2012-01-13

The Alcohol Buzz.

It's Friday, so let's talk about Friday's drink of choice: Alcohol. Alcohol is a substrate for the p450 detoxification system in the liver. Basically, alcohol revs-up your detox pathway and when this happens you feel the typical "buzz" of alcohol.

However, you can lose this buzz if you drink the same amount every time. For instance, if you regularly drink two beers a night, your body will eventually adapt to this amount of alcohol stimulation and you will lose that tipsy feeling. Now in order to feel the buzz, you'll need to drink three beers. And then again overtime, it'll take four beers to feel anything.

This happens because more p450 enzymes are made in response to the constant, regular supply of alcohol. When the body realizes that there is a regular amount of alcohol present and that these alcohol molecules are stimulating the p450 enzymes (i.e. there is a constant supply of two beers worth of alcohol molecules). Now that there are more enzymes made, you'll need to drink more alcohol in order to stimulate the increased number of enzymes. Think of the lock and key analogy: alcohol is the key and p450 enzymes are the locks. When there are more keys present, the body makes more locks for them to fit into. You won't feel the alcohol buzz until all of the keys fit into locks.

And it is not a good think to have to drink more in order to get a buzz; it means your alcohol intake is altering the biochemistry of your liver. Two ways to readjust your alcohol tolerance:

1) Don't drink everyday. Give your liver a break whenever you can.
2) Don't always drink the same amount. If you usually have two glasses of wine on Saturday nights, try having just one for a week or two. This change will help to reset the level of p450 enzymes.

2 comments:

  1. My "locks" have been welded shut. Doesn't matter because I lost the "keys" and I don't intend of looking for them. lol
    but srly I never knew that's how one become dependant.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cute analogy "lost the keys" :)

    ReplyDelete

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