What is acetaldehyde?

Acetaldehyde is widely believed to the primary contributing factor to hangovers from alcohol consumption.

Acetaldehyde is a colorless liquid that acts like a narcotic when it’s ingested and can depress the respiratory system if it’s ingested in large amounts. Its smell is described as both fruity and suffocating, and it has a tart taste that can be experienced when a person bites into an unripe fruit. It irritates the mucous membranes and is believed to be a carcinogen and a cause of cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. It’s flammable and is found in everything from coffee to bread to diesel and gasoline exhaust.

The chemical formula of acetaldehyde is either C2H4O or CH3CHO.

Its boiling point is 20.8 degrees Celsius, or 69.44 degrees Fahrenheit, and its melting point is -123.4 degrees C, or — 190 degrees F.

It can be mixed with water, alcohol and solvents such as benzene.

Research shows that there are compounds that can help prevent the worst effects of acetaldehyde. They can be found in organic foods, like, eggs or bananas or over-the-counter hangover remedies.

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