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How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Body? (And Other Buzz-Worthy Alcohol Facts)

By arming yourself with knowledge and the right tools, you can continue with your partying ways without jeopardizing your long-term health.

Regardless of age, gender, sex, body composition and overall health, most people process alcohol at approximately one drink per hour. However, those same factors may dictate how long you feel the effects of alcohol. They may also play a role in how alcohol affects the liver.

Whether you’re simply curious about what goes on inside your body when you drink or you seriously want to change your lifestyle for the healthier, it may help to brush up on your “alcohol facts.” It may also help to learn how to protect your liver against the damaging effects of overindulgence.   

Buzz-Worthy Facts About Alcohol

To understand how alcohol affects your body, it may help to learn more about the substance itself. Below are a few interesting facts that may help you have a healthier relationship with booze:

  • The alcohol in your favorite beverages is actually a type of ethanol and is the only type of alcohol you can drink without causing serious immediate harm to your body.
  • The liver shares most of the burden of processing alcohol.
  • The health consequences of alcohol differ for men and women, with it having a more harmful effect on women than on men.
  • Hormonal changes play a significant role in the development of hangover symptoms.
  • Muscle absorbs alcohol quicker than fat.

These are just a few insightful tidbits about alcohol that may help you better control your alcohol intake and protect your liver.  

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Body?

The human body is highly effective at processing alcohol, with it being able to metabolize and absorb between 90% and 98% of alcohol that enters it. Most ends up in the liver, which metabolizes it at a constant rate of approximately one drink per hour. If you drink more than one drink per hour, your system will become saturated with alcohol, and any excess will accumulate in your blood and other tissues until your liver is ready to receive it. So, if you drink three drinks per hour, the alcohol will remain in your system for approximately three hours.

That said, small amounts of alcohol do remain in your system for longer. The 2% to 8% that your liver does not metabolize will hang out in other areas until your body finds a way to expel it. Typical expulsion methods are as follows:

  • Blood: Alcohol can remain in your blood for up to six hours.
  • Breath: One drink can remain on your breath for between 12 to 24 hours.
  • Urine: Alcohol can remain in your urine for up to 72 hours.
  • Saliva: Your saliva may contain alcohol for up to 24 hours.

Most alcohol, however, will be out of your system by the morning after a night of drinking.

What Happens to your Liver When you Drink

When you drink alcohol, your liver constantly works to rid your system of it and its byproducts. While it’s the liver’s job to remove waste from the body, chronic alcohol abuse may overwork the liver. When this happens, one of three outcomes may occur:

  • Excess fat builds up in the liver, resulting in fatty liver disease, or hepatic steatosis
  • The liver becomes inflamed, resulting in alcoholic hepatitis
  • The liver cells become destroyed and are replaced by scar tissues, otherwise known as cirrhosis

While the first two conditions are reversible, liver cirrhosis is not. However, it is manageable with abstinence, healthy lifestyle choices and actionable tips for how to protect your liver.

Alcohol Affects Men and Women Differently

Several factors affect how alcohol affects you, but one of the most influential is your sex. Though men tend to abuse alcohol much more frequently than women, women typically absorb more alcohol than men. For this reason, women are more susceptible to the harmful effects of alcohol than their male counterparts.

There are a few reasons women absorb more alcohol than men of similar weight and body types. Those are as follows:

  • Women have less body water than men of similar weight, meaning alcohol absorption happens quicker for them than it does for men.
  • Women typically have more fatty tissue than men, and fat tends to retain alcohol for longer periods.
  • The metabolism, brain chemistry and hormones in women lend themselves to higher risks of long-term consequences of drinking.

Understanding how drinking affects your health as a woman can help you make healthy choices for your liver and future.

Alcohol Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Alcohol triggers the release of insulin, the job of which is to process sugar into energy. When you drink, your body may process blood sugar at a faster rate than you consume sugar, leading to depleted blood sugar levels. Symptoms of low blood sugar include dizziness, confusion, irritability, shaking, sweating and quickened heart rate.

Different Factors Influence How People are Affected by Alcohol

Several factors dictate how your body processes and reacts to alcohol. Top factors that may influence how alcohol affects your body are as follows:

  • Age
  • Body weight
  • Percentage of body fat compared to muscle
  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • The fullness of your stomach
  • What, if any, medications, you take

Hot Tips for Protecting Your Liver to Keep the Party Going

Now that you understand how alcohol affects your body, you may wonder what you can do to preserve your long-term health without giving up your partying ways. Below are a few top tips.

Remove Toxic Foods From Your Diet

If you’re not willing to give up your party lifestyle just yet (or ever), you may be able to counter the effects of overindulgence with an uber-healthy diet. Some foods you should consider nixing from your diet and replacing with healthier options are as follows:

  • White bread
  • Sugary beverages
  • Fried foods
  • Most fruit juices
  • Pastries, cakes and cookies
  • Candy bars
  • Foods with added sugars
  • Fatty meats

Schedule a Workout

According to recent research, exercising may be the antidote to drinking. What this research revealed was that by exercising the recommended amount each week — meaning, about 150 minutes of mild to moderate exercise — you can reduce your risk of alcohol-related illnesses, including cancer, by almost 100%. So, if you don’t already, add exercise to your daily regime and you may not have to give up drinking at all.

Add Detoxify Herbal Cleanses to Your Routine

You can elevate the effects of both a healthy diet and exercise with a Detoxify herbal cleanse. A cleanse can help kickstart your body’s detoxification process while simultaneously flooding your body with the nutrients it loses during benders. The outcome of both these effects is a quicker recovery and less risk of damage to your internal organs.  

Skip the Hangover with Polisorb

Finally, add Polisorb to your arsenal. Polisorb is a single ingredient substance that works wonders on the digestive tract. Once in your system, it attracts and binds to harmful toxins and quickly ushers them out of your body, thereby removing harmful substances before they have a chance to wreak havoc on your immediate or long-term health.

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Drinking can be damaging to the body, but it doesn’t have to be. By arming yourself with knowledge and the right tools, you can continue with your partying ways without jeopardizing your long-term health.