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J Gastroenterol. 2013 Dec;48(12):1311-23. doi: 10.1007/s00535-013-0752-y. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Potent inhibitory effect of alcoholic beverages upon gastrointestinal passage of food and gallbladder emptying.

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Department of Basic Biomedical Science, School of Pharmacy, Medical University of Silesia, Kasztanowa Street 3, 41-205, Sosnowiec, Poland,



Current knowledge about the effect of alcoholic beverages on postprandial functioning of the digestive system is scarce and inconsistent. This study addresses their influence upon meal movement along the gut and meal-induced gallbladder emptying.


Three examination blocks involved each 12 healthy volunteers. Ingestion of a solid 1485 kJ meal was followed by intake of 400 ml beer (4.7%vol), 200 ml red wine (13.7%vol) or 100 ml whisky (43.5%vol) or matching volumes of control fluids. Gastric myoelectrical activity and emptying, orocecal transit and gallbladder emptying was monitored noninvasively.


Alcoholic beverages (beer, red wine, whisky) caused a significant slowdown of the gastric evacuation of the solid meal, the delay being the more potent, the greater was the concentration of ethanol. This inhibitory effect was not caused by interference with the gastric myoelectric activity. Alcoholic beverages produced only by fermentation (beer, red wine), at odds with the effect of their counterpartying aqueous ethanol solutions, did not elongate the orocecal transit of the solid food. Products of distillation-whisky and high proof ethanol solution--elicited a profound delay of the orocecal transit. Alcoholic beverages exerted an inhibitory effect upon the meal-stimulated gallbladder emptying, the magnitude of which increased in the order: beer → red wine → whisky.


Alcoholic beverages exert an inhibitory effect upon the gastric emptying of a solid food and the meal-induced gallbladder emptying, whereas the effect upon the orocecal transit depends on the type of a beverage-whisky elicits a delay but beer or red wine are devoid of this effect.

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