Alcohol Absorption

Alcohol Absorption

How fast does your body absorb alcohol?

While we may believe that alcohol's effects on our body remains relatively consistent and predictable, there are a number of factors that can change the way alcohol effects the same individual on different occasions. Some of these factors include mood, fatigue, illness, food, medications, expectations and emotions.

There are many factors that influence how a person's body absorbs and tolerates alcohol; for example, gender is a factor. If a 140 pound male drinks two drinks in one hour, his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .038, whereas if a 140 pound female drinks two drinks in one hour, her BAC is .048.

Factors that Affect a Person's Intoxication Level

  • Food – Always eat before drinking. Having food in your stomach, especially foods high in protein help slow down alcohol absorption.
  • Body weight/body type – The less you weigh, the more your body is affected by alcohol.
  • Being female – Women have less of the enzyme dehydrogenase which breaks down alcohol in the stomach. Women also tend to have a higher percentage of body fat and a lower percentage of water than men.
  • Mood – Mood can affect the way your body reacts to alcohol. At about .07% BAC, mood begins to deteriorate so someone who feels depressed or angry can experience exaggerated emotions.
  • Strength of the drink – Stronger drinks result in higher blood alcohol concentration.
  • Rate of consumption – The faster you drink, the quicker BAC rises.
  • Medications – Certain painkillers and cold medicines can multiply the effects of alcohol up to ten times.

Other factors that contribute to alcohol absorption include illness, fatigue and functional tolerance. If you are ill, there is a good chance that you are dehydrated which will result in a higher BAC. This occurs because dehydration makes the liver less efficient at eliminating alcohol.

Fatigue can magnify the effects of alcohol because when someone is fatigued, the liver is less efficient at processing and eliminating alcohol thereby leading to a higher than normal BAC.

We've all heard someone say, "Well I have a high tolerance to alcohol and I don't get drunk." This is called "functional tolerance," which is the body's decrease in sensitivity to the effects of alcohol. Basically, a person exhibiting functional tolerance will not appear as intoxicated as someone with little or no functional tolerance. While this is a behavioral adaption to the effects of alcohol, it's important to note that it doesn't affect the individuals' blood alcohol concentration. Essentially, just because someone can "handle their alcohol," it has no effect on his or her BAC.

Fort Bend DWI Attorney

Were you arrested on DWI charges in Fort Bend? As a former prosecutor I have tried dozens of DWI cases. During my tenure, I received specialized training in the examination of field sobriety testing, cross-examining expert witnesses and the procedures for the Intoxilyzer machine, which is used by law enforcement to test the alcohol concentration in a suspect's breath. My goal is to challenge every shred of evidence in an effort to obtain reduced if not a dismissal of charges against you. If a jury trial is necessary, I am fully prepared to take your case all the way as is evidenced by my successful trial record.

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