Transformation of ethyl alcohol to ethyl nitrite in acidified saliva: possibility of its occurrence in the stomach.

Research paper by Umeo U Takahama, Mariko M Tanaka, Sachiko S Hirota

Indexed on: 13 May '08Published on: 13 May '08Published in: Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics


After taking alcoholic beverages, the ethanol is mixed with saliva and then gastric juice. As pH of gastric juice is around 2, the ethanol might be transformed to ethyl nitrite in the stomach by reacting with salivary nitrite. In this study, reactions between ethanol and nitrite in acidified saliva were investigated. The result indicates that nitrite in acidified saliva reacted with ethanol producing ethyl nitrite. It is discussed that ethyl nitrite might be formed in the stomach after drinking alcoholic beverages and that the ethyl nitrite might function as a donor of NO in intestinal and gastric tissues.