Durian plus Alcohol equals DEATH? Myth or truth?

By Lim Kelvin

If you grew up in Penang, or in Malaysia like me, you'd probably have heard the saying that forbids durian to be taken with alcoholic drinks. Some say you'll die straight away if you take "X.O" (a strong liquor) with durians. But is it true?

Usually these sayings don't carry much weight, like taking watermelon immediately after taking milk will cause poisoning . Heck, Nestle even came up with it's own Watermelon Milk Shake recipe! (Don't believe me? Well here's the link).

However, things are a little bit different when it comes to durian. It turns out that there IS some truth to the popular belief. In the early 2000's, a scientist named John S. Maninang and colleagues carried out an experiment on this reaction in Japan. Their full paper can be viewed here. Another similar experiment was carried out on rats, and you can read it here.

Both these studies have similar conclusions: The sulphur rich components found in durian can cause a "disulfiram like reaction". This means, that you will feel terrible if you take these 2 together. The diagrams below may make things easier to understand.

Basically, Durian causes the enzyme ALHD2 to stop functioning, and our body is suddenly filled with acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde will cause headaches, vomiting, and low blood pressure. Nasty stuff.

So, with scientific validation, I would hereby declare that taking durians with alcohol is NOT a good idea. As to will somebody DIE after taking super high doses of both durians and alcohol? Well we do not have documented proof of that, but in theory, it IS possible. In any case, we wouldn't want to be the ones to find out!