How long does it take alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream?

Unlike food, alcohol does not go through the normal digestion process; about 20% of alcohol gets absorbed through the stomach, and about 80% of the alcohol gets absorbed through the small intestine.

It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours after drinking the first sip of alcohol for it to get fully absorbed into our bloodstream. The absorption time varies based on the concentration of the alcohol drink and whether the alcohol is taken with food or on an empty stomach.

After alcohol gets absorbed into the bloodstream, the blood carries the alcohol as if was the nutrition that our body needs to all important organs, such as brain, liver, and heart.

Alcohol does not have any nutritional value; our body considers alcohol as poison and uses our liver to get rid of it. That is why alcohol has such a negative effect and strain on our liver. Our liver has to work harder to get rid of the poison, such as alcohol.

When alcohol reaches our brain, it also affects it negatively, it takes our brain's ability to focus, think clearly, and make a good judgment.

One serving of alcohol is fully absorbed into the blood stream within 30 minutes to two hours after intake; this is because the body can metabolize about 0.25 ounces of alcohol per hour.  However, the effects of alcohol vary by individual and by how much alcohol they drink in one session.

In fact, the effects and levels of alcohol in the body depend on many factors:

  • A person's size and weight
  • Individual metabolism rate
  • Related food intake
  • The beverage consumed