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Wine (or any alcohol) Can Turn You Into a Werewolf

One groggy morning I was reading the Huffington Post when I came across a story about a guy, a doctor, who inexplicably grew blisters on his hands, had his toe and fingernails grow incredibly loose and fall off, and rubbed his skin clear off his heel simply by putting on a new shoe. If my four shots of espresso didn't wake up, that sure did! 

Apparently this guy had been drinking his fair share of vino and his liver started overproducing certain enzymes which lead to this crazy disease called porphyrias. There are many forms of this disease and this is where the werewolf folklore all makes sense. This guy not only lost nails and skin, but started growing extreme amounts of facial hair because of this rare disease (NIH says it is difficult to come up with an exact number but it's somewhere between 1 in 500 to 50,000 people worldwide). The sufferer can also score hallucinations, paranoid delusions, major photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight) that practically melts the skin (thinking Vampires too? Me too!), discolored eyes as well as teeth and, as an added bonus, many sufferers get purple or pink urine.

There are some drugs and some treatments, but the disease is not a friendly one and can be lethal. Overall I feel very bad for anyone who has this dehabilitating and truly un-aesthetically pleasing disease.


  • a said:

    The disease is porphyria; there is more than one kind and together they are porphyrias. Not everyone with porphyria has been drinking. There are many diseases that cause photosensitivity. Sufferers of these diseases are not playing werewolf or vampire.

    January 25, 2009 12:17 AM
  • Lisa Spinelli said:

    Yes! Very true, the disease is mostly genetic, I did forget to mention that, and there are tons of kinds, which I also forgot to mention. They are certainly not playing anything, but if there was ever a medical explanation for why people believed in werewolves or vampires, this could be one, IMO anyway. Thanks!

    January 25, 2009 9:57 AM

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