System Domain 2: Alcohol in the Human Body

alcoholflowchart

Many people experience the system that occurs when a body consumes alcohol, but few understand the elements and interconnections that connect ingestion with drunken effects.

When alcohol enters the body, it goes to the stomach. Unlike other foods and beverages, however, alcohol enters the bloodstream through the stomach wall. This interconnection (alcohol –> bloodstream) can be affected by a few variables. One is the temperature of the alcoholic beverage. Warmer beverages enter the bloodstream rapidly, while colder beverages enter the bloodstream slower. Additionally, concentrated alcohol (such as hard liquors not mixed with non-alcoholic beverages), can irritate the stomach lining. The stomach lining responds by creating a mucous-y protective layer which slows down the absorption of alcohol through the stomach lining. The amount of food in the stomach can also affect this process.

Once in the bloodstream, alcohol dilutes itself depending on water volume. This can be affected by, most obviously, the amount of water in a body. However, it is also the reason that men’s and women’s bodies are affected differently by alcohol consumption. Women’s bodies contain more fat tissue than muscle tissue compared to men’s bodies. Because muscle tissue contains more water than fat tissue, men’s bodies dilute alcohol more efficiently than women’s bodies.

Then, alcohol travels to vital organs. Its effects are most pronounced on organs which contain a large water volume. The brain has a large water volume, which is why people feel “drunk” after consuming alcohol. The liver also has a large water volume, which is why alcohol consumption is connected to liver problems.

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