Alcohol is an astringent; it coagulates proteins on the surface of the lining of your mouth to make it "pucker." Some alcohol is absorbed through the lining of your mouth and throat, but most of the alcohol you drink spills into your stomach, where an enzyme called gastric alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) begins to metabolize (digest) it.
How much alcohol dehydrogenase your body churns out is influenced by your ethnicity and your gender. For example, Asians, Native Americans, and Inuits appear to secrete less alcohol dehydrogenase than do most Caucasians, and the average woman (regardless of her ethnicity) makes less ADH than the average man does. As a result, more unmetabolized alcohol flows from their tummies into their bloodstreams, and they're likely to become tipsy on smaller amounts of alcohol than an average Caucasian male would need to drink.
While you ponder that, the unmetabolized alcohol is flowing through your stomach walls into your bloodstream and on to your small intestine.
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