How long to metabolize alcohol?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Dinosaur, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I drink a glass or two of wine & put Irish Cream liqueur in my coffee (two cups) when I go out to dinner twice a week.

    2-3 hours later I take some vitamins & perscription drugs.

    Would the alcohol have metabolized in those 2-3 hours? Some vitamins (B-Complex) are not absorbed if you have alcohol in your stomach & one of the drugs has a warning about mixing with alcohol.

    BTW: One of my classmates got beri-beri due to always having some booze in his stomach, even though his diet was healthy.
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  3. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    OMG! This was one of my university mathematical modelling exercises. Unfortunately it was also ~30 years ago.
    From what I remember the answer is: no it won't have metabolised.
    I have a vague* recollection of around 7 hours, but it also depends on body fat/
    Try here or here. This one might be more useful.

    * I've had a pint or two since then.

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  5. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Dywyddyr: Thanx for the links. The last one indicates that the peak level in the blood stream occurs about an hour after drinking the booze.

    This indicates that that 2-3 hours after drinking, there is no alcohol in the intestinal tract. Therefore, it seems safe to take vitamins & perscription drugs (in pill form) 2-3 hours after drinking alcohol.
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  7. jmpet Valued Senior Member

    If I had a nickel for everytime I downed prescription meds with beer...
  8. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    Careful - what you are saying applies to one drink, not three. It also varies tremendously by body weight, gender, presence of food in the stomach, gender and genetic factors.

    Let's take the other end of your example: two glasses of wine plus your coffee mixed with liqueur. (Which I'm going to estimate as equivalent to one "drink", since you don't specify the amount or proof/percentage of the liqueur) Assuming you were to drink this all at once, which I realize is probably not the case, you would be looking at approximately 6 hours.

    BAC peaks for your "average" person in about one hour, pretty much regardless of the amount you drink at once. (within reason) However, it takes about two hours per drink to "metabolize". (this includes the amount lost through sweat, breathing, etc.)

    As you are probably aware, 1 beer = 1 glass of wine = 1 shot of 80 proof / 40% liquor. (Approximately. Actual amount is .6 ounces of pure alcohol)

    If you really want to get an accurate time you would have to plot the amount ingested on each drink vs time and overlay the curves - so as to take into account the intervals between drinks. Any which way you look at it, your body BAC is going to go down almost precisely .016 every hour. This is the basis for law enforcement (at least in the US) advocating no more than one drink per hour. Of course you have to remember it takes about an hour for the initial absorption to complete before oxidation / metabolism can really commence.

    Bottom line, I'm guessing 4-5 hours rather than 2-3 in your case, assuming you're "average" and you're looking for absolute surety.

    OTOH, personally I would probably just say the h*ll with it and take the vitamins after a couple of hours (if not simultaneously with dinner), but that's just me, don't try this at home. I'm not real conservative about that sort of thing.

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    Does this sound right to you, Dywyddyr? (the 4-5 hours, not my personal tendency for self destruction)
  9. valsartan Registered Senior Member

    Depends. As far as I do understand from our discussions, Ethanol can be converted quite easily by the body.
  10. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    RandWolf: Your analysis is correct for blood alcohol content. It is pertinent to when it is safe to drive a car.

    I am pretty sure that it is alcohol in the intestinal tract which can cause problems for metabolizing vitamins & prescription drugs (via pills). The data strongly suggests that little, if any, alcohol is in the intestinal tract 2-3 hours after drinking it.

    The 2 glasses of wine I drink at dinner is 12 Proof & the Irish cream liqueur I put in my coffee is 35 Proof (two cups uses about a shot glass full). On occasion, I have about a shot of a dessert liqueur (30 proof), which results in my heaviest night of drinking.

    BTW: I am pretty sure that my blood alcohol content is .02 to .06 at the peak, with the .06 being a very high estimate. Even many decades ago when I drank a bit more, I doubt that my blood alcohol content ever got as high as the legal limit.

    I have seldom driven a car after drinking. My life partner, Gloria, who drinks one glass of wine with dinner is the designated driver. In the past, I was usually at a resort or on a cruise when drinking more than usual.

    Since I am not a heavy drinker, I have not developed compensating skills & do not trust myself to drive a car after drinking. While I do not consider heavy drinkers to be safe drivers, I think they handle a car better than I can, given the same blood alcohol content (due to their having practiced more than I have).

    BTW: I recommend Ryan’s Irish Cream Liqueur, which is half the price of Bailey’s & just as good. The other cheaper brands are not as good. I highly recommend the dessert liqueur: Baja Luna. It is tequila & raspberry cream.
  11. Honeyb35 Registered Member

    0.010-0.020 mg% (BAC) every hour. It depends on your body, how much you weigh (how much muscle mass you have) and how much and how fast you drank. Additionally that rate is effected by age, sex and height. It is also effected by how much you ate along with that alcohol, mainly in fat.

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