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The safe ethanol dose: a review of epidemiological data for the last six decades


Alcohol use as a risk for health enormously contributes to the burden of disease world-wide. According to experts' estimation approximately 4% of global burden of disease is associated with alcohol misuse. Alcohol is involved in about 40% of motor vehicle accidents, 47-70% of homicides, 25-37% of suicides. Although 1-2 standard drinks/per day (with 1-2 free-alcohol days) has been recommended (especially for adults) as a prophylactic measure for ischemic heart disease, there is a paucity of data concerning the dose time dependent effect of alcohol use on psycho-physiological functions. Most of the problems related with alcohol use have been largely pronounced among the young adult population. Since in most cases, the effects of alcohol use are rather than harmful, there is need to determine a long-term "relatively" safe dose of alcoholic beverages.

Materials and methods

Our data (based on the psycho-physiological functions of university students for a 4 years period of study and follow-up), as well as current epidemiological and clinical data on the dose-time response effect of alcohol use for the last six decades were examined. All alcohol doses are given in values of pure ethanol.


There is necessity of normalizing, not only the daily dose of alcoholic drinks, but also the monthly total dose.


We therefore, formulate the concept of relatively safe per session and monthly dose of alcoholic beverages, which must not exceed 27 ml and 40 ml for males respectively and not more than 24 ml and 31 ml respectively for females.

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Correspondence to Menizibeya Welcome Osain.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Osain, M.W., Alekseevic, V.P. The safe ethanol dose: a review of epidemiological data for the last six decades. Ann Gen Psychiatry 9, S217 (2010).

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  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Alcoholic Drink
  • Alcoholic Beverage
  • Global Burden