The liver is responsible for the elimination – through metabolism – of 95% of ingested alcohol from the body. The remainder of the alcohol is eliminated through excretion of alcohol in breath, urine, sweat, feces, milk and saliva.
Healthy people metabolize alcohol at a fairly consistent rate. As a rule of thumb, a person will eliminate one average drink or .5 oz (15 ml) of alcohol per hour. Several factors influence this rate. The rate of elimination tends to be higher when the blood alcohol concentration in the body is very high. Also chronic alcoholics may (depending on liver health) metabolize alcohol at a significantly higher rate than the average. Finally, the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol quickly tend to diminish with age.
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