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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Alcohol and the liver - Declaration of degradation processes

The liver is the organ central to a breakdown of alcohol. This is from the alcohol via intermediate steps - as with any food - including water and carbon dioxide.

Thus, the alcohol removed

Alcohol is metabolized in the liver through different stages and with the help of several enzymes. One can roughly distinguish three steps:
  1. First, the alcohol in the liver using the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase is converted into acetaldehyde. In this case two hydrogen atoms are split off. The alcohol is available but only in limited supply - so even at high alcohol levels are not degraded faster than approximately 0.1 to 0.2 per million per hour.
  2. Now, the highly toxic acetaldehyde in the liver by the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase to acetic acid is removed.
  3. The non-toxic acetic acid, finally found where all our food (if there is sufficient supply of oxygen) will sooner or later is metabolized: the citric acid cycle. The citric acid cycle is a complicated chain reaction, at the end always be water and carbon dioxide. Thus, the former alcohol eventually excreted as water and as CO 2 is exhaled.

If the liver is overloaded

If the liver is exposed over a longer time large amounts of alcohol, it takes damage. In Germany about going back at least a third of all liver damage from alcohol abuse.
  • As the liver breaks down alcohol, primarily, it has no capacity for high alcohol consumption more for fat metabolism. The fat is stored in the liver cells and produces a fatty liver.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse can also cause liver inflammation, that cause hepatitis.
  • Both the fatty liver including hepatitis can eventually lead to irreversible liver cirrhosis. This is a scarring of the liver conversion, the loss of liver tissue and therefore a loss of vital liver functions and eventually death.


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