Alcoholism pp 237-251 | Cite as

Chronic Alcoholism, Malnutrition, and Folate Deficiency

  • Charles H. Halsted
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 206)


The association between chronic alcoholism and malnutrition, long a matter of controversy, depends upon the population under study. Thus, surveys of alcoholic patients admitted to US Veterans Administration hospitals indicated a high prevalence of protein-calorie malnutrition, associated with consumption of protein-deficient diets and/or with alcoholic liver disease (Patek et al, 1975; Mendenhall et al., 1984; Mezey et al., 1988). On the other hand, studies of economically self-sufficient chronic alcoholics suggested a low incidence of malnutrition (Neville et al., 1968; Hurt et al., 1979; Morgan and Levine, 1988), often associated with deficiency of a single nutrient (Camilo et al., 1981). Studies of derelict alcoholics admitted to municipal hospitals in the USA demonstrated a high prevalence of vitamin deficiencies, in particular those of folate, thiamin, and pyridoxine (Leevy et al., 1970), and hepatic levels of these vitamins appeared to decrease in proportion to severity of alcoholic liver disease (Baker et al., 1964). More recent studies indicate that vitamin A deficiency is predictable in alcoholic liver disease, as reflected by serum and hepatic levels that decrease according to severity of the histopathology (Leo and Lieber, 1982).


Alcoholic Liver Disease Folate Deficiency Alcoholic Hepatitis Alcoholic Patient Chronic Alcoholism 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles H. Halsted
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Clinical Nutrition Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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