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Alcohol Alcohol. 2008 Jan-Feb;43(1):9-14. Epub 2007 Nov 14.

Is nutrient intake a gender-specific cause for enhanced susceptibility to alcohol-induced liver disease in women?

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Hohenheim University, Department of Physiology of Nutrition and Gender Research, Stuttgart, Germany.



Women have a higher susceptibility to alcohol-induced liver disease (ALD) than men. Gender-related differences in food preference were described in previous studies for several populations, but not in alcohol abusers. As certain micronutrients are reported to take influence on the development of ALD in animal experiments, the hypothesis of the present retrospective cross-sectional study was that gender-dependent (micro-) nutrient intake in patients with ALD may cause the higher susceptibility of women to this disease.


In 210 patients (male: 158, female: 52) with different stages of ALD (ALD1: mild stage of liver damage; ALD2: moderately severe changes of the liver with signs of hepatic inflammation; ALD3: severely impaired liver function) and in 336 controls (male: 208, female: 128), nutrient intake was determined by a computer-guided diet history, and related to the severity of ALD in dependence on the sex of the patients.


No significant differences between males and females with ALD were calculated for the intake (per kg body weight/day) of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and the intake (per kg body weight/day) of most micronutrients. In females with ALD, higher intake was found for vitamin C (ALD3), calcium (ALD2), iron (ALD1 and ALD2), and zinc (ALD1), but the consumption of none of these micronutrients seems to contribute to a higher susceptibility to ALD in females.


Though the present study confirms the higher susceptibility to ALD in women, the data of calculated daily macro- and micronutrient intake do not suggest any explicit influence of gender-specific nutrition in the development of ALD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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