How long does alcohol stay in your body?

Combien de temps l'alcool reste-t-il dans votre corps ?

Alcohol is has a relatively short lifespan in the body. 

Once alcohol has entered your bloodstream, your body will begin to metabolize it at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) per hour. 

This means that if your blood alcohol level was 40 mg/dL, it would take about two hours to metabolize the alcohol.

How long does it take for the effects of alcohol to wear off?

Alcohol is metabolized at a constant rate, but some people may feel the effects of alcohol for longer. This is because blood alcohol concentrations can vary between people and situations.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol in your blood relative to the amount of water in your blood.

For example, if two people each have a blood alcohol level of 20 mg/dL, the alcohol will metabolize in about an hour in each person, but their blood alcohol levels may be very different.

Many factors can affect blood alcohol levels and your reaction to alcohol, including:

  • age
  • The weight
  • Drink alcohol on an empty stomach
  • Taking medication
  • liver disease
  • Drinking many drinks in a short time, which is also known as binge drinking

It's also important to know the amount of alcohol in your drink, as this will determine how long it takes to metabolize your drink.

For example, some beers have a higher alcohol content, which affects how much alcohol you consume with a single drink.

Here are general estimates of how long it takes to metabolize different alcoholic beverages, although these times vary depending on the amount of alcohol in the drink.

There are steps you can take to reduce the effects of alcohol .

  • Food can help your body absorb alcohol.
  • Water can help lower your blood alcohol level, although it will still take an hour to metabolize 20 mg/dL of alcohol.
  • Avoid caffeine. It's a myth that coffee, energy drinks, or any other similar drink lowers alcohol levels faster.

How is alcohol metabolized?

When you consume alcohol , it first enters the digestive system. However, alcohol is not digested like food and other drinks. 

About 20% alcohol from a single drink travels directly to the blood vessels. From there it is carried to your brain. 

The rest of the 80% goes into your small intestine and then directly into your bloodstream.

The final stage of alcohol's life cycle is its elimination from the body through the liver. Any problem with your liver can slow this process down.

Urine and breath tests

Urine tests can detect alcohol long after you've had your last drink.

These tests look for traces of alcohol metabolites. The average urine test can detect alcohol between 12 and 48 hours after drinking . More advanced tests can measure alcohol in urine 80 hours after drinking.

Breath tests for alcohol can detect alcohol in a shorter time. This represents about 24 hours on average.

A small machine called a breathalyzer measures your blood alcohol level.

Any number above 0.02 is considered unsafe for driving or other safety-related tasks.

Alcohol can stay in your hair for up to 90 days. It can also be temporarily detected in saliva, sweat and blood.`

The rate at which alcohol can stay in your system depends on a variety of factors. 

The main thing is safety and moderation. 

Keep your intake to a few drinks per week and avoid binge drinking. 

Also, make sure you have a route lined up if you're drinking away from home. Even if you are below the legal limit, it is never safe to drive with any amount of alcohol.

Reading next

Les effets néfastes de l'alcool sur votre santé
Les 20 aliments les plus riches en protéines