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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1986 Aug;10(4):419-24.

Study of dose-dependence and urinary folate excretion produced by ethanol in humans and rats.


Acute ethanol ingestion by human alcoholic subjects produces a marked decrease in serum folate levels within 16 hr. A similar decrease occurs in rats and can be explained by a marked increase in urinary folate excretion following ethanol treatment. To assess the effects of acute ethanol ingestion on urinary folate excretion in healthy human volunteers, two studies were carried out at initial ethanol dose levels of 0.8 g/kg and 1.0 g/kg, respectively. Blood ethanol levels peaked at 70 mg/dl in the first study, but in the second study were 100 +/- 20 mg/dl through 6 hr. Only in the second study were urinary folate levels significantly increased by ethanol administration, and this 8 hr after ingestion. This increase was accompanied by a decrease in urine volume so that in neither study was the total amount of urinary folate excreted from 0-12 hr increased by ethanol ingestion. Studies with various dose levels of ethanol in rats showed that there was a linear dose-response relationship between the total urinary folate excretion and the dose of ethanol. Peak urinary ethanol levels also correlated with urinary folate excretion. These results suggest that doses of ethanol larger than 1.0 g/kg produce increases in urinary folate excretion and that the inability to observe large increases in studies in human subjects is probably related to the limited doses of ethanol chosen.

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