It's Friday afternoon, you've made it through the long week, and it's time for Happy Hour, Gizmodo's weekly booze column. A cocktail shaker full of innovation, science, and alcohol. It's a scientific rager!
After alcohol is swallowed, it is absorbed primarily from the small intestine into the veins that collect blood from the stomach and bowels and from the portal vein, which leads to the liver. From there it is carried to the liver, where it is exposed to enzymes and metabolized... BAC [Blood-Alcohol Content] is influenced by environmental factors (such as the rate of alcohol drinking, the presence of food in the stomach, and the type of alcoholic beverage) and genetic factors (variations in the principal alcohol-metabolizing enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase [ADH] and aldehyde dehydrogenase [ALDH2]).
Maximum Volume, Minimum Impact
General fatigue or tiredness will lead to a higher BAC than normal as one's liver is less efficient at processing and/or eliminating alcohol when one's general energy level is low. Furthermore, as alcohol is a depressant, consuming alcohol when tired will, in general, simply increase one's level of tiredness while magnifying alcohol's traditional effects.
You're also going to needs some electrolytes. Sports drinks like Gatorade are electrolyte-balanced to help with rehydration, but they also have a lot of sugar. You know what's better? Those little pouches of Emergen-C. They're cheap, it's easy to keep a few in your pocket, AND they have all the B vitamins you need. Epic win.
Some also recommend taking aspirin as you drink (do not exceed recommended doses). Aspirin has been show to interfere with the action of alcohol dehydrogenases, thus slowing down the rate of absorption. While it may keep you sober longer, there is potential for harmful interaction, so we cannot recommend this. Using Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a definite DON'T as you can really damage your liver.
Maybe people choose to caffeinate while drinking. It's true that it will keep you more alert, but it will not keep you more sober. In fact, this goes against the "listen to your body rule," because you are artificially tricking it into thinking it's better off than it is. This can lead to too much drinking, too fast, and serious black-out experiences. Also, caffeine is a diuretic, like alcohol, so it will further dehydrate you. We're not saying we never do this, we're just saying that you should be careful when you do. Four Loko was banned for a reason.
So if you know that you're going to a wild daytime party in two weeks, get your body used to the alcohol. Staying totally sober for two weeks to "get ready for the party" will be like going 0 to 60 way faster than your body can handle. Don't binge, but do drink enough to build a tolerance to the chemicals. Afterward, detox
Above all, think
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