Why Gender And Race Are Factors In Determining Blood and Breath Alcohol Levels:
High Blood Alcohol Levels in Women: The Role of Decreased Gastric Alcohol Dehydrogenase Activity and First-Pass Metabolism, Frezza & Lieber,
Women almost always demonstrate higher blood and breath alcohol concentrations than men because of increased bioavailability, decreased first pass (gut-liver) metabolism), and higher percentage fat content v. men. This normally results in a 10-20% increase in breath testing, and about a 10% increase in blood alcohol level; the differential likely being due to physiological differences between airways and mouth alcohol contamination.
After consuming comparable amounts of ethanol, women have higher blood ethanol concentrations than men, and we conclude that the increased bioavailability of ethanol resulting from decreased gastric oxidation of ethanol may contribute to the enhanced vulnerability of women to acute and chronic complications of alcoholism. Source: 322 (2) New England Journal of Medicine 95 (1990) Abstract courtesy of www.pubmed.org – A service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
Milne, Canfield, Gallagher, Hunt, Klevay, Ethanol Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women Fed a Diet Marginal in Zinc, 46 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 688 (1987)
Article Summary: Zinc Deficiency = High Blood Alcohol Content
Five postmenopausal women aged 50-63 y were fed a diet of mixed Western foods that supplied an average of 2.6 mg zinc/d for 6 mo. Plasma zinc did not change significantly during Zn depletion but increased slightly when Zn was fed. Zn content of blood cellular components and activities of Zn-containing enzymes were not affected by Zn intake. Ethanol tolerance tests performed at the end of control, middle of depletion, end of depletion, and end of repletion showed a change in ethanol metabolism at the end of the low-Zn intake period that was corrected within 1 mo with Zn supplementation. Abstract courtesy of www.pubmed.org – A service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
Yoshida, et al., Molecular Genetics of Alcohol-Metabolizing Enzymes, 16 Biochemical Society Transactions 230 (1988)
Race = higher and lower metabolism of ethanol:
Article Summary: 50% of Japanese lack one of the two types of ALDHArticle Summary: 84% of the Asian subjects responded to measure al. with flush face ;Japanese, Taiwanese, and Koreans, after drinking amounts of alcohol that have no detectable effect on Caucasoids, respond with a marked facial flushing and mild to moderate symptoms of intoxication. Group differences are present at birth, and are probably related to variations in autonomic reactivity. Remarkable racial differences is isoenzyme components of the ethanol metabolizing enzymes, i.e. the class I alcohol dehydrogenase in conjunction with the differences in alcohol sensitivity between Caucasians and Orientals, have been the subject of interest of biochemical and genetic studies in recent years. Liver ADH activity of about 90% of Orientals is several fold higher than that of most Caucasians while approximately 50% of Orientals lack the activity of mitochondrial ALDH (ALDH2) in their livers and other issues.