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May 9, 1959


Author Affiliations

Syracuse, N. Y.

From the Department of Biochemistry, State University of New York, College of Medicine at Syracuse.

JAMA. 1959;170(2):197-203. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.63010020007016

Not only has alcohol been a controversial subject philosophically but also the scientific literature has been full of conflicting conclusions. Our knowledge of the absorption, distribution, and excretion of alcohol is well founded and generally accepted. The pathway of alcohol metabolism has been assumed on the basis of indirect evidence without much argument, but at the present time the exact pathway by which alcohol is metabolized is still uncertain. The utilization of alcohol as a food and the complications of its excessive use are only partially understood. We do not know what the phenomena of intoxication and tolerance can be attributed to, but we do know some of the things to which they cannot be attributed.

In this review of the subject, the extensive literature cannot be cited in detail, but appropriate reviews are given in the bibliography.1

Metabolism of Alcohol  Alcohol is neither selectively excreted, stored, or converted