A neurosurgeon whose 18-year-old son died in a drunk car crash has shed light on how long it takes the body to break down alcohol.
Dr. Brian Hoeflinger from the US lost his son Brian nine years ago to drunk driving. The doctor shared a sobering video on TikTok showing how quickly alcohol builds up in the body. “You need to know what happens to alcohol … understanding drinking can save your life,” says Dr. Heflinger. The doctor throws an imaginary party in his kitchen with water-filled shot glasses to mimic a beer pong game. “Let’s say you’re at a party and you run out of wine … so you have five shots in the first hour,” he explained while setting the scene.
“When you take these pictures, the alcohol builds up very quickly in your system. So within five minutes the alcohol goes into your brain and starts affecting you.
“But what you may not know is that your liver can only metabolize one ounce (29.5 milliliters) of alcohol per hour.” A standard drink in Australia contains 10 grams of alcohol, equivalent to 285 milliliters of full-strength beer, 100 milliliters of wine (red and white) or 30ml of spirits. However, cocktails and mixed drinks can complicate calculating the amount of spirit they contain.
Dr. Hoeflinger says your liver can metabolize an ounce (29.5 milliliters) of alcohol per hour. “I only have five ounces (147.8 milliliters) of alcohol in my system, and at the end of the hour, I’m only going to burn one ounce,” he explained, while pretending to drink five shots.
“So I still have four ounces (118.2 milliliters) of alcohol in my bloodstream. “My liver can’t metabolize it that fast. ’ Hoeflinger said of how easy it was for partygoers to deflect more bullets. Drink three ounces (88.7 milliliters) of alcohol. Now I drank a total of eight ounces (236.5 ml) in two hours. I burned two and still have 6 oz (177.4 ml) left in my system.
“So it takes six hours to burn six ounces.”