alcohol metabolism

White wine swish, spit, and free fatty acids PDF Print E-mail

Appetite. 2010 May 11. [Epub ahead of print]
Short-term oral exposure to white wine transiently lowers serum free fatty acids.
Joosten MM, de Graaf C, Rietman A, Witkamp RF, Hendriks HF.
TNO (Acronym for Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) Quality of Life, Business Unit Biosciences, Zeist, The Netherlands; Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
In humans little is known as to whether oral sensory stimulation with alcohol elicits cephalic phase responses. This study sought to determine whether oral alcohol exposure, in the form of white wine, provokes cephalic phase responses in normal-weight and overweight women. In a semi-randomized, crossover trial, eleven normal-weight and eleven overweight women sham-fed, after an overnight fast under three separate conditions 4 weeks apart, cake (750kJ), 25cL white wine (750kJ; approximately 26g alcohol) and 25cL water. Blood was drawn prior to and for 30min after two 3-min episodes of modified sham-feeding (MSF). Blood samples were analyzed for free fatty acid (FFA), triglyceride, glucose, pancreatic polypeptide (PP), insulin and alcohol concentrations. Incremental area under the curves (IAUC) of FFA concentrations differed significantly between the three treatments but not between BMI categories. After MSF with wine, FFA concentrations dropped to a minimum of 77+/-3% of baseline concentrations at t=12+/-2min after baseline and returned to baseline after approximately 30min, whereas after MSF with cake and water, FFA concentrations gradually increased. In conclusion, short-term oral white wine exposure substantially and temporarily decreases FFA concentrations suggesting a cephalic phase response of alcohol. This effect occurred regardless of BMI. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
PMID: 20438782 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Alcohol Alcohol. 2010 Jun 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Alcohol awareness and metabolism: Asian flushing syndrome, obesity surgery, and “le nez rouge” PDF Print E-mail

After swallowing wine, approximately 20% is absorbed in the stomach and 80% is absorbed into the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) and the small intestine wall.

Further support of obesity surgery slowing ethanol metabolism PDF Print E-mail

Obes Surg. 2010 Apr 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Alcohol Absorption Modification After a Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy Due to Obesity.

Maluenda F, Csendes A, De Aretxabala X, Poniachik J, Salvo K, Delgado I, Rodriguez P.

Department of Surgery, German Clinic of Santiago, Santiago, Chile, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

BACKGROUND: The different bariatric surgery techniques that alter the digestive anatomy also modify the gastric absorption surface. Since alcohol is a substance that is mainly metabolized in the stomach, the goal of this study was to determine alcohol absorption before and after a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) in the same patients. METHODS: Studies were carried out on 12 morbidly obese patients who underwent a LSG (eight men and four women). Each patient was given 3.6 ml of red wine to drink at 14% for each liter of body water mass. Alcotest values (Alcoscan Alcomate AL-6000) were measured 10 min after the wine dose had been consumed. Measurements were then repeated every 5 min until the alcohol had been completely eliminated from the bloodstream. During the postoperatory period (median of 2.3 months), the measurement was repeated with the total dose per kg adjusted to the new water body mass. The results were measured with a nonparametric analysis for repeated samples. RESULTS: The maximum average peak of the Alcotest was 2.02 g/l during the postoperative period compared to 0.87 g/l during the preoperative period (p = 0.001 Wilcoxon). At 175 min, the blood alcohol level value reaches zero (0) in all pre-operatory patients, while after surgery, an average value of 0.26 g/l was observed (p = 0.027 Wilcoxon). After 4 h, an Alcotest average of 0.20 g/l was observed in these patients. CONCLUSION: Alcohol absorption was considerably modified after LSG with higher and longer blood alcohol values for equivalent amounts of alcohol.

PMID: 20358306 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


April is Alcohol Awareness Month PDF Print E-mail

To recognize the serious problem of alcohol abuse, the U.S. Health and Human Services has designated April as "Alcohol Awareness Month".  Go to: to read more.

Measuring metabolism: What's the buzz on the BACtrack Breathalyzer? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 February 2010 04:35

We contacted Keith Nothacker, founder of BACtrack, which is the company that produces and sells the BACtrack Breathalyzer products (A breathalyzer is classically used by law enforcement to test an individual’s blood alcohol concentration or content (BAC) from a deep lung expiration of air.). After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA degree in Economics, Keith moved to California in 2001 and started BACtrack. Initially, the business was a purchasing, importing, and reselling company. The major turning point in the company’s focus came one day with an “epiphany” Keith had. He juxtaposed selling breathalyzers to a church organization who wanted to test individuals’ BACs coming to the soup kitchen. The same day, the company got a call from the Howard Stern show asking for samples of the device. The “ahha” moment was the idea to design and sell breathalyzers for individual use - no one had done this before.

