Alcohol-Induced Malabsorption in the Gastrointestinal Tract
This chapter reviews the various mechanisms involved in the transport of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood stream and by discussing the effects of ethanol on these processes and highlights common features. It illustrates general principles which may be applied to the effects of ethanol on absorption. The chapter discusses the highly important evolutionary relationship between the interplay of ethanol and malnutrition with reference to malabsorption in the gastrointestinal tract. The principal role of the gastrointestinal tract is to deliver water, salts, and nutrients from the intestinal lumen to the bloodstream, and lymph and tissue fluids at a rate sufficient to maintain requirements for growth and reparative purposes. The majority of nutrients are absorbed in the upper small intestine when they are exposed to the absorbing surface. The synthesis rates of intestinal contractile proteins are reduced by acute ethanoi dosage which may be responsible for, or reflect, alcohol-induced defects in intestinal motility.