When you consume alcohol, it quickly moves down into the intestines due to gravity. A little amount is absorbed in the mouth, esophagus and stomach, while larger portions of alcohol are absorbed by the small intestine. If you have an empty stomach, the alcohol moves easily and quickly passing on into the blood and one drink is likely to be absorbed in thirty minutes. With the stomach full of fatty meal, having high content of protein, the alcohol absorption will be delayed to up to 90 minutes.

Contrary to a popular thinking, stronger alcohol is absorbed very slowly. Beverages that have more than 20% alcohol content in them irritate the mucous membrane lining of the stomach and shrink the opening of the stomach into the small intestine. Gulping down shots of spirits, hoping to get the buzz quickly, may actually be counter-productive.


Alcohol goes to your head very quickly when it is in the blood circulation and spreads to all the tissues of the body containing water. As alcohol travels along with the blood, it is delivered to the brain, lungs and liver because of the abundant blood supply, which these organs enjoy.

It is eliminated from the body in different ways. Some amount of alcohol (about 10%) is eliminated through urine and some through the breath and sweat, since it passes along the lungs as well. This is why a breathalyzer effectively measures your BAL. The concentration of alcohol in breast milk is slightly higher than in the blood and the nursing mothers should know this concerning fact as it means that the infant may be subjected to great difficulties.


The liver is primarily responsible for metabolizing the alcohol. In the liver, an enzyme breaks down the alcohol into aldehyde, a toxin that instantly activates another enzyme which in turns transforms aldehyde into harmless molecules of acetic acid. This is how alcohol is managed in everyone, but the speed of these two stages of metabolism varies greatly.

No matter how much you drink, the liver can only effectively deal with a limited amount. Our liver is accustomed to metabolize about 15 cc of alcohol every hour. Any more of the drink consumed, for example 30 cc in an hour, the pending amount (15 cc) left to be metabolized after that hour would affect the body a great deal. The speed at which the liver deals with alcohol depends mainly on the availability of the enzymes, which vary from person to person. This capability to metabolize alcohol effectively and precisely is generically determined, but there are various factors that might influence the process, qualitatively as well as quantitatively.


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