PMID: 39708Jan 1, 1979

A sex difference in the serum vitamin B-12 levels of hospitalized alcoholics

Currents in Alcoholism
P A GoldmanD E Drum


The relationship of elevated serum vitamin B-12 concentration to alcoholism in general hospital patients was studied both in a retrospective and in a prospective group of patients. Alcoholism was the most common disease correlate of vitamin B-12 elevations in females. Of the unselected female alcoholics, 61% had a serum vitamin B-12 concentration larger than or equal to 1000 ng/liter at the time of admission; only 17% of the nonalcoholics, whatever their other disease, exhibited such high values. The sensitivity of high B-12 levels for alcoholism in females paralleled that of high SGOT, GGT and MCV values. In contrast, males (approximately 70% of our alcoholics) far less often exhibited B-12 elevations even when SGOT, GGT and MCV were abnormally high. Elevation of serum B-12 concentration should always raise the suspicion of alcohol abuse, especially in females.

Related Concepts

Alcohol Abuse
SGOT - Glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase
Gamma-glutamyl transferase
Retrospective Studies

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