In 2004, BACtrack received FDA approval or 510(k) clearance to market breath alcohol testers directly to consumers for personal use. Breathalyzers require a deep lung air sample. In the semi-conductor model, other alcohols such as ketones from diabetics can confound the sample causing false readings.

The BACtrack Pro models use novel fuel cell technology that can specifically test ethanol levels within 0.005 at 0.1% blood alcohol content. BACtrack sells several products based on fuel cell and sensor technology

Keith sent the WineDoctors the BACtrack S-75 Pro model. Earlier this month, we took this breathalyzer on a California Central Coast wine tasting excursion and found it easy-to-use, behavior modifying, fun, and a conversation piece. Our first stop was Laetitia Winery in Arroyo Grande. It was about 230 pm and we both had had nothing to eat all day and had jogged and played tennis. We tasted 5 sparkling wines. By that, I mean that we swished and spit – the adage on swishing and spitting and not swallowing is that 20 swish and spits is equivalent to drinking one glass of wine (let’s assume 5 ounces of 12% wine containing 14.4 grams of alcohol but we know in California, that is as rare as not chaptalizing a wine made from French grapes!). Anyway, we waited 20 minutes after our last tasting and each blew into the Breathalyzer: BACs = .028 vs. 0.00 and we both felt a little buzz. Needless to say, our designated driver changed!

Let’s back-up and discuss alcohol metabolism since we are entering March, which is National Nutrition month. Alcohol is metabolized in the body mainly by the liver. The brain, pancreas, and stomach also metabolize alcohol. Ethanol is metabolized to acetaldehyde by alcohol dehydrogenase (more on that next month) and finally to acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase. Factors affecting blood alcohol concentration include: ethanol concentration; carbonation (I.e., champagne, soda increase BAC); food; gender, liver size; body weight; exercise and variations in enzymes, which metabolize ethanol.

Next stop was Tangent Winery in Edna Valley. Once there, 23 minutes later, the Breathalyzer clocked us at 0.00 and 0.00. So, we had a fresh start on our 5 still white wine tastings. Twenty minutes after that, our blood alcohol concentrations were 0.00 and 0.00. We chose to stick with the same designated driver.

Lastly, with the responsibility of driving and operating other heavy machinery gone until the next day, we drank a bottle of sparkling wine with dinner over a period of 1 hour. Our blood alcohol concentrations were as follows: 20 minutes after the following amounts of 12.5% alcohol: 2 ounce pour - 0.03 and; a 5 ounce pour - .075; 40 minutes later and after completion of the 750 ml bottle- .064 and .062; 30 minutes and no more alcohol later, .023 and .051; 45 minutes and 3 ounces of a 15% dessert wine later, .024 and .052.

We had to challenge what we knew physiologically would be a false reading and blew 1 minute after taking a sip of dessert wine – 0.142- no way- we all were lucid and having fun! Equilibration between blood alcohol content and breath alcohol content takes at least 20 minutes AFTER the last swallow of ethanol.

Wait! What kind of impairment does an individual have at given BACs? As of August 2005, all states have a 0.08% per se law, the legal definition of driving under the influence (DUI) impairment for persons 21 and older. This information is provided to each of us by our respective state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and is also stated on the BACtrack website:

0.02-0.03: no loss of coordination, slight euphoria, and loss of shyness; depressant effects are not apparent; mildly relaxed and maybe a little light-headed.

0.04-0.06: feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, sensation of warmth; euphoria; minor impairment of reasoning and memory; lowering of caution; behavior is exaggerated and emotions intensified.

0.07-0.09: slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing; euphoria; judgment and self-control are reduced; caution, reason, and memory are impaired.

0.142: gross motor impairment and lack of physical control; blurred vision; major loss of balance; euphoria is reduced and dysphoria is beginning is beginning to appear; judgment and perception are severely impaired.

>=0.40: coma and death

The BACtrack Breathalyzer products are useful to determine whether someone has been drinking and one’s judgment and safety to operate heavy machinery like a car. Additionally, it is fun and a conversation piece. Keith uses the following analogy: If the speed limit is 55 MPH and you are going faster, you know to slow down. With the BACtrack Breathalyzer products, you know where you stand.

Keith is a wine lover and a fan of Cakebread Cabernet and Arrowood Syrah. Keith relates, “I have tested my BAC possibly more times than anyone in the world.  This is what I do for a living, and I’m regularly testing new models and new features.  I can usually guess my BAC within +/- 0.005 of the actual result of one of our high-end BACtrack units.  I never drink and drive, but it’s always interesting to know what your BAC is.  It’s also a very social item – everyone wants to use the BACtrack if I bring one to a bar or party.”


Please note that both the WineDoctors and Keith Nothacker and BACtrack recommend that you drink responsibly. The WineDoctors do not have any disclosures to make about BACtrack Breathalyzer products.





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