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    Alcohol Facts

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    Alcohol Facts

    Alcohol Facts Drink Equivalencies

    A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, four ounces of wine or 1-1/4 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits. They all contain about the same amount of pure alcohol (about 1/2 ounce). These amounts are dependent upon the percentage of alcohol by volume and many beers, wines, and spirits do not follow this standard.

    Beverage Drink Size Abv

    Light Beer 14 oz 4.20%

    Regular Beer 12 oz 5.00%

    Micro Brew 9 oz 6.70%

    White Wine 5 oz 12.0%

    Red Wine 4 oz 15.0%

    80 Proof 1.5 oz 40.0%

    Alcohol’s Path Through the Body

    About five percent of the alcohol consumed leaves the body through urine, sweat glands, and breathing. Most of the alcohol must be broken down (metabolized) by the liver to remove it from the system. The liver metabolizes alcohol at a very constant rate, approximately one drink per hour. If there is excessive alcohol in the blood, the liver cannot speed up the detoxification process. The unmetabolized alcohol just continues to circulate in the bloodstream. This is intoxication – when there is a buildup of alcohol in the system.

    Allowing the liver enough time to metabolize the alcohol is the only way to remove alcohol from the body. A cold shower, fresh air, exercise, or black coffee will not help sober a person up. Time is the only thing that will remove alcohol from the system (about an hour per standard drink).

    Alcohol does not require digestion. Most passes into the stomach. About 20 percent is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach. The other 80 percent passes into the small intestine, where absorption is faster. The pyloric valve, which separates the stomach from the small intestine, closes when food is present in the stomach (especially protein and fatty foods). Therefore, food slows intoxication.

    Blood Alcohol Concentration

    The amount of alcohol in the body is measured as blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A BAC of .08 percent is the equivalent of 1/8 of a drop of alcohol to 1000 drops of blood. The body is very sensitive to alcohol. A person with a BAC of .30 percent may lapse into a coma, and a BAC of .40 percent can result in death.

    How can you tell what a person’s BAC is? You can’t unless you have special equipment like a Breathalyzer. ABC does not expect you to know what a person’s BAC level is, but you should rely on how a customer looks and acts to determine if you should sell alcoholic beverages to them.

    BAC percent Effects of Increased BAC Levels on a Typical Person

    .01 - .03 No apparent effects, slight mood elevation. In California, you will test as legally impaired at .01 percent BAC if you are under 21.

    .04 - .06 Feeling of relaxation, sensation of warmth, minor impairment of reasoning and memory

    .07 - .09 Mild impairment of balance, speech, vision, and control. In California, you will test as legally impaired at .08 percent BAC if you are over 21.

    .10 - .12 Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of judgment, speech may be slurred

    .13 - .15 Gross impairment of motor control, blurred vision and major loss of balance, onset of dysphoria (anxiety, restlessness)

    .16 - .20 Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear, drinker has the appearance of “sloppy drunk”

    .25 - .30 Severe intoxication, needs assistance walking, mental confusion, dysphoria with nausea and some vomiting

    .35 - .40 Loss of consciousness, brink of coma

    .40 & up Onset of coma, likelihood of death due to respiratory failure

    Alcohol’s Effects on the Body

    Alcohol is a depressant drug. Despite the initial feeling of energy it gives, alcohol affects judgment and inhibitions while slowing reaction times.

    Alcohol also depletes the body’s fluids and can cause a person to feel thirst. As a result, someone drinking may continue to drink more.

    Alcohol causes the small blood vessels on the surface of the skin to dilate. This result is the loss of body heat. The drinker feels like they are getting warm, but in fact the body is chilling.

    Normally, the liver maintains the body’s blood sugar levels, but when alcohol is present, the liver metabolizes alcohol before its other functions. Diabetics are not the only persons who need to be aware of this disruption in blood sugar levels. To the average person, effects after alcohol has entered the bloodstream may be hunger, nausea, and hangovers, which are all caused by a drop in the blood sugar level.

    Factors Affecting Intoxication

    Alcohol affects each person differently. It also affects the same person differently on different occasions.

    The following are some of the factors that affect how quickly a person will become intoxicated:

    Gender – Alcohol affects men and women differently. In some women, the effects of alcohol tend to be stronger and last longer. This may be due to women having higher levels of estrogen, body fat, and lower levels of body water than men. All of which limits the amount of alcohol absorbed into tissues, thus remaining in the bloodstream. Men, on the other hand, typically have more of the enzymes that break down alcohol in the stomach before being absorbed into their bloodstream.

