About 10 percent of consumed alcohol is absorbed from the stomach, the remainder from the small intestine. Peak blood concentration of alcohol is reached in 30 to 90 minutes. Alcohol intake without food enhance the absorption whereas, intake with food, delays the absorption. The time to peak blood concentration also depends upon the time during which the alcohol is consumed, rapid intaking reduces the time to peak concentration, whereas, slower drinking increases it. Absorption is most rapid with beverages containing 15_30 percent alcohol. The body has protective devices against inundation by alcohol.
For example, if the concentration of alcohol in stomach becomes too much, mucus is secreted, and the pyloric valves closed. These actions slow the absorption and keep the alcohol away from passing into small intestine, where maximum absorption takes place. Thus, a large amount of alcohol remains unabsorbed in stomach for hours. Furthermore, pylorospasm often results in nausea and vomiting. Once alcohol is absorbed in blood stream, it is distributed to all body tissues. Because the alcohol is uniformly dissolved in body’s water, tissues containing high proportion of water receive a high concentration of alcohol. The intoxicating effects are greater when the blood alcohol concentration is rising than when it is falling. For this reason, the rate of absorption bears directly on the intoxication response.