Alcohol metabolism
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Alcohol Metabolism. Jill Conan Carrie Darr Leanne Phillips . Alcohol. Also known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol Considered the same whether beverage is wine, beer or hard liquor Classified as a food but contains empty calories. Not digested like other foods

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Alcohol metabolism
Alcohol Metabolism

Jill Conan

Carrie Darr

Leanne Phillips


  • Also known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol

  • Considered the same whether beverage is wine, beer or hard liquor

  • Classified as a food but contains empty calories

Alcohol digestion

Not digested like other foods

It can go directly into the bloodstream

Alcohol absorption throughout the GI tract

It is quickly distributed throughout the body

Alcohol Digestion

Alcohol absorption
Alcohol Absorption

  • Can be absorbed into the bloodstream at:

    • Mouth

    • Esophagus

    • Stomach

    • Small Intestine

Absorption in the stomach
Absorption in the Stomach

  • About 20% to 25% is absorbed

  • Factors that influence absorption:

    the rate of intake

    presence of food

    the rate of gastric emptying

Absorption in the small intestine
Absorption in the Small Intestine

  • 75-80% is absorbed. 

  • This absorption is extremely rapid.

Alcohol metabolism pathways
Alcohol Metabolism: Pathways

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase (ADH)

    • Stomach

    • Liver

  • Microsomal Ethanol Oxidizing System (MEOS)

    • Liver

Adh pathway
ADH Pathway

  • In the cytoplasm, ADH converts ethanol to acetaldehyde

    CH3-CH2-OH + NAD+ CH3-CHO + NADH + H+

    Ethanol ADH Acetaldehyde

Adh pathway1
ADH Pathway

  • In the mitochondria, acetaldehyde is converted to acetate and in turn acetate is converted to acetyl CoA which leads the two-carbon molecule into the TCA cycle

    CH3-CHO + NAD+ CH3-COOH + NADH + H+

    Acetaldehyde ADH Acetate

Microsomal ethanol oxidizing system meos
Microsomal Ethanol Oxidizing System (MEOS)

  • Alternate pathway used, in addition to ADH, when alcohol intake is excessive

  • End products include:

    • Ethanol  acetaldehyde

    • NADPH + H+  NADP+

      No ATP formation = Energy Wasteful

Adh and meos pathway
ADH and MEOS Pathway

Ethanol Acetaldehyde



Acetyl CoA

Effects on body
Effects on body


  • Fatty liver

  • Cirrhosis

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Effects on body cont
Effects on Body (cont)……

Central Nervous System

  • When intoxication occurs it affects emotional and sensory function, judgment, memory and learning ability

  • Smell and taste are dulled

  • Ability to withstand pain increases

  • Long term effects include tolerance, dependency and irreversible damage

  • Brain is most affected

Effects on body cont1
Effects on Body (cont)……


  • Blood-Sludging

  • Anemia

  • Weakness of bone structure

  • Decrease resistance to infection and inability to fight off infections

Effects on body cont2
Effects on Body (cont)……


  • Reduced blood flow. Causing muscle weakness and deterioration

  • Irregular heartbeat, sluggish heart, and muscle aches

Effects on body cont3
Effects on Body (cont)……


  • Sedates glands

  • Sexual functioning

    -Low doses decrease inhibitions

    -High doses decrease sexual functioning for

    men and women


  • Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, 3rd Edition. J. Groff, and S. Cooper, Wadsworth Publishing Co. 1999.