Alcohol in beer, wine, or vodka can make people feel good; well, at least in the short term. It travels to the bloodstream and makes its way around the body, brain, and muscles, which changes a person's mood. According to the NHS, this process starts within minutes of taking a sip of the alcohol and peaks about 45 to 90 minutes later.
But what goes on with the body once it is intoxicated with alcohol, and why does it react the way it does to alcohol? Read below to find out why ad how alcohol affects the body.
Ethanol causes drunkenness
Ethanol plays a significant part in why people get drunk. It is one of the ingredients of alcoholic beverages formed when yeast ferments with sugars in plants. For example, the sugar in malted barley produces beer, sugars in grapes create wine, and the sugars in potatoes which produce vodka.
Alcohol is toxic to the body
The body sees alcohol as poison, so the body works to grind it and get rid of it, which is the liver's job. The liver uses an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase that converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic substance that makes the intoxicated person feel hungover the next day. It also shuns the rest of the alcohol out of the body.
The acetaldehyde is then converted into acetic acid like the ingredient in vinegar. Then, it is broken down into fatty acids, water, and carbon dioxide. Drinking more than what the liver can process will make the person get drunk as the blood-alcohol level rise, which helps decide the person's drive-drink limits.
Alcohol's journey inside the body
According to Healthline, as soon as the alcohol goes into your mouth, it travels into the bloodstream through the tiny vessels of the lips and tongue. Then 20% of it goes to the bloodstream through the stomach while the rest passes through the small intestine.
But if the stomach has food, the longer will the alcohol stay in the stomach, which prevents the feeling drunk immediately. But without food, the alcohol goes easily to the bloodstream, which easily makes a person drunk.
Once in the bloodstream, the alcohol can move to the different parts of the body quickly, which affects the bodily functions of the organs like the liver.
Alcohol in the bloodstream causes red flushing in the skin, temporary feelings of warmth, a rapid decrease in temperature, and a drop in blood pressure.
Alcohol in the brain and nervous system
Within five minutes, the alcohol can reach the brain, and its effects can be felt after ten minutes. Moreover, alcohol stimulates the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are the feel-good hormones, wherein the person would start to feel good, more social, and confident and losses their inhibition.
As the person gets drunker, the symptoms become more physical, like slurred speech, blurred vision, loss of coordination, and dizziness.
Alcohol in the kidneys and lungs
One of the alcohol's effects on the brain is that it inhibits the production of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which tells the kidney to release more water, that is why drunk people always had the urge to pee. Urinating a lot but not getting enough non-alcoholic fluids will make you more intoxicated and lead to dehydration.
Furthermore, the alcohol also goes through the lungs, in which 8% of what you breathe out the alcohol. It evaporates from the blood through your lungs and moves to your breath, which is the breathalyzer tests' alcohol content.
Check out more news and information on Beer in Science Times.