How The Body Breaks Down Alcohol

Sweet Potato Soup
Updated: 10/1/2022
Alcohol is a popular drink of choice that affects every organ in the body. It’s important to understand the effects it has on the body to make decisions that will keep you and those around you safe. To better understand how alcohol works in the body, let’s start with the first sip.
How do our bodies absorb alcohol?
The body doesn’t digest alcohol so we must rely on liver enzymes to break it down for us. However, the liver can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol at a time, approximately 1 beer, 1 shot of alchohol or 5 oz of wine per hour.
It works at a constant rate and there is no way to speed up this process. Instead, the stomach lining absorbs about 20% of the alcohol and the small intestine absorbs about 80%, sending it to the bloodstream where it then circulates throughout the body and brain.
Since the liver can only work so quickly, any excess continues to circulate throughout the body leading to intoxication.
The amount of alcohol that is circulating in the bloodstream, otherwise known as the Blood Alcohol Concentration, reflects the level of intoxication.

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