To determine the mechanism, whereby food lowers blood alcohol concentrations, gastric emptying and blood alcohol profiles were measured in six healthy male volunteers after they had drunk a 200 ml solution of vodka and orange juice containing 0.5 g/kg alcohol. Subjects were studied on two separate occasions during infusion of isosmotic solutions of either Intralipid or saline into the ileum via an intestinal tube. Gastric emptying was significantly delayed by ileal infusion of fat emulsion and the peak blood alcohol concentration was significantly depressed. Similar effects were observed in three subjects when the solutions were infused into the duodenum. These results suggest that the reduction in alcohol absorption by food does not depend on the physical relationship between the alcohol and the food or between the food and the absorbing epithelium, but is probably caused by a delay in the delivery of alcohol to the small intestine, from where it is rapidly absorbed.
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