Alcohol is a depressant that has a short life span in the body. Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, the body will begin to metabolize it at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter per hour. It means that if the body alcohol level were 40 mg/dl, it would take about two hours to metabolize the alcohol.
The speed at which the body processes alcohol and the amount of alcohol consumed determines how long drink is in the system. Alcohol is metabolized or processed in the body more quickly than the most substances. The body metabolizes a very high percentage of the amount consumed.
How Does The Body Process Alcohol?
When individuals drink alcohol, it passes through the digestive system. However, alcohol is not digested because the maximum amount of it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The body takes the juice from the blood to filter it and then broken down in the liver. The liver produces enzymes and these enzymes break down the alcohol molecules.
Two enzymes that are generally responsible for alcohol processing are found in the liver, both of these enzymes which break down ethyl alcohol into Acetaldehyde. This is further broken down into substances that the body can absorb.
Alcohol Dehydrogenase that is found in the stomach, breaks down almost all of the alcohol consumed by light and social workers. Alcohol Dehydrogenase changes alcohol into energy. Cytochrome P450 2E1 is very active in the livers of heavy drinkers. This enzyme takes so much body energy to break down alcohol.
A third enzyme, named Catalase, which is present in cells throughout the body, also metabolizes a small amount of alcohol. Acetaldehyde is released into the brain via Catalase then metabolism can combine with neurotransmitters to form Tetrahydroisoquinolines, which some scientists believe that this is the cause of alcoholism. But, this is considered controversial.
The body helps passes the alcohol in the bloodstream. When Alcohol reaches the brain system, it stimulates several neurotransmitters such as GABA-A and Dopamine. The stimulation of these neurotransmitters explains the pleasurable effects that we experience when alcohol is consumed.
Around 20% of the alcohol consumed passes into the blood vessels. The remaining 80% of alcohol that is not absorbed directly through blood vessels is nevertheless absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine.
Blood Alcohol Concentration
The blood alcohol concentration level is the indicator of the alcohol that is measured in the blood. This is also known as blood alcohol content; BAC is the percentage of alcohol in the blood. For example, in the United States, a BAC of 0.1 would mean that the individual’s blood is 0.1% alcohol present in the blood. In most countries, a BAC level of 0.08 is considered legally intoxicated. A person’s BAC is the most common measure of how much alcohol is present in the system.
How Long Does It Take To Get BAC below 0.08?
The amount of alcohol, a person should consume to reach the level of 0.08 BAC varies based on many factors. The same is also valid for recovery time. Generally, it could take one hour per beverage consumed to become sober again. For example, if an individual drinks one beer and three shots in an hour, that individual would generally require four hours to become dry.
The Factors That Influence the Speed in Which Alcohol Is Metabolized in the Body
According to the National Health Service reports, it takes about an hour for the average person to metabolize one unit of alcohol. However, NHS also reports, that can vary due to:
• Body composition
• Food intake
• Medication Interactions
• Type of alcohol consumed
• Liver health
How Is Long Alcohol Detected In The System?
It depends on what is being tested.
Blood– In general, Alcohol is eliminated at the rate of 0.015 BAC per cent per hour. For example, someone who has a BAC of 0.08, which is illegal to drive, would take around 5.5 hours to flush out the alcohol of their body.
Urine– It also depends on the test used those are more sensitive to another test. Currently, there is a test that could detect alcohol use up to 80 hours, or 3 to 4 days, after the last drink a person had.
Breath– As part of the routine breathalyzer testing, alcohol can be detected in the inspiration for up to 24 hours of the last drink taken.
Hair– Hair testing is used to detect the use of many substances, including alcohol. Alcohol can be detected in the hair for around 90 days after the last drink was taken.
Saliva– Alcohol can be traced in the saliva swab around 10-24 hours of the last drink taken.
What Is Standard Drink?
Different types of alcoholic beverages have a distinct alcohol level of concentrations. A standard drink is defined as the amount of alcohol in one normal-strength that is 5% alcohol or 10 proof, which is contained in 12-ounce beer. Likewise, 12-ounce malt beer with concentration 5% alcohol is considered 1.5 standard drinks and 40-ounce malt liquor with 8% alcohol concentration is deemed to be equivalent to 4.5 standard bottles.