The alcohol gene

Jack Davis (
Mon, 27 Mar 1995 23:52:41 GMT

I suspect one of us should just go to the library and look up the answer,

as one poster mentioned, there are enzymes in the liver which degrade
alcohol. In fact, some people who don't drink can actually get drunk via
fermentations in their guts because they lack at least one enzyme.

And it is easy to say that alcoholism among the Native Americans is social
because we often see the abuse. But being in a historically degraded
position and being alcohol abusers doesn't establishment cause and effect.

I grew up on the US-Mexico border (and have a brother married to a first-
generation Mexican-American of predominantly Indian blood) and have
travelled into indigenous communities where both mestizos and Indians
debauch themselves, the Indians often in conjunction with religious
festivals such as Easter. On the other hand, I have been to Indian
celebrations in Chiapas in which alcohol was not in evidence.

I also have spent a lot of time in Spain (I have a Spanish girlfriend and
also like Spain as a place to hang out) and can vouch for the fact that most
Spaniards I know can drink enormous quantities of alcohol without appearing
particularly drunk. And seldom are drunk Spaniards mean or rude. I
once was in a cafe and saw a Spanish policeman with a small automatic rifle
strapped to his chest, drinking a coffee and a brandy at 8 AM. These are
mostly middle-class people, although Spain in general is a depressing place
from an employment standpoint; it is very hard for young people to find
decent employment and once a person is unemployed, it can be very hard to
get work again. In Spain, the drinking age used to be 16 (maybe higher now)
and only in the last couple of years have drunkenness appeared among
teenagers though it's still not much to report on.

Do Spaniards have a greater detoxification ability for alcohol than do
Native Americans?