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How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Blood?

Picture showing the factors affecting the metabolism of alcohol

Alcohol consumption is a vital part of modern-day lifestyle. But excess of anything is not good, and alcohol is no exception. 

Different people may have diverse mechanisms to absorb alcohol, but the ultimate result is the same.

Your body’s capacity to digest alcohol depends on several variables, such as age, weight, gender, and the quantity of food consumed. The liver is the critical organ for breaking down alcohol, metabolizing one standard drink per hour for men.

Key Takeaways

Alcohol is a part of modern culture, but it doesn’t mean alcohol is beneficial for your health. Excessive drinking may produce unwanted results.

  • Alcohol can be detected in your body from 6 hours to 90 days, depending on multiple factors.
  • The liver is the central component of alcohol absorption which breaks down more than 80% of your total consumption.
  • The factors that may affect the metabolism process of alcohol include biological sex, age, body size, food, and medications.
  • Lifestyle changes are another factor that significantly affects the process of metabolism.

If you’re one of the millions of individuals struggling with alcohol addiction, seek professional help from the Haven Detox-South Florida.

Alcohol Detection Sensitivity

Several variables affect how long alcohol lingers in your system. The body’s metabolism of alcohol takes time. One standard drink typically takes one hour to process. 

The type of test being utilized is just one of several variables that affect how long alcohol is detectable in the body. 

In most circumstances, depending on the type of detection test utilized, alcohol can remain in your system for 6 to 72 hours.

Alcohol can remain in the body for up to:

  • Six hours in the blood
  • 12 to 24 hours on the breath
  • 12 to 24 hours in the urine
  • 12 to 24 hours in the saliva
  • 90 days in the hair

14 grams of alcohol make one standard drink, the quantity found in:

  • 12 ounces of beer with 5% ethanol
  • 5 ounces of wine with 12% ethanol
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits with 40% ethanol

Alcohol reaches its peak blood levels 60 to 90 minutes after you start drinking. The body then begins to digest it. Alcohol has a four to five-hour half-life. However, it takes around five half-lives to eliminate alcohol. 

Therefore, it takes your body roughly 25 hours to eliminate the alcohol.

How Alcohol Metabolizes

The process that your body uses to consume and metabolize alcohol is simple. Alcohol does not go through substantial digestion in the digestive tract like food does, even though it does pass through the digestive system.

Alcohol moves to the stomach and small intestine after being consumed and entering the digestive system. Your stomach may absorb about 20% of alcohol. Most of the remaining 80% of alcohol is consumed in the small intestine before entering the bloodstream.

Alcohol affects many bodily systems because it is rapidly carried throughout the body once it is in circulation. The liver, where the great bulk of alcohol metabolism occurs, is where most alcohol enters the body.

Alcohol reaches the upper gastrointestinal system through the small intestine and stomach tissue lining. After entering the bloodstream, it circulates through the body and eventually reaches the brain.

A healthy liver can typically break down one standard drink in one hour. Your body system becomes saturated if you ingest more than one drink. The brain and other body tissues may suffer harm if this occurs too frequently or quickly.

The absorption process may be faster on an empty stomach. Alcohol can be absorbed by food, prevented from touching the stomach lining, or moved more slowly from the stomach into the duodenum.

The Factors that Affect the Metabolism Process of Alcohol

Although alcohol is metabolized consistently, some people may experience its long-term effects. This is because people’s blood alcohol levels can vary for a number of the reasons listed below:

Biological Sex

Alcohol is digested differently by women than by men for a variety of physiological reasons, and it will linger in a woman’s system longer. This is mainly because women typically have smaller body water and a higher body fat percentage than a man’s body.

This means that even if two people are the same height and weight, a man’s body will dilute the alcohol more than a woman’s. 

Women who drink alcohol just before menstruation will have greater BAC since hormone levels also influence the body’s capacity to absorb alcohol.


The length of intoxication and danger of liver damage increases with age because alcohol stays in the liver longer before entering the bloodstream. With aging, the body’s water content decreases, raising the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

Additionally, older people are more likely to use medications, which also impact the liver. Because of all of these things, the body processes alcohol more slowly.

Body Mass

The mass of your body can also affect alcohol digestion. People with more body mass may have higher BAC because low-water fatty tissue cannot digest alcohol to the same amount as high-water muscular tissue.

In line with this, a person who is exceptionally muscular but shorter in height will have a higher BAC than someone of the same size but with the same composition.


Before drinking, eating a meal and keeping food in your stomach can significantly affect how quickly alcohol is absorbed. Food slows the stomach’s emptying into the small intestine, where alcohol is absorbed rapidly and helps to dilute the alcohol.

Peak BAC may be up to three times higher in those who haven’t eaten before drinking than in those who have. Regular meals and snacks can encourage liver enzyme activity and reduce the absorption of alcohol.


Certain drugs may interact with alcohol and change metabolism, impacting the body’s capacity to handle alcohol. Some drugs hamper the stomach’s ability to empty into the small intestine and liver, which makes it easier for alcohol to be absorbed quickly.

The following medications are specifically known to interact with alcohol:

Exercise and Lifestyle

Lifestyle changes can significantly change the metabolism process of alcohol in your body. Daily exercise is one-way alcohol might be eliminated faster than usual. 

During training, all the body parts move, and the circulation of blood increases which helps in alcohol metabolism.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does alcohol take to get out of the blood system?

Multiple factors affect how long alcohol remains in your blood system. Your body can take one hour to process one standard drink. The type of alcohol testing being utilized is just one of several variables that affect how long alcohol is detectable in the body.
About 0.015 grams of alcohol are excreted from the bloodstream per hour. A blood test sample can spot alcohol for up to 12 hours.
The ethyl glucuronide (EtG) test may identify alcohol in urine for up to 5 days, while the conventional approach can detect it for 10 to 12 hours.
Alcohol can be seen in a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days, just like other drugs.

Can a blood test tell if you have been drinking?

A blood alcohol test determines the alcohol level in your blood. If you’ve been consuming alcoholic beverages, you will have alcohol in your blood. A few blood tests can detect whether a person has consumed alcohol.The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test is frequently used to find whether a person has recently consumed alcohol. Alcohol can still be detected in your blood up to 12 hours after drinking with a BAC test. BAC tests may also reveal the amount of alcohol you consumed.
Other blood tests measure chemicals that may remain in your blood for weeks after consuming alcohol. Usually, these tests are performed to check for alcohol use disorder (AUD).

How long do the effects of alcohol last in the body?

The presence of alcohol might be in the breath test and affects you when it has been in your system for 1-1.5 hours for each drink you consume. After another hour or so, alcohol remains in your urine and is detected in a urine test.Your genetics, drinking habits, metabolism, and how quickly you drink affect how long it takes you to metabolize one drink. Alcohol will be eliminated more rapidly through exercise than inactivity.
According to tests conducted in the real world, 1-2 drinks are undetectable after 24 hours, three drinks are occasionally detectable in that time, and 4-5 drinks are routinely detectable. Still, none of those are undetectable after 48 hours.

Addiction Recovery at The Haven Detox-South Florida

Alcohol addiction can be deadly. If you believe you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol, don’t hesitate to reach out to a program that can offer personalized care. 

At the Haven Detox-South Florida, we offer addiction treatment programs such as alcohol abuse treatment. Our other services include opioid addiction treatment in a residential setting. Take a step ahead to resist addiction before it’s too late.

Feel free to dial: (561) 328-8627 to discuss your unique care needs. 

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