Advertisement

How does the body process alcohol?

Elizabeth Casparro, MPH,RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

The body processes alcohol by absorbing it first in the stomach (20%) and then the small intestine (80%). Then the liver starts breaking it down with an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase and finally it turns either into energy or fat. A typical person can only process 5-7 grams of alcohol (1/2 of a typical drink) per hour without becoming intoxicated.

Emilia Klapp
Nutrition & Dietetics
Alcohol passes swiftly from the digestive tract to the blood without being broken down; it then heads to the liver to be metabolized. If you drink alcohol faster than the liver can process it, your brain function becomes impaired, causing intoxication.

Continue Learning about Alcohol & Health

Can Drinking Alcohol Raise Your Cancer Risk?
Can Drinking Alcohol Raise Your Cancer Risk?
Did you know alcohol is a risk factor for cancer? If you answered no, you’re not alone. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AIRC)...
Read More
What happened to 4 Loco caffeinated alcohol drinks?
Arthur W. Perry, MDArthur W. Perry, MD
In November 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked the companies manufacturing 4 Loco to...
More Answers
What are the drinking guidelines for women?
HealthyWomenHealthyWomen
For most women, guidelines for drinking suggest consumption of no more than one standard drink per d...
More Answers
How Does Smoking (or Vaporizing) Alcohol Affect the Body?
How Does Smoking (or Vaporizing) Alcohol Affect the Body?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.