My coworker and I were having a discussion over the rate of alcohol absorption. He argued that after you reach x number of drinks, your body stops passing as much ethanol into the bloodstream because it "knows" when your blood is too saturated with ethanol. He didn't say that ethanol would not be entirely blocked from entering the blood stream, just that the rate would slow down the more you drank.

Is there any truth to this?

1 Answer 1


Alcohol is absorbed from the stomach and small intestine by diffusion. Most absorption occurs from the small intestine due to its large surface area and rich blood supply.

However, above a certain alcoholic concentration, the rate of absorption may decrease due to the delayed passage of alcohol from the stomach into the small intestine.

The maximum absorption rate is obtained with the consumption of an alcoholic beverage containing approximately 20-25% (by volume or v/v) alcohol solution on an empty stomach. The absorption rate may be less when alcohol is consumed with food or when a 40% (v/v) alcohol solution is consumed on an empty stomach. The rate may also slow down when high fluid volume/low alcohol content beverages, such as beer, are consumed.


  • That's a decent answer, and I stumbled upon the same webpage myself, but I am looking for the answer to this - Does ethanol enter the bloodstream at a slower rate the more you drink? Nov 16, 2016 at 22:55
  • I'll edit my answer once I've gotten a suitable answer to your question.
    – Prince
    Nov 16, 2016 at 23:31
  • I just realized that my answer still contributes to your question. There's not much difference between alcohol and ethanol. So there's no need for me to edit my answer.
    – Prince
    Nov 16, 2016 at 23:35
  • Okay, I'll phase my question in another way - Does your body have a mechanism in place that will slow the absorption of alcohol (ethanol) in your bloodstream once your BAC has reached a certain limit? Do blood cells 'understand' when they have been saturated with too much ethanol and begin to actively reject the ethanol into the bloodstream? Nov 17, 2016 at 18:17

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