Digestion of alcohol in our body cannot be compared to the digestion of the other foods we ingest. Once we take in liquor it passes through the esophagus to the stomach and small intestine.
The small intestine absorbs 80% of the consumed alcohol while the stomach absorbs the rest 20%. Once it is in the small intestine and the stomach, it does not go through the normal body digestion process but instead it goes directly into the bloodstream, where it dissolves with the water molecules in the blood. The liver plays the main role of eliminating the alcohol consumed once it is absorbed into our bloodstream.
All types of alcoholic drinks usually have a different quantity of pure liquor, where some have high amounts like wine and some very little amount of alcohol like beer. Liquor in alcohol is metabolized by the liver in our system at the same pace in everyone, regardless their size, age or even race.
So, How Fast Does Alcohol Metabolize?
The liver metabolizes liquor at a rate of .015 of BAC (blood alcohol concentration) per hour. BAC is the percentage of pure alcohol that is present in your bloodstream. Having said that, here is a more detailed view of how fast a body can metabolize alcohol at different rates.
- 0.16 BAC (2 hrs)
- 0.144 BAC (3 hrs)
- 0.128 BAC (4 hrs)
- 0.112 BAC (5 hrs)
- 0.096 BAC (6 hrs)
- 0.08 BAC (7 hrs)
- 0.064 BAC (8 hrs)
- 0.048 BAC (9 hrs)
- 0.032 BAC (10 hrs)
- 0.016 BAC (11 hrs)
- 0 BAC (12 hrs)
One unit is always equivalent to 8 g or 10 ml. For example, if you take a glass of wine that is 5 fluid ounces, it will take about an hour for a normal liver to metabolize the alcohol or if you consume a large glass (250 ml) of an average strength wine which contains roughly 2.1 units, your body will take about 3 hours to clear alcohol from your system for you to sober up.
Alcohol is efficiently eliminated from our system after it is completely metabolized into carbon dioxide and water
Factors that determine how long it takes for alcohol to leave the system
Even though it may take one hour for the liver to metabolize .015 of BAC, there are various factors that may affect this process.
Other than the liver which metabolizes the liquor in our body, there are more factors that determine how long it takes for the alcohol to leave the system which includes:
- How fast the individual consumes the beer/wine/liquor
- Individual’s body fat content.
- Persons metabolism.
- Health conditions
- The current medication which the individual is taking.
- The amount of food consumed before drinking or while drinking.
- The content of fat in the consumed food etc.
The following are some tips that would help you control the rate at which the BAC rises
- Eating food while you are drinking would help slow down the absorption of the consumed alcohol into the blood.
- Take your drinks in sips, thus avoiding large amounts of liquor going in your system at one time.
- Space out how you take your drinks.
So, How Long Does it Take to Leave your Urine?
Some laboratories these days use this testing method called "EtG" which stands for Ethyl Glucuronide. It's an indication that the body has processed alcohol recently. So, if you're tested for that, you have to know that it can detect consumption in the past 80 hours, approximately. It's also known as the "80 hour test", which I know most of you have heard once or twice.
So, How Long Does it Take to Leave your Blood?
A regular person's blood alcohol level from one ounce of alcohol will increase to about 0.015. And, about every hour or so that same amount of alcohol will pass through the person's body. Also, it is important to note that when your levels of alcohol in your blood passes 0.055, then your body tissues and blood will begin to take in more of the substance which causes you to be more drunk.
Key points to note:
- Taking cold showers or drinking coffee cannot speed up the metabolism of the consumed liquor. BAC can only be reduced by time.
- Drinking water when you are already drunk, will not make you to be drunker. Instead, water would help by diluting the amount of consumed alcohol saturating the body tissues and accelerate, the excretion of it is present through perspiration and urine.
- A breathalyzer test can still show you are drunk or it may indicate your bloodstream has abnormally high levels of alcohol, even if you consumed alcohol about 24 hours ago.
- It may take 3 to 5 days by Ethyl Glucuronide metabolite (EGT) or 10 to 12 hours by traditional method for alcohol to be detected in the urine.
- Alcohol can be detected up to 12 hours in a blood test.
- A person can be positive from liquor saliva test from 1 to 5 days.
- The EtG test is done through urine and can detect alcohol consumption as far as 3-4 days back. Visit here to read more about how to pass these tests.
In conclusion, to avoid the risk of harming your body from alcohol, a person is advised to avoid taking regularly more than about 14 units in a week. If a person is used to drinking more than 14 units a week then it is advisable for them to spread their drinking over 3 days.