Association of alcohol consumption with specific biomarkers: a cross-sectional study in South Africa
Pisa, Pedro T.
Vorster, Hester H.
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Alcohol consumption plays an important role in the health transition associated with urbanization in developing countries. Thus, reliable tools for assessing alcohol intake levels are necessary. We compared two biological markers of alcohol consumption and self–reported alcohol intakes in participants from urban and rural South African communities. This cross–sectional epidemiological survey was part of the North West Province, South African leg of the 12–year International Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study which investigates the health transition in urban and rural subjects. A total of 2,010 apparently healthy African volunteers (35 years and older) were recruited from a sample of 6,000 randomly–selected households. Alcohol consumption was assessed through self–reports (24–hour recalls and quantitative food frequency questionnaire) and by two biological markers: percentage carbohydrate–deficient transferrin (%CDT) and gamma–glutamyl transferase (GGT). Of the 716 men and 1,192 women volunteers, 64% and 33% respectively reported regular alcohol consumption. Reported mean habitual intakes of drinker men and women were 29.9 (±30.0) and 23.3 (±29.1) g of pure alcohol per day. Reported habitual intake of the whole group correlated positively and significantly with both %CDT (R=0.32; p?0.01) and GGT (R=0.43;" p?0.01). The correlation between the two biomarkers was low (0.211; p?0.01). GGT and %CDT values should be interpreted with care in Africans as self–reported non–drinker men and women had elevated levels of GGT (19% and 26%) and %CDT (48% and 38%). A need exists for a more specific biological marker for alcohol consumption in black Africans.