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Explanation of how alcohol is metabolised in a human body - Essay Example

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ALCOHOL METABOLISM By Institution Date When a person consumes alcohol, about 2 to 8 percent of the alcohol goes out through urine, sweat and breath. The remaining 92 percent is metabolized in the human body. The main organ that metabolizes alcohol is the liver…
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Explanation of how alcohol is metabolised in a human body
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Download file to see previous pages Acetaldehyde is a poison that is related to formaldehyde. The acetyl acid is a component of vinegar and its radical is the combining form of the acid. The acetyl acid radical combines with Coenzyme A in the formation of acetyl-CoA that goes into the Krebs Cycle that acts as the basic powerhouse in the body of a human being. In the Krebs Cycle, the acetyl acid radical is broken down into water and carbon dioxide. The figure below shows how alcohol is metabolized in a human body When metabolizing alcohol, the human body uses three different enzymes to convert alcohol into acetaldehyde. All the three enzymes work in their different ways to strip two hydrogen atoms from the alcohol molecule. This process converts the alcohol molecule into an acetaldehyde molecule. The acetaldehyde is converted to acetyl radical by a different enzyme. The three enzymes include the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), cytochrome P450 (CYP2E1), and catalase enzymes. The three enzymes are found in different parts of the body and handle the hydrogen atoms in different ways. Non-liver tissues, such as the brain metabolize alcohol with Cytochrome and catalase enzymes (Starr, et al., 2008, p. 103). It has been found that some people get intoxicated more than others do, for instance between men and women, East Asians and American Indians, older males, menopausal women and people with liver damage among others. The reason behind this is that women have much lesser alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme in the stomach compared to men. Therefore, women get drunk more than men do when they drink the same amount of alcohol under same conditions. In terms of East Asians and American Indians, they produce ALD2*2 that is less efficient in converting acetaldehyde compared to ALD2. They also have a more efficient alcohol dehydrogenase than any other genetic background. Older males produce less alcohol dehydrogenase and are likely to be more intoxicated than younger men are. Hormone changes in menopausal women make them become more intoxicated. Therefore, more or less intoxication can be attributed to the production of less or more alcohol dehydrogenase and ALD2*2. This factor is important in traffic accidents because a person may consume a less amount of alcohol but because his body mechanism produces less alcohol dehydrogenase, he or she will become drunk and likely cause an accident. This applies similarly to people who produce ALD2*2 that is less effective in breaking down acetaldehyde. The Breathalyzer is used in measuring the amount of alcohol found in a person’s breath. A Breathalyzer works works in a similar manner to the diabetic testing strips or pool testing kits. It contains a collection gadget; that is, a straw that is attached to a cylinder. The cylinder has two vials that have a solution of potassium dichromate, silver nitrate, sulfuric acid and water. The person being tested blows air into the straw for about 2 to 4 seconds. The air goes through the vials where the silver nitrate will act as a catalyst to initiate and fasten the process. The sulfuric acid eliminates the alcohol from the air and produces the acidic condition that enables the next process to go on. The alcohol is then absorbed into the liquid solution where the potassium dichromate breaks it down into chromium sulfate, acetic acid, water and potassium sulfate. This process causes a color change. The chromium ion is green while the dichromate ion is reddish orange. The color change reflects the amount of alc ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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