Latest scientific news 01 July 2014

Peak Blood Alcohol Concentration after consuming various alcoholic beverages

When drinking more concentrated alcoholic beverages such as spirits on an empty stomach, it will result in a higher blood alcohol concentration than when the same amount of ethanol is consumed in the form of wine or beer.

Because the absorption rate of ethanol is greater than the rate of elimination, both the amount of ethanol consumed and the rate of absorption are the key factors determining the peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The alcohol dehydrogenases enzymes in the liver are responsible for metabolizing the ingested alcohol. It is desirable to avoid peak BAC since it is related to damaging effects on different organs in the body.

The current study examined the kinetics of alcohol absorption and elimination and peak BAC’s after consuming the same amount of ethanol in the form of white wine, beer and vodka/tonic on an empty stomach in 15 healthy subjects. The results showed clearly that wine and beer are absorbed more slowly than vodka/tonic in the absence of food and emphasized the importance of responsible drinking patterns. Rapid consumption of alcoholic beverages, particularly those that are highly concentrated, on an empty stomach should be avoided. It is preferable to consume alcohol beverages moderately and slowly with the meals.

Mitchell MC, Teigen EL, Ramchandani VA, Absorption and Peak Blood Alchol Concentration after Drinking Beer, Wine or Spirit, 2014, Alcohol Clin Exp Res Vol38, No 5: p 1200-1204

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.