Alcohol metabolism

Clin Liver Dis. 2012 Nov;16(4):667-85. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2012.08.002.


This article describes the pathways and factors that modulate blood alcohol levels and metabolism and describes how the body disposes of alcohol. The various factors that play a role in the distribution of alcohol in the body, influence the absorption of alcohol, and contribute to first-pass metabolism of alcohol are described. Most alcohol is oxidized in the liver, and general principles and overall mechanisms for alcohol oxidation are summarized. The kinetics of alcohol elimination in-vivo and the various genetic and environmental factors that can modify the rate of alcohol metabolism are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Acetaldehyde / metabolism
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / classification
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Alcoholism / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / metabolism
  • Electron Transport
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • NAD / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Tissue Distribution


  • NAD
  • Ethanol
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • Acetaldehyde