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Can you speed up BAC metabolism?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | DUI

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a percentage-based measurement of the amount of alcohol present in an individual’s bloodstream. It helps to clarify legal intoxication and can impact a person’s ability to drive or perform other tasks. 

Many people understandably wonder if there are ways to speed up the metabolism of alcohol to lower their BAC more quickly. Unfortunately, the reality is that once alcohol is in your system, there is no safe or effective way to expedite its metabolism.

What affects BAC metabolism (and what doesn’t)?

When alcohol enters your body, it is absorbed into your bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine. The liver then metabolizes the alcohol, breaking it down into acetaldehyde, which is further broken down into acetate, and finally into water and carbon dioxide, which are excreted from the body. Most of the time, the human liver can process about one standard drink per hour. Factors such as age, weight, whether there is food in one’s system already or not and overall health can influence this rate, but the process itself cannot be significantly sped up.

For example, a popular myth is that drinking coffee can sober you up. While caffeine might make you feel more alert, it does not speed up the liver’s ability to metabolize alcohol. Your BAC will remain the same regardless of how much coffee you drink. The same can be said for drinking water, taking a cold shower, eating and other “tricks” that are supposed to speed up your liver’s functioning. 

The only reliable way to lower your BAC is to allow your body the time it needs to metabolize alcohol naturally. Depending on your liver’s efficiency and the amount of alcohol you have consumed, this process can take several hours. Planning ahead and understanding your limits are the best strategies for managing your BAC accordingly.