which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?

which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?

which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?

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Which of the following organs does NOT help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?

Answer: Spleen

How is Alcohol Eliminated from the Body?

Once ethanol is in the circulation, it reaches all tissues in the body, including the brain, where it causes intoxication. Our bodies are designed to terminate the action of drugs, including alcohol, so that the intoxication doesn’t persist when a person stops drinking. In fact, the body starts eliminating ethanol before it even gets into the general circulation!

Ethanol moves from the GI tract to the liver

When a person consumes alcohol, the first place that the alcohol goes after it leaves the GI tract is the liver (Figure 1.10). Once it enters the capillaries surrounding the stomach and small intestines, the capillaries lead to the portal vein, which enters the liver and branches out once again into capillaries. Ethanol diffuses from the capillaries (with the concentration gradient) into the nearby hepatic cells (the major cells of the liver).
In the hepatic (liver) cells, some of the ethanol is converted, or detoxified by enzymes to inactive products. This process is called metabolism, and the products are called metabolites.

which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?
which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?

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Alcohol is metabolized in 2 stages

Metabolism of drugs by liver enzymes serves two purposes. First, metabolism is a way of “turning off” the action of a drug. In general, metabolites have less biological activity relative to the parent compound, although there are some exceptions to this rule, as we will see with ethanol.

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Second, metabolism helps to convert the drug into a more polar (water-soluble) form so it can be carried in the bloodstream to the kidneys, where it is excreted in the urine (water-based). During metabolism, the enzymes are catalysts; they help speed up the reactions; however, the metabolism speed is different for different people, based on their genetics.

Stage 1: Ethanol to acetaldehyde

Although some alcohol is metabolized in the stomach, the primary site of metabolism is in the liver. The cytoplasm of liver cells contain an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) that catalyzes the oxidation of ethanol to acetaldehyde (Figure 1.11). The oxidation occurs when ethanol binds to a site on the ADH enzyme and loses some electrons in the form of H atoms. Actually ethanol gives up 2 H atoms to another molecule that also binds to ADH. In this case, the recipient molecule of the electrons is called a coenzyme. Without the coenzyme, the ADH enzyme won’t work very well.

The primary metabolite of ethanol oxidation, is acetaldehyde. This compound is relatively toxic, and it is responsible for alcohol-related facial flushing, headaches, nausea, and increased heart rate. These toxic effects of acetaldehyde contribute to the alcohol “hang-over” that persists for a significant time after drinking. Acetaldehyde is also carcinogenic (i.e., it can cause cancer). If too much acetaldehyde builds up, it increases the risk of stomach and intestinal cancer. But stage 2 metabolism helps lessen this risk.

which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?
which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?

Stage 2: Acetaldehyde to acetic acid

The body has a natural way to “get rid” of the acetaldehyde…remember, this is toxic to the body. There is a second liver enzyme, present in the mitochondria, called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). ALDH metabolizes acetaldehyde to acetic acid (Figure 1.11), which is inactive. The acetic acid is eventually converted in the cell into carbon dioxide and water. Some people do not have the ability to metabolize acetaldehyde very well. When they drink alcohol, acetaldehyde accumulates in the blood and makes them feel sick.

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They have facial flushing, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and a rapid heart rate. The reason that some people can’t metabolize acetaldehyde very well is because they have a form of ALDH that has a mutation in the gene that codes for it. The form of ALDH that has the mutation is very inefficient at metabolizing acetaldehyde. People with this genetic mutation do not like to drink alcohol because it makes them feel bad. They are also at higher risk of getting gastric cancers.

Why does alcohol get into the bloodstream so quickly?

Alcohol is absorbed very quickly by the blood and spreads easily to all organs because alcohol molecules are very tiny. They don’t have to be broken down by digestive enzymes to get into the blood and they dissolve easily in water and fat – both main components of the human body.

Why is alcohol absorbed more quickly when the stomach is empty?

Alcohol moves quickly from the mouth to the stomach and on to the intestines. Some of it is absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth and esophagus, some through the walls of the stomach and the rest is absorbed by the intestines, mainly the small intestine.

If there is no solid food in the stomach or intestines, the alcohol will come into contact with the intestinal walls more easily and pass quickly into the blood. All the alcohol of one drink may be absorbed within 30 minutes.

If your stomach is relatively full, the alcohol will stay there longer. The absorption process will be slower and may take up to 90 minutes.

Why is stronger alcohol absorbed more slowly?

Beverages that are more than 20 per cent alcohol irritate the lining of the stomach. This slows the opening of the valve that allows the contents of the stomach pass into the small intestine. Drinking several shots of spirits one after the other in the hope of getting drunk quickly may actually produce a delayed reaction.

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which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?
which of the following organs does not help remove alcohol from the bloodstream?

Why does alcohol go to your head so quickly?

Once it’s in the bloodstream, alcohol spreads to all parts of the body and goes into all tissues containing water. Because alcohol is carried by blood, it is delivered particularly quickly to organs with many blood vessels, such as the brain, lungs and liver.

Why is there alcohol in the breath you exhale and in breast milk?

About 10 per cent of alcohol is eliminated as is, through urine or perspiration. It can also be eliminated through the breath, since the bloodstream carries it to the lungs. This is why a breathalyzer can measure your blood alcohol level.

How is alcohol metabolized by the liver?

About 90 per cent of alcohol is eliminated by the body’s metabolism. While the kidneys and gastro-intestinal tract play a role in this process, the liver is the main organ responsible for transforming alcohol absorbed by the blood into substances that your body can process and eliminate.

Why do different people eliminate alcohol differently?

No matter how much or how little you drink, your liver can only metabolize about one standard drink per hour. Other factors include age, gender, weight and how much food you’ve had to eat.

 

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