Medically reviewed by J. Keith Fisher, MD — written by Jill Seladi-Schulman, Ph.D. On august 30, 2019

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Whether you spending time through friends or trying come unwind ~ a lengthy day, many of united state enjoy having actually a cocktail or cracking open a cold beer occasionally.

While spend alcohol in moderation is unlikely to it is in harmful, drink in excess deserve to have considerable an adverse health effects.

But how precisely does alcohol affect your body? how much alcohol is as well much? and are there means to drink safely? proceed reading together we check out the answers come these questions and more below.

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When we drink alcohol, its an initial destination is the stomach. It’s right here that alcohol starts to be soaked up into your bloodstream.

If friend don’t have actually food in your stomach, the alcohol will likely pass into your little intestine rather quickly. The little intestine has a much greater surface area for absorption 보다 your stomach, meaning alcohol will enter your blood faster.

If did you do it eaten, her stomach will certainly be focused on digesting the food. Therefore, alcohol will relocate out of her stomach an ext slowly.

Once in the bloodstream, alcohol deserve to move to various other organs that the body, consisting of the liver. The liver is responsible because that breaking down most of the alcohol the you consume.

How the human body metabolizes alcohol

Inside the liver, alcohol is metabolized, or broken down, in a two-step process:

Step 1: An enzyme dubbed alcohol dehydrogenase breaks down alcohol to a chemical referred to as acetaldehyde.Step 2: A various liver enzyme dubbed acetaldehyde dehydrogenase breaks under alcohol right into acetic acid.

The cell of her body break acetic mountain down more into carbon dioxide and also water. These compounds can be conveniently eliminated from her body via processes like urination and also breathing.


What reasons that tipsy feeling?

So what precisely gives us that tipsy, drunk feeling? her liver have the right to only metabolize so lot alcohol at a time, which way that alcohol deserve to travel with the bloodstream to other organs, such together the brain.

Alcohol is a depressant the your main nervous mechanism (CNS). That means it has actually a slowing impact on your brain.

Because that this, the neurons in your mind fire turn off nerve impulses much more slowly. This can lead to things choose the impaired referee or coordination that’s linked with drunkenness.

Alcohol can additionally stimulate the relax of neurotransmitters like serotonin and also dopamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with pleasure and also reward and can result in feelings like happiness or relaxation.

These feelings space joined by additional physical symptoms of intoxication such together flushing, sweating, and increases in urination.


A hangover occurs after friend drink too lot alcohol. Symptoms have the right to be unpleasant and also can differ by person. This is what reasons a hangover:

Sleep disruption. Drinking frequently leads to negative sleep, which deserve to increase feelings of exhaustion or fatigue.Low blood sugar. Alcohol can lead to low blood sugar, i beg your pardon may reason you to feeling tired, weak, or shaky.Acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde (the chemical developed from alcohol metabolizing in her body) is toxic and also can add to inflammation in her body, which deserve to make you feel choose you’re sick.Mini-withdrawal. Alcohol has an inhibitory impact on her CNS. When the alcohol attract off, her CNS is out of balance. This have the right to lead come feeling an ext irritable or anxious.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the portion of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. As you consume additional alcohol, an ext and an ext of it enters your bloodstream.

Many factors impact how alcohol is absorbed and metabolized. These include:

Sex. Due to distinctions in alcohol metabolism, women typically have a greater BAC than men after the same amount the drinks.Weight. ~ the same number of drinks, human being with a greater body mass are more likely to have actually a lower BAC 보다 someone v a reduced body mass.Age. Younger world may be much less sensitive to few of the effects of alcohol.Overall health and whether girlfriend have any kind of underlying health and wellness conditions. Some conditions can influence the body’s capability to metabolize alcohol.Levels that alcohol metabolism and tolerance.

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The rate of alcohol metabolism and also the level that alcohol tolerance have the right to vary between individuals.

Several outside components can also affect your blood alcohol levels. These include:

the type and stamin of the alcohol you drinkingthe rate at which you’ve consumed alcoholthe amount of alcohol you’ve hadwhether or no you’ve eatenif you’re using alcohol with other drugs or medications