    Source : www.abc.ca.gov


    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards terms like Alcohol Limit, Difference between beers, wines, and liquors, Amount of alcohol content in wines and beer bottles is represented by and more.


    5.0 1 Review Alcohol Limit

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    -alcohol content -production method -ingredients

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    Terms in this set (72)

    Alcohol Limit 0.08%

    Difference between beers, wines, and liquors

    -alcohol content -production method -ingredients

    Amount of alcohol content in wines and beer bottles is represented by


    Amount of alcohol content in liquor bottles is represented by

    Proof or Degree of proof

    After 1 glass of alcohol drinker becomes:

    -more talkative -more relaxed -more outgoing

    -loose control of emotions

    -become drowsy

    -(eventually) experienece impaired coordination

    -slowed cenyral nervous system

    Is alcohol a depressant or stimulant?


    Alcohol is broken down in two organs

    The stomach and the small intestine

    Alcohol is absorbed more so in the

    small intestine

    Blood carries alcohol to all parts of the body, especially the

    Liver The liver

    Main job os to filter blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body. Also Detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes alcohol.

    Liver diseases: -hepatitis -cirrhosis -Liver Cancer -brain damage

    -delirium tremens( DTs)

    -malnutrition -ulcers Hepatitis

    Inflammation of the liver, usually caused by viruses like hepatitis A, B, and C. This can have non-infectious causes too, including heavy drinking, drugs, allergic reactions, or obesity.


    Chronic liver damage from a variety of causes leading to scarring and liver failure.

    How long does it take the Liver to break down alcohol?

    Takes about an hour to break down 1/2 and ounce of alcohol = 1 can of beer, 1 glass of wine, 1 shot of scotch.

    What must be done for alcohol to cause intoxification?

    It must get into the brain. Once the alcohol is consumed it leaves the GI tract to enter the bloodstream (absorption). Ethanol passes through the bloodstream to all the major organs including the brain through the major arteries.

    Myths associated with Alcohol:

    -people who drink alcohol gain weight.

    -Caffeine counteracts effects of alcohol.

    -sleep will make the breaking down process move faster.

    -mixing alcohol with other drinks such as soda, juice, or water will lead to an overdose.

    -Alcohol keeps you warm

    BAC (Blood alcohol Concentration)

    levels represent the percent of your blood that is concentrated with alcohol.

    Standard Drink Comparison

    -12 ounces Beer with 5% Alcohol volume = 0.6 ounces alcohol.

    -1 1/2 ounces Highball with 40% Alcohol volume =

    0.6 ounces alcohol.

    -5 ounces Wine with 12% Alcohol volume = 0.6 ounces alcohol.

    0.02-0.03% BAC

    No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of

    shyness. Depressant effects are not apparent.

    0.04-0.06% BAC

    Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions,

    sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of reasoning and

    memory, lowering of caution.

    0.07-0.09% BAC

    Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction

    time, and hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self- control are reduced, and

    caution, reason and memory are impaired.

    0.08% BAC

    Illegal driving limit in this country.

    0.10-0.12% BAC

    Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired.

    0.13-0.15% BAC

    Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria is beginning to appear.

    0.16-0.20% BAC

    Anxiety, restlessness, nausea. Needs assistance moving. Ecperiences severe mental confusion.

    0.30% BAC

    Loss of consciousness.

    0.40% BAC

    Onset of coma, possible death due to respiratory or carrdiac arrest.

    0.60% BAC You should be dead.

    Factors that affect drinkers

    -Rate of consumption

    -Concentration of Alcohol


    -Height and body weight

    -full or empty stomach

    -added beverages

    Why can men hold more alcohol then women?

    Men have more of the dehydrugenase enzyme in their stomach that makes breaking down alcohol faster so they can hold more alcohol.

    How do height and weight affect someone's bac level?

    A taller and thinner individual will have lower BAC's than those with a higher percentage of body fat. A larger person has more blood and water in their body and will have a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than the smaller individual.

    How does food affect the absorption rate of alcohol?

    Food only slows the absorption of alcohol into the blood-stream. On an empty stomach, alcohol reaches the brain in a few minutes and begins

    to affect behavior and coordination. After a full meal, alcohol can take longer to reach the brain. Food does not absorb the alcohol. It merely

    slows the speed at which alcohol is absorbed. Fatty foods are especially effective in slowing down the alcohol absorption process. As fatty foods are more difficult to digest, they remain in the stomach longer than other types of food.

