Fingernail alcohol testing is an ideal way to look at a person’s alcohol use over a 90 days period, as biomarkers are left behind in fingernail and toenail tissue for many weeks after alcohol has been consumed.
How can alcohol become trapped in nails?
Like hair, nails are made from keratin, which is a fibrous protein. As the nail grows, substances can pass
from the blood vessels below the nail into the keratin fibres where they become trapped. Biomarkers
from alcohol can thus be detected in the nails.
Our nail alcohol testing analyses samples for a specific long-term marker of ethanol (the intoxicating agent in alcohol) called ethyl glucuronide (EtG). These EtG biomarkers become trapped within the keratin fibres along the length of the nail providing a detection period of up to 12 months.
If the nail is long (5 mm or above) then only one nail would be required. If the nails are short then it may
be best to take clippings from a couple of nails.
Either fingernails or toenails can be used for the test, but not a mixture. Approximately 10mg of nail is required in total.