Non-polar carbon backbone Figure 1 Chemical structure of ethanol.

decreases down the GI tract. There is also a concentration gradient of ethanol from the lumen to the blood. The concentration of ethanol is much higher in the lumen of the upper small intestine than in plasma (Table 4). Alcohol diffuses passively across the cell membranes of the mucosal surface into the submucosal space and then the submucosal capillaries.

Absorption occurs across all of the GI mucosa but is fastest in the duodenum and jejunum. The rate of

Table 4 Approximate ethanol concentrations in the gastrointestinal tract and in the blood after a dose of ethanola



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