alcohol metabolism

Antonio Guia guia at CC.UManitoba.CA
Sun Feb 20 18:22:05 EST 1994

On 19 Feb 1994, Paul Schlosser wrote:
> Antonio Guia <guia at CC.UManitoba.CA> writes:
> >That being the case, why do alcoholics get drunk on less alcohol than the
> >first time drinkers?
> in anecdotal fasion, I've observed that "tea-totelers" (sp?) respond 
> to very little alcohol ("One drink knocks me out,") while non-alcoholic, 
> regular drinkers have a greater "capacity", or at least they have learned 
> to function, and stay awake, after greater doses.  I suspect that there are 
> some psychological factors here too -- e.g., if you tell someone that a drink 
> is alcoholic when it is not, will alcoholics respond differently than non-
> drinkers?

I have no idea about your final question, but it is an interesting one
while likely has been performed already.  However there must be some
psychological effect of habitual drinking in that the regular drinker
has trained the brain to react in a more standard fashion when drunk
(although as many have experienced this is still not quite "the norm", boy
that's a bad way to describe it).  

> A lot (most??) of alcohol is exhaled, so differences in 2E1 levels may not
> make that much difference in blood levels.  Also, for many compounds, the
> rate of metabolism is limited by the rate of liver perfusion, so changes in
> 2E1 levels probably does not give a proportionate change in blood levels.

Considering that alcohol is not inhaled too, there is a considerable first
pass effect through the liver, just as anything injested will enter the
body through the portal system, taking it through the liver first before
getting into the circulation.


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