How Does Your Body Take Care of the Alcohol You Drink?

January 31, 2020  |   Posted In General


Everyone’s ability to metabolize alcohol is different. When you consume alcohol, you only lose two to eight percent of it through perspiration, saliva, urine, and breath. The other 92 to 98 percent of it goes through a long process from your digestive system to your liver.

Firstly, alcohol travels the digestive system, some of the alcohol will continue into the stomach, whereas the rest will float into your bloodstream where it may reach the brain.

Your brain increases the amount of the “feel-good” chemical called dopamine, as well as activates the neurotransmitter called GABA. As a result, the glutamate transmitter deactivates. To you, personally, this allows you to feel calm and relaxed. When one consumes too much alcohol, the effect gets worse, allowing the individual to be clumsier, slower to react to situations, and talk in a slurred speech.

Where alcohol goes to get broken up is in the liver. The liver is the primary way for the body to break down alcohol so that it leaves the body via the urinary tract. The two enzymes that help disintegrate alcohol are called ADH and ALDH.

Addiction should always be taken seriously, and you should consider a stay in one of our recovery homes should you realize you need recovery programs. In the meantime, here are the basics of metabolizing alcohol.

How Long Does It Take for The Body to Metabolize Alcohol?

The textbook answer is that for every ounce of alcohol consumed, it takes that many hours for the body to completely remove it. However, everyone is different, and there are many factors that make the time it takes to metabolize alcohol vary.


Not everyone has the same amounts of enzymes in their liver. If you have fewer of these enzymes than normal, then it takes longer for the body to metabolize it.


Typically, women are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than men are. This is mainly because of their smaller physiques that carry less water in their bodies. As a result, alcohol will tend to have an extended time in their system.


As you get older, you are more sensitive to alcohol because of less water in the body and a slower rate of alcohol metabolism. In other words, older people tend to keep alcohol in their bodies for longer than younger people.


Surprisingly, the larger and heavier a person is, the less likely they are to succumb to the effects of alcohol. People who have small, skinny physiques will tend to keep alcohol in their bodies for longer, so this ties into our sentiments with gender, as well.

Time of Drinking

If you drink too much alcohol, the liver will need a lot of time to metabolize it all, meaning you will have a dangerous amount of alcohol in your system for a period of time. Taking a while before drinking two beverages will allow your liver more time to process the alcohol.


If you take certain medications, it may intervene with the metabolism of alcohol. Technically, the medication will be fighting with the alcohol over the enzymes you need to metabolize whatever you are consuming. These include antidepressants, antibiotics, and painkillers.

Intake of Food

Food doesn’t “absorb” alcohol, but it rather helps the liver to become more active and allows alcohol to be metabolized faster. ADH enzymes are also more active when you have a full stomach.

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