High Blood Alcohol?….or a Zinc Deficiency?

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on December 27th, 2004

So you only had two beers, but the breathlyzer read .11%. What happened? Well, for starters, breath machines are generally inaccurate and unreliable. Then again, maybe you had a dietary deficiency. Scientific research appears to indicate that a high blood-alcohol level may not reflect alcohol consumption, but rather a deficiency of zinc in the blood.

In a study conducted at the University of North Dakota, researchers discovered that the metabolism of alcohol was dramatically affected by zinc intake. 46 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 688. For example, they found that for those subjects on a low zinc diet, blood-alcohol levels increased rapidly within 15 minutes of consumption of measured amounts of alcohol: roughly twice as much alcohol was present in their blood as was present in those subjects on normal zinc diets. Further, greater amounts of alcohol remained in the blood for longer periods of time when there was a zinc deficiency.

Interestingly, it has been discovered that individuals who regularly consume large amounts of alcohol develop zinc deficiencies. This deficiency will, of course, cause the higher alcohol concentration and slower elimination. In other words, it is the problem drinker who is most likely to have abnormal absorption and elimination of alcohol — and abnormal blood-alcohol test results.

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