Most drivers in Alabama understand that if they drive with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, they will be under arrest for a DUI. However, there are numerous factors that affect how the body metabolizes alcohol, so two people who drink the same amount may have dramatically different levels.
According to Stanford University Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, both biological and physiological factors affect how the body breaks down alcoholic beverages. Men typically can drink more than women due to their body composition and metabolism enzymes. People who weigh more can also drink more without it affecting their blood level.
Alcohol has less of an effect when consumed with food or on a full stomach. Eating items that are high in protein is better than those high in carbohydrates. How one drinks alcohol also affects how fast the body is able to absorb it. It is much better to sip a drink than chug it or take shots. If someone drinks too much alcohol in a short amount of time, the body is unable to metabolize it, and this can lead to serious issues.
Very Well Mind discusses that another potential cause for alcohol-related impairment is acetaldehyde. Some of the liver enzymes, ADH, catalase and cytochrome, are responsible for breaking alcohol down to this component. While this is then broken down quickly by other enzymes, acetaldehyde is a carcinogen and too much of it can lead to impairment signs such as sleepiness, loss of memory and incoordination.
Not only do women have fewer of the enzymes that break down acetaldehyde, but this is also common in those of Korean, Japanese and Chinese descent. While excessive amounts of acetaldehyde may lead to higher alcohol levels, it can also lead to serious health issues such as cancer, liver disease and pancreatitis.