Alcohol feeding results in elevations of the plasma A:L ratio in animals and in man, and this ratio is increased in some but not all patients with alcoholism. It is most likely that the rise in plasma A:L ratio identifies a subgroup of alcoholics. What determines this subgroup of alcoholics remains unclear, but it could be the quantity of alcohol intake, a nutritional deficiency, or the presence of liver disease. The increase in the plasma A:L ratio does not appear to be specific for alcoholism because it was found elevated in nonalcoholic liver disease. But further study of the causes of changes in individual plasma amino acids in alcoholism may provide insight into metabolic disturbances associated with alcohol ingestion.
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