Alcohol is not on the list of heavily controlled substances, and all people over the age of 21 can purchase alcohol legally. However, people should know how long ethanol stays in their bodies, primarily due to their health.
It often happens that we use some drugs that, in combination with alcohol, can cause dangerous contraindications, especially in people who use antidepressants from time to time. Alcohol metabolism has been researched for years. That is why we have so many studies with all the details on how alcohol affects our bodies.
Although these are scientific studies, individual factors affect how long it takes for ethanol to be eliminated from the body. Depending on the alcohol test, age, genetics, and many other factors, alcohol can stay in the body for 10 hours and up to 3 months.
There are various types of alcohol testing that are performed, and they all have different detection times. Let’s see what these tests are and what you need to know about them.
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Hair Alcohol Testing
This is the most reliable and accurate drug & alcohol testing. Hair from different parts of the body gives different test results. Testing pubic hair gives the most relevant results. There are several other hair alcohol testing methods, and we will focus on the most common two.
There are alcohol markers that bind to the hair strand after consuming alcohol. These are Ethyl Glucuronide and Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters. These tests are designed to recognize whether these compounds are present. If so, then this is a clear sign of alcohol use.
The longer the hair is, the more accurate the results the test will show. Head hairs that are 6 cm long can show how much alcohol a person has consumed in the last six months.
This is the most common way to find out if someone is a chronic alcoholic. Experts recommend combining another type of test with this one because it can give more accurate results.
Blood Alcohol Testing
People usually need blood alcohol testing due to medical or legal reasons. The liver cannot tolerate high levels of alcohol. Excessive amounts that can’t stay in the liver spread through the bloodstream. When we think of blood alcohol tests, we first think of the needle.
Blood alcohol tests measure alcohol levels in the blood. This type of test is most relevant one hour after consuming alcohol. The difference between a hair test and a blood test is that the blood test’s accuracy depends on other outside factors such as nutrition, body mass, lifestyle, etc.
Doctors do blood alcohol testing using biomarkers. Direct biomarkers are rare but can give the most accurate test results regardless of outside factors. Indirect biomarkers are more common but are less accurate.
– Indirect markers of alcohol consumption
- Liver function test (LFT)
- Full blood count (MCV)
- Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT)
– Direct marker of alcohol consumption
- Phosphatidylethanol testing (PEth)
Fingernail Alcohol Testing
Fingernail alcohol testing has been done for over 20 years. This testing method is less common than hair and blood testing. In most cases, people who choose these tests don’t have enough body hair or have some issues with needles.
The fingernail test is an alternative to a hair alcohol test. Ethyl Glucuronide markers also remain trapped in fingernails for a very long time, and this test can be done in combination with a blood-alcohol test for more accurate results.
You should also know that no external factor can affect the results of this test. According to studies, nail polish or nail polish removers may not affect the relevance of the test.
Urine Alcohol Testing
Urine drug testing can easily detect how much alcohol a person has in their system. It is also one of the most relevant tests for illegal substances. This test is performed by taking a urine sample, and it takes a couple of hours to get results.
Alcohol and Ethyl Glucuronide can be detected in urine less than an hour after alcohol intake. This test is most accurate when done 5 hours after taking alcohol. During that period, it can accurately detect the amount of ethyl glucuronide.
If you drink a small amount of alcohol, the highest concentration remains in the urine for up to 24 hours. In people who are chronic alcoholics, the urine sample is always positive for ethanol.
No one knows when they will ever need an alcohol test. It’s good to know the basics and types of alcohol tests that exist, especially if you have health issues. People who change jobs often have to do alcohol and drug tests. It is certainly good to be informed and understand these tests work.
We hope that you found this article helpful and that you managed to get a grip on the topic. Be sure to continue your research to find out more information about alcohol testing.