your sake and to prevent these unwanted side effects from taking place, it would be best if you would not eat durian while you are drinking alcohol.  

It is true that there have been documented cases wherein a few people died shortly after eating durian and drinking beer. But based on further research, these people had pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart problems, and hypertension. If you also have these pre-existing conditions and medical issues similar to the ones mentioned above, you should never eat durian with alcohol.

It is recommended that you keep these facts in mind the next time you drink alcohol, and you are tempted to have a bite of durian.

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