This Is How Long Alcohol Really Stays in Your System

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Let’s face it: We all know that drinking copious amounts of alcohol is not healthy or good for the body for many reasons. Whether you enjoy a little fun a few times a year and feel just as good the next morning, or indulge in a few drinks during the week with minimal effects at all, you may be curious to know what your habits mean for a long time. – Validity of the range.

Not only do many alcoholic beverages contribute to unpleasant effects the next day, such as a hangover. According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionExcessive alcohol consumption can not only lead to alcohol dependence or dependence, but it can also increase the chances of developing chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, liver disease, digestive problems, as well as impaired immunity. the system. It is also linked to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Also, ignore the myth that your body perceives different types of wine differently. Your liver does not process a glass of wine any differently than a mixed cocktail – it only processes alcohol. If one beverage has a higher ABV than the other, the liver will have to work harder.

The short-term and long-term effects of drinking too much are likely enough to make you want to take control of your habits and better deal with your limits or what they should be. Here, the doctor breaks down the metabolism of alcohol and how booze can be detected in your body.

How is alcohol metabolized by the body?

Alcohol metabolism depends in part on a person’s individual alcohol use habits as well as their genetic makeup, he says sonneh singh, MD, emergency room physician and medical director of CareHive Health in Austin, Texas.

According to Dr. Singh, the vast majority of alcohol you drink is metabolized by the liver, while a very small amount is completely digested without any side effects.

“The path that alcohol takes from consumption to elimination involves the metabolism that begins first in the stomach where various enzymes begin the total breakdown cycle,” he explains. “Most of the alcohol passes unchanged into the small intestine where absorption occurs into the bloodstream, and upon reaching the bloodstream, the alcohol mostly travels to the liver where more than 90% of the metabolism takes place.”

Once alcohol reaches the liver, it’s converted into a chemical called acetaldehyde, which is the substance responsible for the not-so-pleasant effects that can come with drinking even small amounts of alcohol, including headaches, nausea, and heart palpitations, explains Dr. Singh.

How long does it take to remove alcohol from your body

In general, one standard drink (eg, 12 ounces or one can of beer, 5 ounces or one glass of wine, 1.5 ounces or one dose of 80-degree distilled spirits) peaks in the bloodstream About one hour after consumption, he explains.

Dr. Singh explains that it takes about five half-lives to process and remove alcohol from your system, with the half-life for alcohol tending to be around four to five hours. “In contrast, it takes about a day for the body to completely get rid of one serving of alcohol.”

Fortunately, the physical symptoms of heavy drinking and intoxication resolve much sooner than the completion of the overall metabolic cycle, he says.

How long can alcohol be detected in your system

If you’re concerned about how much alcohol is in your system because you have to drive yourself home or work the next day, genetics, enzyme levels, amount of alcohol and strength of alcohol play a role in other factors like age, body mass, and general health as well as how you test, says Dr. Singh. .

In general, alcohol can be detected:

  • in the blood for up to 12 hours

  • breathing for 12 to 24 hours

  • in urine for 12 to 72 hours

  • in saliva for 12 to 48 hours, and

  • In hair for up to 90 days

Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently

According to Dr. Singh, both genetic and environmental factors contribute to these levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), two enzymes found in the liver that affect the rate at which the body metabolizes alcohol.

“Studies have shown that males tend to have higher amounts of antidiuretic hormone than females, and people who regularly consume alcohol tend to have lower amounts of antidiuretic hormone compared to heavy drinkers,” he says. “Research has also shown that about 35-40% of people of East Asian descent have lower amounts of ALDH than other races.”

In short, the fewer alcohol-metabolizing enzymes you have, the longer it takes your body to metabolize alcohol — plus more physical symptoms like nausea and headaches.

Dr. Singh says that how much you drink and how strong alcohol you choose also plays a role in metabolism and enzyme levels, with unsurprisingly higher amounts contributing to longer processing times.

Bottom line: The time it takes for alcohol to clean out your system, as well as how it can affect you physically, can easily vary from person to person. Note how you tend to feel after drinking any amount of alcohol and take steps to avoid those unwanted short-term effects, as well as the long-term effects that can come with consuming too much alcohol.

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