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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Seo, Jung
item Yang, Kyung
item Kim, Jung
item Min, Hyesun
item Kim, Chang
item Burri, Betty

Submitted to: Nutrition Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2004
Publication Date: 9/29/2004
Citation: Seo, J.S., Yang, K.M., Kim, J.M., Min, H., Kim, C.S., Burri, B.J. Effect of chronic alcohol consumption on plasma lipid and lipid soluble antioxidant vitamins in korean alcoholics. Nutrition Research 24:959-968, 2004.

Interpretive Summary: We compared lipids, cholesterol, antioxidants, and vitamin A status in alcoholic men and non-alcoholic men living in Korea. Most studies of the nutrition of alcoholics have been conducted in the United States, where people eat 'Western diets' that are relatively high in fat and cholesterol. The effects of alcoholism on nutrient status are probably changed by the overall diet of the alcoholic. Furthermore, alcoholics from different cultures get drunk on different alcoholic beverages. Koreans eat less vitamin A, fat and cholesterol than is found in typical 'Western' diets, and Korean alcoholics get drunk on 'Soju', which is a strong drink similar to gin. To understand the real effects of alcoholism on nutrition, we need to study non-Western, as well as 'Western' diets and alcoholic drinks. We found that 'good' HDL-cholesterol was lower in alcoholics, and the risk of heart attach higher. Vitamin A was also lower in alcoholics. Our data shows that chronic alcoholism contributes to increased risk for heart attacks and for low vitamin A in Koreans.

Technical Abstract: We conducted a human study to determine plasma concentrations of lipids, triglycerides, cholesterol, retinol, a-tocopherol, and superoxide dismutase activity in 44 alcoholic and 45 non-alcoholic Korean subjects (men aged 30 to 50 years). Plasma triglycerides were higher in alcoholics than in control subjects. Plasma total cholesterol was not different between groups, but plasma HDL-cholesterol was lower in alcoholics. The atherogenic index of alcoholics was elevated compared to the controls. There were positive correlations between ethanol consumption and plasma lipid peroxide (r= 0.72, p<0.01) and atherogenic index (r= 0.47, p<0.01) in all subjects; and negative correlations between ethanol consumption and plasma HDL-cholesterol (r= -0.29, p<0.05) in all subjects. There were no significant differences between alcoholics and control subjects in plasma concentrations of a-tocopherol. However, plasma retinol was lower in alcoholics. These data show that chronic ethanol consumption may contribute to increased risk for vascular diseases and vitamin A deficiency in alcoholics.

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