3820 – Sobering Up

Hangover explained: How the body metabolizes alcohol

Hangover explained: How the body metabolizes alcohol

From a headache and generally feeling unwell, to loss of control, nausea and loss of consciousness: Drinking too much is likely to have unpleasant consequences – from a ‘hangover’ to life-threatening alcohol intoxication. Intoxication? That’s right, because even though we consume beer, wine and champagne for enjoyment, ethanol is a neurotoxin, and the liver is hard at work breaking it down even after just one glass. What exactly does this process involve in the body?

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AlcoDigital 3820 Breathalyzer

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Whether you’re new to us or are an existing customer you can purchase the AlcoDigital 3820 directly on this website.


Sobering up: How it works

Reducing the BAC is a metabolic process during which alcohol (ethanol) is broken down into harmless substances and then excreted.

  • A minimal amount of the alcohol is excreted directly via the skin, kidneys and lungs, which among other things results in that 'boozy' smell.
  • The alcohol enters the bloodstream via the digestive organs – primarily the mucous membranes of the small intestine.
  • 90 to 98% of the alcohol is metabolized by the liver. This metabolic procedure takes place in three steps.
  • Step 1: The enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase breaks the alcohol down into acetaldehyde. Among other things, this toxin is responsible for the hangover.
  • Step 2: Acetaldehyde is then converted to acetic acid by the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), and subsequently released into the body fluids.
  • Step 3: A series of additional enzymes converts the acetic acid into carbon dioxide and water. These are excreted via the breath, sweat and urine.

6 ‘sobering’ facts you should know

There are many myths and legends on the subject of alcohol and sobering up. We show you some facts – even if they might be unpleasant.

Is there a rule of thumb? Not when it comes to calculating blood alcohol levels!

Putting into practice a rough rule of thumb is somewhat risky. And blood alcohol calculators on the Internet or apps are only as accurate as the data entered. People who want to act in a responsible manner when driving need accurate readings. An alcohol breath test is easier, faster and more accurate than a ‘theoretical’ calculation. More about the various measuring methods can be found in the Dräger Review Special, ‘Drugs and Alcohol’.

Download Dräger Review (PDF)

Precision breath alcohol content check

Fast, clean and above all, reliable: Using the AlcoDigital 3820, you can measure your breath alcohol content with the same technology and precision as police officers. In just a few seconds you have an accurate result you can rely on.

Please note

The morning after drinking, your driving can still be impaired even if you are below the legal drink drive limit. If you do not feel safe to drive – do not drive – even if you are below the drink drive limit.

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