BACKGROUND: Metabolic syndrome is associated with an increasing incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The relationship between the amount of alcohol consumption and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is controversial. Our study was performed to evaluate the relationship between alcohol consumption and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Korean men. Also we examined the correlation of liver markers, including alanine transaminase (ALT) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) with the development of metabolic syndrome. METHODS: We enrolled 1,775 Korean men (mean age 40.0 +/- 5.8 years) who were undergone health check-ups in our hospital. Each component of metabolic syndrome was measured by using the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) criteria. The subjects were divided into 4 subgroups according to the amount of alcohol consumption; Group 1: no consumption, 2 (mild): those consumed less than 200 g/week, 3 (moderate): those consumed 200~399 g/week, 4 (heavy): those consumed more than 400 g/week. RESULTS: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 24.6%. There were significant positive correlations between the amount of alcohol consumption blood pressure, triglyceride, fasting blood glucose, GGT levels and HDL cholesterol levels. But the odds ratios for metabolic syndrome were not significantly increased in subjects with moderate alcohol consumption. The odds ratios for the metabolic syndrome significantly increased in proportion to the increasing levels of ALT and GGT. CONCLUSION: Although alcohol consumption didn't increase the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, the amount of alcohol consumption had significant positive correlation with components of metabolic syndrome in Korean men, and elevated ALT and GGT levels could strongly associate with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome.