The hint is in the title in order to get alcohol out your system and fast the best way is to flush it out. To flush means to drink as much non-alcoholic fluids as possible and secrete the alcohol through urine.
It is fair to say urine will secrete the largest volume of alcohol out of the body so drinking lots of fluids is always the best way to flush that alcohol out. However, the body will also rid alcohol through sweat and breath.
Flushing alcohol out of the body is different than the internal liver metabolism required to break it down ready for secretion.
Once the liver processes the alcohol there are some handy tips to rid the body of the remaining alcohol. These tips will help to cleanse and purify the system post consumption:
Handy Tips to aid alcohol secretion
- Stay Hydrated – drinking water before, during and after alcohol intake can stop dehydration. Also adding lemon or lime to your water will assist the liver. Avoid drinks containing sweeteners.
- Drink Green Tea – this form of tea is an antioxidant and can effectively flush toxins have formed from the use of alcohol out of the body.
- Drink in moderation – the liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol each hour. Heavy drinking will damage the liver and its functioning abilities.
- Have rest days – days off alcohol use can allow the liver to metabolise all alcohol consumed and rest reducing the pressure being placed upon this major organ.
- Eat probiotic foods and green vegetables – probiotics such as kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut to name a few as well as green vegetables and fruit can aid liver metabolism as well as removing dietary fats.
- Work out – Exercise that involves sweating will assist in the removal of alcohol. Remember the body will remove toxins through sweating, urinating, and breathing. (stay well hydrated if exercising as it may have the opposite effect if you become dehydrated)
Does water flush out alcohol?
Water is crucial to flush out the toxins contained in alcoholic beverages. Alcohol takes the name ethanol as a series of chemical processes known as fermentation are undertaken to produce this drug.
Even though alcohol is made from foods such as grapes, apples, hops, and grains it still undertakes a chemical process before it can be safely consumed.
And yes, water does help flush out alcohol but only after the liver has metabolised each drop in a systematic fashion.
The process the liver undertakes cannot be rushed and is why the government guidelines surrounding daily and weekly intake of alcohol units is in place. The new government recommendation is that both men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week over 3 days.
14 units is equivalent to 10 small glasses of low strength wine per week over 3 out of 7 days or 6 pints of average strength beer.
A daily intake of fluids is crucial for the body to function. The recommended amount of water or fluid to be taken each day is around 8 pints. However, the average human will struggle to drink that much.
Fluids perform may important roles throughout the body such as:
- Regulating body temperature
- Lubricating joints
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure
- Carrying nutrients to cells
- Allowing organs to perform their vital roles
If a person who is already partially dehydrated (without knowledge that they are) begins to consume alcohol the effect the ‘morning after’ can be an intense craving for fluids to restore the body to its natural state.
Flushing alcohol out the system helps the body repair and heal from an intake of alcohol which in turn will make the consumer feel better due to all the reasons cited above.
However, an increase in fluids will not make the body metabolise alcohol faster this is done by the liver in a systematic fashion as it can only metabolise a certain amount of alcohol at a time. Almost like a queue.
Hence the guidance of:
- Only drinking one drink per hour
- Alternating alcoholic drinks with water or an alternative
- Taking rest days to allow the body to fully metabolise all the alcohol consumed
Flushing alcohol out the body is somewhat of a myth, yes fluids will rehydrate the body improving physical symptoms, but it is the liver in effect that does all the hard work.
Here are some other areas to consider when attempting to secrete alcohol from the body:
The contributing factors to alcohol metabolising
The factors contributing to the break-down of alcohol are:
- The amount of alcohol consumed
- The percentage of alcohol (average beer 4.5, wine 11.6 and spirits 37 percent)
- Body weight
- Food consumed
- Liver disease
The amount affects the ability of the liver to metabolise alcohol as the liver will need to work harder if volumes are increased.
For example, a small shot of spirits may take one hour and a large glass of wine 3 hours. In these examples the amount of alcohol supersedes the alcohol percentage.
In essence a mathematical calculation could be carried out for each type of alcohol consumed considering in each case the percentage and amount of alcohol.
Body weight is important if the processing of alcohol continues to be considered in a mathematical sense i.e. the larger the body the more mass in which the alcohol can be diffused.
Gender affects alcohol metabolism as males metabolise more effectively than females. This is due to the enzyme responsible for this process to occur known as Alcohol Dehydrogenase ADH.
Males have an active form of ADH in the liver and stomach whereas females have practically none. ADH in larger amounts can break down alcohol quicker i.e. a female consuming the same amount of alcohol as a man will feel the drug’s effects much quicker.
*However new government guidance recommends both men and women only drink 14 units per week, this guidance makes no differences between both genders.*
The type of food consumed is an important factor in the breaking down of alcohol. Probiotic foods eliminate toxins from the gut quicker and green vegetables and fruit aid liver metabolism.
Asparagus in particular has been proven to protect the liver and reduce hangovers.
Medications can play a part in the speed of metabolism of alcohol as medications perform many different roles and functions within the body. Upon reading instructions, they may inform the user not to drink alcohol when taking these meds.
For example, Opiate medication can be very dangerous if taken with alcohol as both together can make the patient sleepy and dozy. Aspirin and alcohol can cause some stomach problems or internal bleeding.
Age affects the ability to metabolise alcohol as when older the body stores less water and dehydration is higher as alcohol draws the water from the body.
As vital organs age, they can also become weaker as they are forced to metabolise alcohol repeatedly and sometimes over the course of many years, if dependent.
Liver Disease can occur after many years of moderate to heavy alcohol consumption. There is no precise science around the specific time frame it will take for Liver Cirrhosis to occur as each person is different.
Many factors can affect when and how liver disease occurs but once it occurs the liver’s ability to metabolise alcohol effectively is reduced as areas of the liver having been damaged repair scarred.
How much water should I drink to get rid of alcohol?
There is no exact science regarding how much water a person should drink to get rid of alcohol.
Water can aid in reducing the effects of dehydration on the body.
When dehydrated after consuming alcohol the body can feel physically unwell as it is not performing to its optimal level. Water is an essential component required in the performance of the bodies parts and many recommend drinking at least 8 pints per day.
Drinking water will aid in the need or urgency to urinate. Urine excretion is an essential part of human life as urine will carry toxins out of the body. A good way to recognise dehydration is the colour of the urine.
If the urine is dark, then there is a strong chance the body is dehydrated. The aim is to reduce the intensity of the colour as the lighter the urine the more hydrated the body is.
After drinking alcohol if the urine appears dark start drinking water or other non-alcoholic drinks as soon as possible. Water should be drank slowly but consistently over a 12 hour period, say at least one glass per hour.
Drinking too much water can have an adverse effect known as water poisoning so care should be taken not to drink too much, too soon.
Consuming water or fluids (non-alcoholic) is an essential need for the human body it is estimated only a small number of the UK population are adequately hydrated.
Do you drink 8 Pint glasses of water per day?
If worried about your alcohol intake there is always support available. It maybe you require appropriate medical and psychosocial interventions and Abbeycare Scotland, Abbeycare Gloucester are two state of the art rehab facilities on offer to you.
These specialist rehab facilities may be the solution you are looking for to arrest your use of alcohol and find the old you.