Gender differences in moderate drinking effects

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA.
Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Impact Factor: 0.58). 02/1999; 23(1):55-64.
Source: PubMed


Women appear to become more impaired than men after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol, achieving higher blood alcohol concentrations even when doses are adjusted for body weight. This finding may be attributable in part to gender differences in total body water content. Men and women appear to eliminate approximately the same total amount of alcohol per unit body weight per hour. However, women seem to eliminate significantly more alcohol per unit of lean body mass per hour than men. Some studies report that women are more susceptible than men to alcohol-related impairment of cognitive performance, especially in tasks involving delayed memory or divided attention functions. Psychomotor performance impairment, however, does not appear to be affected by gender. This article provides an overview of alcohol metabolism (pharmacokinetics) and reviews recent studies on gender differences in alcohol absorption, distribution, elimination, and impairment. Speculation that gender differences in alcohol pharmacokinetics or alcohol-induced performance impairment may be caused by the menstrual cycle and variations in female sex hormones are discussed. It is concluded that the menstrual cycle is unlikely to influence alcohol pharmacokinetics.

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Available from: Martin S Mumenthaler,
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    • "rene , acetone and trichloroethylene ) ( Nadeau et al . , 2006 ; Tardif et al . , 2007a ; Truchon et al . , 2009 ) . Additionally , a difference between women and men for the ratio BLE ( 50 W ) / BLE ( rest ) was observed . A possible explanation for this gender difference could be that women have a metabolism of ethanol lower than men . However , Mumenthaler et al . ( 1999 ) have found in their literature review that women eliminate more ethanol per volume of blood per hour than men , thus rendering this hypothesis improbable . We did not find any conclusive information in the literature to explain the difference observed between genders . Finally , the results obtained clearly show that exercise or an in"
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    • "Studies have also found that alcohol can lead to greater cognitive impairment in women than in men. Compared to men, women have been found to be more cognitively impaired by alcohol in tasks that require divided attention, short term memory and delayed recall (Mumenthaler et al., 1999). Due to gender differences in pharmacokinetics (the physiological processing and elimination of alcohol), women are thought to be more at risk for blackouts (Rose and Grant, 2010). "
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    • "For example, the male:female ratio for current drinkers (non-abstainers) ranged from 1.00 in New Zealand and Norway to 12.33 in India, and the male:female ratio for high volume drinking (more than 8468 grams of ethanol per year) among drinkers ranged from 1.34 in Nigeria to 20.17 in Hungary. The fact that men in all countries drank more than women suggests that there is a biological component to this gender difference, most likely related to physiological sex differences in body weight, body composition, and alcohol metabolism;28,29 these biological sex differences probably also contribute to women’s greater vulnerability to both acute alcohol effects30 and longer-term medical effects, eg, alcohol-related liver disease.31 However, the large variation in the magnitude of the gender difference across countries suggests that cultural influences (eg, gender roles that define how men and women are expected or allowed to drink) are also important, interacting with and modifying biologically based sex differences in alcohol consumption.32 "
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