    Source : quizlet.com

    How is Alcohol Absorbed into the Body? – The Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership

    The Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership

    Home » Module 1: Gender Matters » Content » How is Alcohol Absorbed into the Body?

    Module 1: Gender Matters

    Content What is Alcohol?

    How is Alcohol Absorbed into the Body?

    Where Does Alcohol Go in the Body?

    How is Alcohol Eliminated from the Body?

    Gender Differences in Alcohol Metabolism

    Module 2: The ABCs of Intoxication

    Module 3: Alcohol, Cell Suicide, and the Adolescent Brain

    Module 4: Alcohol and the Breathalyzer Test

    Module 5: Alcohol and Babies?!?

    How is Alcohol Absorbed into the Body?

    Note: The term “alcohol” will be used to mean ethanol unless otherwise noted.

    Ethanol is absorbed through the GI tract

    When alcohol is consumed, it enters the stomach, where it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. However, if no food is present, most of the alcohol moves down into the small intestine where there is a much larger surface area for absorption compared to the stomach. The cells that line the stomach and small intestine (part of the gastrointestinal or GI tract) are called epithelial cells. These cells are perfect for absorption because they have finger-like projections protruding into the GI lumen, which tremendously increases the surface area for absorption of nutrients and other molecules through the membranes.

    If one drinks alcohol with food in the stomach, the pyloric sphincter separating the stomach from the small intestine closes to allow the food to be digested by stomach acid. Since the alcohol can’t move into the small intestine immediately, this slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream considerably. In fact, a fatty meal can reduce the peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC) up to 50% relative to that produced when alcohol is consumed on an empty stomach.

    Most alcohol absorption into the body happens in the small intestine. The presence of fatty food can significantly slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

    Alcohol moves from the gut to the capillaries

    To be absorbed, alcohol moves across the epithelial cells, through the interstitial space, and into the capillaries. The capillaries are made of endothelial cells. As alcohol moves through each of these cells, it moves in the direction of the concentration gradient.

    Figure 1.3 Absorption of ethanol from the gut into the bloodstream. Ethanol molecules in the gut diffuse across epithelial cells, through the interstitial space, and then into nearby capillaries.

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    Figure 1.4 Watch ethanol move across membranes in the direction of the concentration gradient.

    Let’s look at how alcohol moves into the bloodstream in a little more detail.

    The Biological Membrane

    The movement of alcohol across cell membranes is possible because of its chemical character and the biophysical properties of the membrane. The cell membrane is a lipid bilayer—it contains phospholipids, small molecules that have a polar phosphate head (hydrophilic or water loving) and a nonpolar lipid tail (hydrophobic or water fearing) (Figure 1.5). Two layers or sheets of phospholipids are stacked together with their lipid tails touching to form a hydrophobic core. The polar phosphate heads face the water-filled exterior or interior of the cell.

    The membranes also have large proteins that are embedded within the lipid bilayer. The proteins often form pores through which water and small, dissolved molecules or solutes can move (Figure 1.5). Ethanol is small (its molecular weight is 46 g/mole or 46 Daltons) and polar, so it has no trouble crossing these cell membranes.

    Figure 1.5 – The biological membrane is a lipid bilayer. The lipid bilayer contains proteins that span the membrane, creating spaces and pores through which water and small solutes can pass.

    Learn more about the structure of biomembranes.

    Ethanol diffuses through cell membranes

    The biological membrane structure allows small, uncharged molecules like ethanol, CO2 and H2O to pass directly through the membrane by the process of diffusion. Ethanol can move through the water channels or pores that are created by proteins embedded in the cell membrane (Figure 1.5a). This form of diffusion is called filtration because ethanol is small enough to “filter” through the pores.

    Ethanol can also diffuse through the core of the lipid bilayer, this is because it is also slightly lipophilic (lipid loving) and relatively small. Other kinds of polar compounds are charged, which prevents them from diffusing through the hydrophobic core of the membrane (they can only dissolve in water).

    The filtration and the diffusion of ethanol across the membrane are forms of passive transport because no cellular energy is required. The concentration gradient is the driving force that moves the ethanol molecules through the membrane.

    Source : sites.duke.edu

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