If alcohol is involved, it is wise to think ahead when planning a night out with friends. Drinking while intoxicated threatens not only your own health, but also the health of those who share the roads with you. Furthermore, overindulging in alcohol can lead to poor decision making and errors in judgment. You are probably well aware that drinking in excess can lead to serious health consequences. However, you may wonder exactly what constitutes drinking too much.
7. How the Body Handles Alcohol
When you drink alcohol, about 20% is absorbed into your bloodstream through your stomach. From there, the alcohol travels through your bloodstream to the liver for processing. The American Addiction Centers report that the average liver can metabolize one standard drink per hour. One standard drink equals about 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. Meanwhile, about 80% of the alcohol you consume is absorbed by your small intestine. Unmetabolized alcohol may be excreted in your sweat, saliva, and urine.
6. Factors That Affect Metabolism of Alcohol
You may have noticed that you were able to consume more alcohol with fewer side effects in your younger days. In addition to age, there are several other factors that may affect an individual’s ability to metabolize alcohol. According to the National Institutes of Health, these include gender, health status, frequency of alcohol consumption, and family history. Furthermore, drinking on an empty stomach speeds the absorption of alcohol and can result in becoming intoxicated more quickly.