What Your Eye Color Says About Your Alcohol and Pain Tolerance

Submitted by alexasaul on Mon, 02/04/2019 - 14:39

Recent studies have shown that your eye color might say more about you than you think. The genes coding for eye color have found to be closely related to pain tolerance. Similar to the way in which the brain processes pain, alcohol in the brain works through a similar mechanism.

The more melanin an individual has, the darker their skin or eye color will be. For instance, those of us with brown eyes have more melanin present in our eyes than those of us with blue or green eyes. According to recent genetic findings, a gene called NCX-4 is more closely related to darker eyes than lighter eyes and is also responsible for controlling the production of proteins that detect pain signals and help in pain processing. This means that individuals with darker brown eyes have more melanin and tend to be more sensitive to pain due to the correlation found in the gene.

Interestingly, melanin is not only found in our eyes and skin, but also in our brain. In fact, it has also been found to enhance the processing of alcohol in the brain. When consumed, alcohol gets absorbed through the stomach lining and travels up to the brain, where it impacts the forebrain and midbrain, which impacts motor coordination, decision making, and emotions. For brown eyed individuals, higher amounts of melanin leads alcohol to travel faster throughout the brain areas. This means that brown-eyed individuals tend to feel the effects of alcohol faster. On the other hand, blue-eyed individuals are prone to drink more alcohol due to less melanin in the brain since they do not feel the effects of alcohol as fast as brown eyed individuals.

Despite the findings that link eye color melanin levels with alcohol tolerance and pain, much more research is needed to truly understand how melanin impacts the brain as well as how pain and alcohol tolerance come into play.