Does Carbonation Slow The Rate Of Alcohol Absorption
Alcohol is a fairly simple molecule composed of two hydrogen atoms attached to an ethanol molecule. As such, it’s pretty easy for our organs and tissues to break down and absorb into the bloodstream. But there are some things that can slow this process down. For example, eating solid foods will cause your body to take longer to digest them than liquids, which means less time for their components to get absorbed into your blood stream. And if you’re drinking on an empty stomach, your body won’t have much need for the nutrients already present within a few ounces of booze, so they’ll sit around doing nothing until you’ve guzzled enough booze to make up for it.
One thing that can speed up alcohol absorption, however, is carbon dioxide gas. This happens because when you swallow alcohol, the carbon dioxide produced by its breakdown reacts with the acidity in your mouth and throat to create carbonic acid (H2CO3). In other words, carbonated drinks can help your body metabolize more alcohol per drink than non-carbonated ones — not only because they contain more alcohol but also because they produce more carbon dioxide. So what exactly does this mean? Does this mean that popping open a cold one leads to quicker drunkenness? Not necessarily…
According to research published in 2005 in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, consuming three beers (two lagers/ales and one white wine) over 5 hours produces about 30 percent higher levels of the active ingredient in marijuana called THC than when the same amount of beer was consumed over 8 hours without any extra carbonation. However, researchers found no difference between how quickly subjects became intoxicated from the same amount of vodka consumed at the same rate of consumption. It seems that while the presence of carbonation may facilitate rapid cannabis uptake after heavy alcohol intake, other factors like the size of the dose and how fast it’s ingested play larger roles in determining whether or not people become drunk as opposed to high as a result.
Other research has shown that the size of the dose plays a bigger role than the presence of carbonation. A study conducted in 2003 by scientists at Yale University School of Medicine showed that the average man could consume anywhere from 3 to 6 standard alcoholic drinks before his brain registered the presence of alcohol. If he drank the exact same number of standard drinks in a room filled with carbon dioxide, it would take him four times longer to register the fact that he’d had anything at all. When the researchers broke the experiment down even further, they discovered that the reason why carbonation helps alcohol go down easier is simply due to the way we perceive taste. According to the study’s authors, “In the absence of CO2, alcohol tastes very bitter.”
So don’t be fooled — despite the studies showing that carbonation actually increases the rate of absorption of alcohol, it shouldn’t lead anyone to think that drinking lots of cold brew coffee at home will speed up the onset of drunkenness. If you want to enjoy a cup of joe without having to worry about getting hammered first, try adding a little bit of sugar or sweetener to reduce the bitterness of the coffee.
If you’ve got a hangover coming on, you might still want to consider popping open that soda. Some doctors recommend drinking a glass of water right after finishing off a couple of beers. That should help flush out the toxins.
To learn more about the science behind alcohol, pick up a copy of ‘How Drunk Are You?’ by Michael R. Phillips.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women are about twice as likely as men to die as a result of taking ecstasy. Ecstasy users typically consume large quantities of the drug over short periods of time, leading to dehydration, kidney problems, heart failure, respiratory depression and intense anxiety attacks. Although ecstasy use is illegal throughout most of the world, a 2002 survey revealed that approximately 2 million Americans aged 12 years and older used ecstasy during their lifetime. Ecstasy causes the release of neurotransmitters in the brain; these chemicals trigger pleasure responses in humans similar to those caused by opiates like morphine.
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