hooray!! it’s Christmas. Alcohol dehydrogenase.

bottle of stoneleigh sauv blanc

hooray!! it’s Christmas. Alcohol dehydrogenase.

Hi everyone 🙂

christmas lunch sauv blanc

delightful sauv blanc after lunch

Cheers by the way!

I know the silly season has well and truly begun, and just last week I was learning about the nutrition of alcohol, so I thought I would share some of the tips and info I have come across along the way!

What are you doing for Christmas? I hope that everyone has somewhere to go, and if not, that you are planning to spoil yourself. I know it can be a hard time of year for some people, and this year I am going to give most to those who need it most.

My bank account is literally overflowing on account of giving up those DEVIL cigarettes, so I am going to give wisely, and all of this in the next post, tomorrow probably – better get organised! But, I hope that if you are one of those people who suffer with the holidays, as I often do, then I hope you have some strategies in place to make it easier on yourself!

frangipani growing in pot plant

frangipani! the plant of summer!

In any case, the topic is alcohol, and we are not plants, it is really interesting! Someone commented at lunch today that she can drink a lot and never get drunk. I think this is because some people produce more alcohol dehydrogenase than other people. Alcohol dehydrogenase is what your body uses to turn alcohol, which it perceives as being completely toxic, more toxic than any other drug and turning it into acetaldehyde, which is also toxic, but then eventually into acetate which is less toxic and it is passed out of your body in your urine.

Alcohol dehydrogenase

Some cultures produce very little alcohol dehydrogenase. Some Asian populations do not produce very much, and get very red in the face even from one glass of wine or beer, and that is because their bodies don’t have the enzymes to process it.

bottle of stoneleigh sauv blanc

it is delicious!

This all happens in your liver, which can process one standard drink an hour, and if it isn’t metabolised, it circulates in your blood, reaching every single cell until it recycles through all your capillaries and arteries and veins to your liver again, which then processes it until it is all turned into acetate.

It will do this in priority to every other function of digestion, since alcohol is so toxic, that your body must get rid of it. If you take other drugs with it, it will process alcohol first and foremost.


The effect of alcohol on your brain is first your forebrain with reasoning and judgement, that is why we think we are sooooo good looking after a couple of drinks (hehe). Then your midbrain, which controls muscular control and coordination, so we are sooo good looking and we can DANCE, hehe, although not very well. Lastly the alcohol affects your hindbrain which is respiration and heart rate, or the part of your brain that keeps these functions going. That is why if you have had too much to drink, you will pass out, and this is a good thing, because when you are flat on your back, your body can breathe and sustain your heart beat, and not give any other energy to any other function.


Of course if you drink too much before you pass out, the alcohol can affect this part of your brain, and you can go into a coma or die, so take it easy, hey! And if your mate is passed out, just leave him in peace. It is a good thing, and it stops him from drinking more!

Some tips

Some people don’t drink at all. I know how nice this can be. It is a hugely calorific beverage contributing 19 kJ/ g which is a lot more than protein or carbohydrate but less than fat, so it is not the best thing to drink all the time! I just had four weeks abstinence, which was nice, and I know that about 13 % of men and 25 % of women do abstain from alcohol, however 17 % of men and 10 % of women exceed the harmful level. So please be careful this year!

The guidelines say that to avert any life time consequences of drinking that you should drink no more than two standard drinks a day, and to avert damage in one session, less than four in one sitting. I must say I am one of the people who exceeds this at times, but I think that after seeing how nice abstinence is, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an every day food!

Drinking on a full stomach

The other thing you may like to know is that eating a meal before drinking can be helpful, because alcohol requires no digestion and is passively absorbed from your stomach and small intestine. If you have a full stomach, this retards absorption and slows it down. About 20 % of alcohol is absorbed in the liver and remainder in the small intestine.

Men often don’t suffer the same effects as women drinking, because women often have lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase, a lower first pass liver uptake and a smaller total blood volume than men. So women’s risks of higher blood alcohol levels and liver disease are increased.

One other thing you might like to know is that bubbly alcohol like champagne or beer, exerts pressure in the stomach and forces the alcohol into your blood stream quicker than still versions of the alcoholic beverages, so you can feel the effects quicker.


I hope you all have a lovely and *safe Christmas, and don’t over indulge too much! I also hope you have a lovely time and enjoy yourselves!!


1 Comment
  • Pingback:A tropical white Christmas margarita recipe - My Health Zest
    Posted at 13:20h, 13 December Reply

    […] alcohol, because it isn’t the greatest for brain health and overall longevity, but we will make an exception at Christmas! I find that one of these margaritas is enough to really stimulate my cockles. And then I move on […]

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