Alcohol breakdown in the body system is unique when compared to other types of food, this is because alcohol can enter the digestive system directly without being altered by the body’s digestive system. In the blood stream alcohol is broken down by alcohol dehydrogenase, the amount of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) vary according to gender and ethnicity. Women’s body system produces less alcohol dehydrogenase when compared to men therefore people whose body system produces less ADH get tipsy with little amount of alcohol (Whitney, & Rolfes, 2011, p. 232).
After consumption, alcohol passes from mouth through to the stomach without being metabolised. Upon reaching the stomach 20% of the alcohol is absorbed in the stomach while the remaining 80% is passed to the small intestine where it is absorbed into the blood stream (Tobutt, 2011, p. 14). After absorption alcohol is transported through the blood vessels into the liver. Most of the alcohol processes takes place in the liver where alcohol dehydrogenase and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is used to break down alcohol, however the same co-enzyme is used to break down other carbohydrates. The liver breaks down an average of half an ounce of pure alcohol in one hour, therefore the rest of the alcohol flows to the heart.
Upon reaching the heart, alcohol acts to slow down the rate of heart beat thus reducing contraction and consequently the blood pressure. From the heart alcohol passes to the lungs through the pulmonary artery, after reaching the lungs some of it is exhaled through the air one breathes out. From the lungs alcohol in the oxygenated blood flows back to the heart then to the blood stream. Alcohol acts to increase high density lipoproteins whose function is to eliminate cholesterol in the body, this has an effect of reducing blood clotting hence reducing the chances of stroke and heart attack (Whitney, & Rolfes, 2011, p. 232). Alcohol also increases vaso-dilation of blood vessels in the blood stream, this increases the amount of warm blood flowing to the skin (Tobutt, 2011, p. 14). Thus after taking alcohol people feel warm and in other people alcohol may ooze out of the skin pores. Alcohol reaching the brain has the effect of sedation, this is because it slows the rate of nerve impulse transmission. This affects the ability to think thus impairing one’s judgement, vision and thinking. Alcohol cycle in the blood stream continues until the liver produces enough ADH to break down alcohol.
Tobutt, C. (2011). Alcohol at work: Managing alcohol problems and issues in the workplace.
Farnham, Surrey, England: Gower.
Whitney, E. N., & Rolfes, S. R. (2011). Understanding nutrition. Australia: Wadsworth,