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Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) testing is the best blood alcohol test because it is the most accurate of the blood alcohol tests. It is used to determine alcohol abuse because it is a direct marker of alcohol. PEth is formed on the surface of red blood cells when ethanol reacts with phosphatidylcholine. This means that it can only be detected when alcohol has been consumed.

In terms of all alcohol tests, PEth is second to the detection of ethyl glucuronide (EtG  – another direct metabolite of ethanol) in hair alcohol testing. However, PEth analysis has the advantage of allowing faster verification as to whether an individual has changed their drinking behaviour.

As soon as ethanol is consumed, PEth production begins. It accumulates in blood with frequent alcohol consumption. The result provides a detection period of up to 3–4 weeks. However, the greater the exposure and/or larger the binge session(s), the longer the period of detection.

PEth testing is now the most instructed and preferred alcohol test within the UK Family Law Courts.

Why is PEth testing the best alcohol test?

PEth testing is the best alcohol test because PEth is a direct biomarker of alcohol. This means it is a highly reliable blood test for alcohol abuse. Drinking experiments show that PEth can be detected in blood after 1–2 hours and for up to 12 days after a single drinking episode. In addition, daily alcohol consumption of more than 60 g ethanol (7.5 units) can clearly be distinguished from lower alcohol consumption. This means that PEth testing can detect chronic and single-drinking episodes. In addition, it can also be used to monitor abstinence, patterns of alcohol consumption and identify relapse.

The table below shows the range of PEth levels that can be measured in AlphaBiolabs’ blood alcohol testing.

PEth levelsIn the past month
< 10 μg/LAbstinence or very low alcohol consumption
10–35 μg/LLow/occasional alcohol consumption
35–210 μg/LSocial/moderate alcohol consumption
210 μg/LExcessive alcohol consumption

Get a quote for PEth alcohol testing here.

As well as blood alcohol testing, AlphaBiolabs offers other alcohol testing solutions including instant breath tests, nail clippings and hair strand testing to show alcohol consumption over a period of time. Real-time results are also available with SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring®. For expert advice, please call Customer Services on 0333 600 1300 or email us at info@alphabiolabs.com