There are various myths concerning the impact of alcohol on the human body. Let’s shed light on common advices to see whether there is more than an ounce of truth in them.

Food

Burger With French Fries

Almost everybody knows the idea that eating a large meal before consuming alcohol slows down the process of getting drunk. This is actually true, since the body needs time to break down and burn the food before the alcohol can enter the blood.[1]

Gender

Likewise, it is also true that women need longer to break down alcohol. This is caused due to the fact that women generally have less muscular tissue than men, yet muscles contain high amounts of water necessary to dissolve alcohol.
Additionally, scientists assume that the female body contains fewer enzymes responsible for the breakdown of alcohol.[1]

Beer Bottles

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide blows the stomach up, which makes the body try to get rid of it by passing it on. In the case of alcohol consumption, this immediate redirection makes the high percentage alcoholic ingredients enter the bloodstream much faster. Everybody who tried Champagne, sparkling wine and similar fizzy drinks knows the consequence: Carbon dioxide makes you feel tipsy much faster.[2]

Stress

In stress situations the human body produces a bigger amount of hormones. These are responsible for boosting the individual metabolism, hence they cause the alcohol to enter the bloodstream faster.
Additionally, drinking during stressful situations may make people drink more and react differently than they usually would.[3]

Stressful Drinking

Age

Elder Person

Since the liver and the stomach shrink as time passes, the human body breaks down alcohol slower at an advanced age. Nevertheless, many claim that the body gets used to regular alcohol consumption and therefore causes the drunkenness to disappear faster.[4]

Alcohol has impact on the brain

With drunkenness comes a higher potential risk of hurting yourself or others.[5] This is caused by a specific acid which reduces the communication between the cells and the brain. Additionally, the neurotransmitters inside the brain get impaired after the consumption of alcohol, making them less able to perform their functions the more you drink. This causes disturbances in your sense of balance, language faculty, speed of reaction and power of judgement – all these bodily functions subside rapidly after consuming alcohol.

Sobering up after drinking alcohol

So, how can you break down alcohol the fastest?

Break down alcohol

There is no definite answer for this question and neither is there a wonder drug. Essentially, the most effective way still is giving your body the time it needs to sober up.
However, this process is dependent on a person’s individual physique, gender and various other factors. Generally speaking, the human body breaks down an average of 0,1 up to 0,2 per mille every hour. A particularly dangerous myth is that the effect of coffee on your metabolism will make you sober up faster. Not only is this false, the wakeness induced by caffeine makes people think that they are already sober and thus able to drive when they are actually still impaired by the effect of alcohol.[6]

Don’t rely on your gut feeling!

As diverse as people are, as diverse are their assessments concerning their drunkenness.
Some feel tipsy immediately, others “don’t feel anything” after a couple of drinks. To find out how much alcohol is actually in your blood, you can use a breathalyzer. ACE Instruments offers various products, including devices with electrochemical sensors similar to breathalyzers used by professionals and authorities. But don’t forget to get your device calibrated at least once a year in order to maintain its high accuracy.

The ACE X, a breathalyzer by ACE Instruments

[1] Student Well-Being McDonald Center, University of Notre Dame: “[Alcohol] Absorption Rate Factors
[2] The Telegraph: “Fizz in bubbly will get you drunk faster“, by David Derbyshire, Science Correspondent
[3] LiveScience: “Stress Changes Alcohol’s Effects on You“, by Luke Yoquinto
[4] The Telegraph: “What alcohol does to your body after the age of 40“, by Anna Magee
[5] WHO: “Alcohol Fact Sheet
[6] Mythbusters: “Can drinking coffee help a person sober up?