Gastric and Duodenal Ethanol Concentrations after Intake of Alcoholic Beverages in Postprandial Conditions

Mol Pharm. 2017 Dec 4;14(12):4202-4208. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00252. Epub 2017 Aug 11.


This study determined intraluminal ethanol concentrations (stomach and duodenum) in fed healthy volunteers after the consumption of common alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and whisky). The results of this study were compared with a previous study in fasted volunteers. Five healthy volunteers were recruited in a crossover study. The fed state was simulated by ingestion of 250 mL of Nutridrink Compact Neutral. Volunteers subsequently consumed two standard units of beer (Stella Artois, 500 mL, 5.2% ethanol), wine (Blanc du Blanc, 200 mL, 11% ethanol), or whisky (Gallantry Whisky, 80 mL, 40% ethanol). Gastric and duodenal fluids were aspirated through two catheters over time and analyzed for ethanol content by head space gas chromatography. The capability of ethanol to permeate gastric and duodenal rat mucosa was examined in an Ussing chambers setup. A similar average gastric Cmax was observed in the beer and the wine conditions: 3.3% and 3.7% ethanol, respectively. The gastric Cmax in the whisky condition amounted to 8.5% ethanol. Lower ethanol concentrations were observed in the duodenum compared to the stomach. The duodenal Cmax was similar in all three conditions: 1.3%, 1.2%, and 1.6% ethanol for beer, wine, and whisky, respectively. Compared to the fasted state (reported in a previous study), higher gastric ethanol concentrations were observed during a longer time period. In the beer and wine conditions, similar concentrations were observed in the intestine regardless of the prandial state. After intake of whisky, however, the ethanol concentration was lower in the fed intestine. Alcohol was observed to permeate both gastric and duodenal rat mucosa. Higher intragastric ethanol concentrations were maintained for a longer period of time in fed compared to fasted state conditions. However, the observed concentration profiles were not in line with current FDA guidelines for alcohol resistance testing of formulations, stating that in vitro tests should investigate the impact of up to 40% ethanol for 2 h. The presented intraluminal ethanol concentrations may serve as reference data for the further development of relevant in vitro models to assess ethanol effects on formulation performance.

Keywords: alcohol; alcoholic beverages; clinical study; intestine; intraluminal ethanol concentrations; stomach.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption, Physiological / drug effects
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Body Fluids / chemistry*
  • Body Fluids / physiology
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Drug Liberation / drug effects
  • Duodenum / drug effects
  • Duodenum / physiology*
  • Ethanol / adverse effects
  • Ethanol / analysis*
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Fasting / physiology
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques / methods
  • In Vitro Techniques / standards
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Male
  • Permeability / drug effects
  • Postprandial Period / physiology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Rats
  • Stomach / drug effects
  • Stomach / physiology*


  • Ethanol