Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance produced in the body from alcohol and is one of the impurities found in cheap wine and ‘moonshine’ spirits. Its effects are often felt as a ‘hangover’. Acetaldehyde is also found in cigarette smoke, and is produced by the yeast Candida albicans, which may account for much of the malaise experienced by those with a heavy overgrowth of this yeast in their intestines, since the acetaldehyde will be absorbed from their intestines into the bloodstream, to be circulated throughout the body.
Alcohols and aldehydes are formed as intermediary metabolites during the body’s normal processes of detoxification. If the liver’s detoxification pathways are impaired, aldehydes can, instead of being converted to the next intermediate product, build up to harmful levels and cause much damage since they are often more toxic than the original substances from which they are derived.
Acetaldehyde is said to destroy vitamins B1, B6 and C. Supplements of these nutrients, together with the amino acid cysteine, may help the liver to detoxify acetaldehyde.
Information compiled by Linda Lazarides
Naturopathic Nutritionist, Author, Educator