Routes of Ingestion and Metabolism of Alcohol

Alcohol is normally ingested by drinking it. But there are other routes of alcohol ingestion as mentioned in HAMs which are as follows:

  • inhalation: vaporised alcohol can be inhales and lead to intoxication 10 times faster than drinking.
  • transdermal: this is a slow method and the alcohol is absorbed through the skin.
  • Alcohol enema and injection: these two methods are extremely dangerous as alcohol is rapidly absorbed. the risk of alcohol poisoning is very high.

When orally ingested, alcohol passes through the gastrointestinal tract. it is absorbed primarily from the small intestine into the veins collecting blood from the stomach, bowels and the portal vein. Through the portal vein it enters the liver where it is metabolised by the enzymes (Zakhari, N.D). Liver is the main organ where metabolism occurs while stomach also helps.

alcohol metabolism
Fig.1 Metabolism of alcohol (Oxidative pathway) by three enzymes- Alcohol dehydrogenase, cytochrome P450 and catalase. (Source of image: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh294/245-255.htm)

Sources:

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