Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Alcohol-induced Malabsorption of Vitamin B12 in Man


INTOXICATION with alcohol is frequently associated with diarrhoea, and disturbances of intestinal function have been reported to be common in chronic alcoholics studied shortly after drinking-bouts1–5. Because the normal diet of alcoholics is characteristically poor, it is not clear whether the transient malabsorption frequently found can be attributed to a direct toxic effect of ethanol on the small intestine, or to a nutritional deficiency. We therefore studied the effects of the experimental ingestion of ethanol in man on vitamin B12 absorption under controlled metabolic ward conditions in the absence of nutritional deficiency.


  1. 1

    Roggin, G. M., Kater, R. M. H., Tobon, F., and Iber, F. L., Ann. Int. Med., 70, 1070 (1969).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Small, M., Longarini, A., and Zamcheck, N., Amer. J. Med., 27, 575 (1959).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Halstead, C. H., Griggs, R. C., and Harris, J. W., J. Lab. Clin. Med., 69, 116 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Tomasulo, P. A., Kater, R. M. H., and Iber, F. L., Amer. J. Clin. Nutr., 21, 1340 (1968).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Thomson, A., Baker, H., and Leevy, C. M., Amer. J. Clin. Nutr., 21, 537 (1968).

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Lieber, C. S., and Rubin, E., Amer. J. Med., 44, 200 (1968).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Lindenbaum, J., and Lieber, C. S., New Engl. J. Med., 281, 333 (1969).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Schilling, R. F., J. Lab. Clin. Med., 42, 869 (1953).

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Lau, K., Gottlieb, C., Wasserman, L. R., and Herbert, V., Blood, 26, 202 (1965).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Curzon, G., and Walsh, J., Clin. Chim. Acta, 7, 657 (1962).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Chang, T., Lewis, J., and Glazko, A. J., Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 135, 1000 (1967).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Israel, U., Salazar, I., and Rosenmann, E., J. Nutrit., 96, 499 (1968).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

LINDENBAUM, J., LIEBER, C. Alcohol-induced Malabsorption of Vitamin B12 in Man. Nature 224, 806 (1969).

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing