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Year : 1994  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 240-248

Modulatory effects of alcohol ingestion on the toxicology of heavy metals

Correspondence Address:
SJS Flora

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Heavy metal exposure is one of the primary concern in most of industrial developing countries. Metabolism and toxicity of heavy metals may be influenced by alcoholism. Experimental evidences suggest that ethanol could enhance the absorption of metals in the body and alcoholics may be more susceptible to metal intoxication. There are number of clinical evidences which suggest alcoholism as one of the possible factors responsible for determining individual susceptiblity to metal poisoning. Ethanol could stimulate the absorption of metals from the intestinal mucosa thereby increasing its accumulation in the major organs particularly liver and kidneys. There has been a certain amount of interest in the possible role of ethanol in modulating metal intoxication. While, number of recent investigations clearly suggest the modulatory role of ethanol on lead toxicity. There are conflicting reports available on the effects of ethanol ingestion on the toxicity of various other metals particularly cadmium and mercury. Further, the available literature also do not provide an exact mechanism of ethanol action in affecting metal toxicity. Few recent studies points to nutritional deficiencies caused by ethanol ingestion to be responsible for increased metal intake. This article summarises the available literature on ethanol - metal interaction and also points out scope for future research which may elucidate the exact mechanism of such interaction.


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