Alcohol Dehydrogenase or Don’t Bet on the Woman
Remember that awesome scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where Marion Ravenwood drinks a man in her bar under the table while customers place bets all around her? Well, they were right to wager against her. Your average woman (and admittedly, Marion is not average) would not have stood a chance. In such a drinking game, a man has the biological advantage.
Women, compared to men, produce significantly less gastric alcohol dehydrogenase. In other words, we women have less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol in our stomachs. And with less enzyme present, more alcohol enters our bloodstream, making its way directly to our brains.
And, no, a regular ‘training program’ will not provide us with a competitive edge. If we tried to do this, the increased levels of alcohol consumption would damage the lining of our stomachs… and have the opposite effect of reducing alcohol dehydrogenase production.
“Wait!” I hear you cry. “What about our livers?”
Well, yes, you can count on the liver to pitch in with its own production of alcohol dehydrogenase, but first all that alcohol absorbed in our intestines has the opportunity to circulate throughout our body en route to our livers… and alcohol is absorbed much faster into the blood stream than our liver enzymes can break it down.*
Better to leave drinking challenges where they belong – in fiction.
*accounting for an increasing blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
Though USA TODAY bestselling author Anne Renwick holds a Ph.D. in biology and greatly enjoyed tormenting the overburdened undergraduates who were her students, fiction has always been her first love. Today, she writes steampunk romance, placing a new kind of biotech in the hands of mad scientists, proper young ladies and determined villains.
Anne brings an unusual perspective to steampunk. A number of years spent locked inside the bowels of a biological research facility left her permanently altered. In her steampunk world, the Victorian fascination with all things anatomical led to a number of alarming biotechnological advances. Ones that the enemies of Britain would dearly love to possess.
To chat with Anne, stop by on Facebook or join the Department of Cryptobiology Facebook group. You can also join her newsletter list to have cover reveals, sneak peaks, sales and giveaways delivered straight to your inbox.