FOOD: FULL STOMACH OR EMPTY?

The speed at which the alcohol is absorbed depends on the amount and the kind of food present in the gastro-intestinal system. During the process of digestion, the stomach’s contents are passed into the small intestine, a process known as gastric emptying. The fatty foods in the stomach require more time for gastric emptying which slows down the process of alcohol absorption. Studies have shown that people, who drink after a heavy meal, absorb alcohol more slowly in comparison to those who drink on an empty stomach.

Gender differences matter a great deal when it comes to drinking. All other things being equal, if both men and women consume the same amount of alcohol, women would have a higher blood-alcohol level. That’s because men in general are heavier and their bodies have a lower fat content. Higher body weight means higher water content, so the alcohol is dissolved in a large amount of liquid. This means a higher concentration of alcohol in women because they are generally much smaller than men, with less amount of enzyme that breaks down alcohol to begin with. So, the alcohol women drink keeps circulating in their blood relatively longer than men. 

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AGE MATTERS TOO: TEENS AND SENIORS BEWARE!

Teens and older people cannot tolerate alcohol well, mostly because of their generally lower body weight and the fact that alcohol is dissolved in a smaller volume of liquid. Also, teenagers have a fewer alcohol-eliminated enzymes in their liver than adults and the BAL in them is relatively more.

There are unpredictable reactions between alcohol and other drugs. Some medications can retard the alcohol elimination, heighten or mask its effects or provoke abnormal reactions. Paradoxically, alcohol can reduce the general effectiveness of some medications or hinder their elimination.

Alcohol affects different organs differently as well. It has a great affinity for the brain and greatly influences its functions, especially the mood and creativity.  Before it is dealt by the liver, alcohol affects certain vital organs especially those that contain a lot of water and require great volume of blood in order to function. Almost an instant effect can be observed in the brain. Alcohol restricts certain functions of the brain by encouraging and pampering the brain’s reward centers. The effects are pleasurable to begin with: the stress is reduced and there is an obvious dis-inhibition and a sensation of either being calm or tipsy. How you feel depends on your prior mood, but afterwards you may go back to your original state and may feel even more angry and sad then you were at the starting point.

 
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