Biomarkers of moderate alcohol intake and alcoholic beverages: a systematic literature review

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The predominant source of alcohol in the diet is alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, spirits and liquors, sweet wine, and ciders. Self-reported alcohol intakes are likely to be influenced by measurement error, thus affecting the accuracy and precision of currently established epidemiological associations between alcohol itself, alcoholic beverage consumption, and health or disease. Therefore, a more objective assessment of alcohol intake would be very valuable, which may be established through biomarkers of food intake (BFIs). Several direct and indirect alcohol intake biomarkers have been proposed in forensic and clinical contexts to assess recent or longer-term intakes. Protocols for performing systematic reviews in this field, as well as for assessing the validity of candidate BFIs, have been developed within the Food Biomarker Alliance (FoodBAll) project. The aim of this systematic review is to list and validate biomarkers of ethanol intake per se excluding markers of abuse, but including biomarkers related to common categories of alcoholic beverages. Validation of the proposed candidate biomarker(s) for alcohol itself and for each alcoholic beverage was done according to the published guideline for biomarker reviews. In conclusion, common biomarkers of alcohol intake, e.g., as ethyl glucuronide, ethyl sulfate, fatty acid ethyl esters, and phosphatidyl ethanol, show considerable inter-individual response, especially at low to moderate intakes, and need further development and improved validation, while BFIs for beer and wine are highly promising and may help in more accurate intake assessments for these specific beverages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalGenes & Nutrition
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s).

A correction to this publication has been published at:

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Biomarkers of food intake, Alcohol, Ethanol, Alcoholic beverages

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