Why women get drunker, faster
Aug 27, 2013 / 5:00 am
For generations we have known that women become intoxicated more quickly and to a greater degree than men. So beware ladies, your ability to metabolize alcohol is not as great as it is for your male counterparts. A recent study reported in Scientific American stated:
"It has been known for a long time that, in general, both women and female animals are more susceptible to the negative or toxic effects of alcohol. This is true for the liver, heart muscle and skeletal muscle, and it may be true for the pancreas and the brain. In other words, there is something about the female gender that makes them more susceptible to toxic amounts of alcohol."
A team of Italian and American researchers discovered that women have smaller amounts of a stomach enzyme called 'alcohol dehydrogenase'. It is this enzyme that breaks down and limits the amount of alcohol that enters the bloodstream; the rest is metabolized by similar enzymes in the liver. This difference between men and women accounts for females absorbing 30% more alcohol than men. Alcoholic women show almost no enzyme activity at all; they may as well be injecting the alcohol directly into their veins.
An article in Time magazine reports that these findings are reflected in other studies as well; however, other researchers have declared that the sharper rise in the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of females can also be attributed to fat and body weight. Women have more fat and less water than men, and it is distributed differently. When alcohol is absorbed it quickly moves toward the fat, and the brain is composed mostly of fat.
Taking into account the weight difference between the average man and woman, a mere 2 oz. of liquor has about the same effect on a woman as 4 oz. would on a man.
The BAC of a 70 kilogram man who is obese will rise faster than that of a 70 kilogram man who is muscular; however, a male and a female of equal weight and build will find the woman becoming more rapidly intoxicated.
Drinking alcohol results in special risks for women involving not only complications in pregnancy and in bodily health but also in the destructive and unwanted social outcomes associated with decreased restraint created by alcohol.
In short, if you are female and you drink, by all means enjoy a social beverage but be aware that the first one diminishes your ability to say 'no' to a second.
Read more Breaking Through! articles
- Driving under the influence Dec 3
- Triggers & cravings: Part 1 Nov 19
- What's post-acute withdrawl? Part 2 Nov 5
- What's post-acute withdrawl? Part 1 Oct 22
- What causes addiction? Part 2 of 2 Oct 8
- What causes addiction? Part 1 of 2 Sep 24
- I wanna be a social drinker! Sep 10
- Why women get drunker, faster Aug 27
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