This work was aimed at finding the effects of alcohol on some biochemical parameters. A total of one hundred and eighty (180) apparently healthy, non-hypertensive male alcoholics were used for the study. Forty (40) non-consumers of alcohol were used as control. The activity of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in the control was 10.50±2.00 IU/L while it was 16.50±1.50 IU/L; 17.50±2.00 IU/L and 18.31±2.00 IU/L in alcoholics who showed preference for palmwine, beer and distilled spirit respectively. Also, the activity of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in the control was 9.51±0.35 IU/L while it was 18.44±0.40 IU/L, 19.21±0.19 IU/L, 20.32±0.64 IU/L i n alcoholics who showed preference for palmwine, beer and distilled spirit respectively. The ALT and AST activities of alcoholic subjects who showed preference for distilled spirit was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than those who showed preference for palmwine and beer. The activities of alcoholics who showed preference for palmwine was the lowest. Furthermore, the serum total bilirubin concentration of the alcoholics was significantly higher (p < 0.05) compared with the control. The serum total bilirubin concentrations were 18.65±2.10
Generally, alcohol designates a class of compounds that are hydroxyl derivatives of aliphatic hydrocarbons. However, in this study, the term alcohol used without additional qualifications refers specifically to ethanol. A variety of alcoholic beverages have been consumed by man in the continuing search for euphoria producing stimuli. Among some people, alcohol enjoys a high status as a social lubricant that relieves tension, gives self confidence to the inadequate, blurs the appreciation of uncomfortable realities and serves as an escape from environmental and emotional stress.
Alcohol has been loved and hated at different times by different people. Alcohol has been celebrated as healthful especially to the heart (red wine) and most pleasant to the taste buds; and then dismissed as “demon’s rum” and “devil in solution” depen ding on the prevalent view.
In spite of the apparent divergent and sometimes conflicting opinions about alcohol, the consensus shared by drinkers and non drinkers alike is that excessive and chronic consumption of alcohol is a disorder. Like any other chronic disorder, it develops insidiously but follows a predictable course. The first or pre-alcoholic symptomatic phase begins with the use of alcohol to relieve tensions. The second (or prodromal) phase is marked by a range of behaviors including preoccupation with alcohol, surreptitious drinking and loss of memory (Hock et al., 1992). In the third (or crucial) phase, the individual loses control over his drinking. This loss of control is the beginning of the disease process of addiction. The individual starts drinking early in the morning and stays up drinking till late in the night. Impairment in biochemical activities becomes manifest as the organs of the alcoholic begin to deteriorate. Other medical problems develop by the time the alcoholic gets into the final (chronic phase). Prolonged intoxications become the rule. Alcoholic psychosis develops, thinking is impaired, and fear and tremors become persistent (Klemin and Sherry, 1981). A previously responsible individual may be transformed into an inebriate – s tereotype alcoholic.
Fear-instilling but thought- provoking terms such as the “coming epidemic”, a “miserable trap”, have b een used to show concern for the potential hazard of widespread alcoholism.