Many people do not understand how alcohol functions in the body once it has been consumed. Often people think that after they have become drunk they are able to effect how quickly they become sober by eating specific foods or drinking highly caffeinated drinks like coffee. The following post provides some information on how alcohol is absorbed by the body and hopefully clarifies how it is removed from the body.
When a person takes a drink of an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol is absorbed into the blood through the mouth (slowly), esophagus (slowly), stomach (rate depending on the type and amount of food present) and small intestines (very rapidly). Ordinarily, alcohol is completely absorbed in 30 to 90 minutes after consumption, with the rate of absorption varying among individuals and within the same individual under different circumstances.
The body starts to eliminate alcohol as soon as it is absorbed. The liver eliminates 90 to 95 percent of the alcohol by oxidation of the alcohol to carbon dioxide and water; the rate of oxidation varies among individuals, and the rate generally is faster in heavy drinkers. Some studies show that heavy drinkers eliminate alcohol about 25 percent faster than do light drinkers. The 5 to 10 percent of consumed alcohol that is not oxidized by the liver is eliminated about equally by the kidneys into the urine and by the lungs as exhaled breath.