Hydrate to Stay Sober: The Truth About Drinking Water and Lowering Blood Alcohol Levels

Alcohol consumption is a common social activity that is enjoyed by many people. However, consuming too much alcohol can lead to various complications, including impaired judgment, hangovers, and in extreme cases, alcohol poisoning. One question that has been raised by many is whether drinking water can help lower blood alcohol level. In this article, we will explore this topic in detail and provide you with evidence-based information.

Understanding Blood Alcohol Level (BAL)

Blood alcohol level (BAL), also known as blood alcohol concentration (BAC), is a measure of the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. BAL is measured in milligrams of alcohol per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). The legal limit for driving in most states is a BAL of 0.08 mg/dL. It is important to note that BAL can vary from person to person depending on various factors such as age, weight, and metabolism.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

When you consume alcohol, it is absorbed into your bloodstream through the walls of the stomach and small intestine. From there, it travels to the liver where it is metabolized. The liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol per hour, which means that as you continue to drink, your BAL will continue to rise until the liver can catch up.

Alcohol affects the body in various ways, including:

  • Impairing judgment and coordination
  • Slowing down reaction time
  • Causing dehydration
  • Inhibiting the body’s ability to control heart rate
  • Affecting the body’s temperature regulation

These effects can lead to serious consequences if one is not careful. So, does drinking water have any impact on lowering BAL?

The Myth of Drinking Water Lowering BAL

The concept of drinking water to lower blood alcohol level has been a long-standing myth. Many people believe that drinking water can help “flush” the alcohol out of their system, therefore lowering their BAL. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Drinking water can help to prevent dehydration, which can occur due to the diuretic effects of alcohol. However, it does not have a significant impact on lowering your BAL. Water does not “dilute” the alcohol in your system or speed up the metabolism process. The only way to lower your BAL is to wait for your liver to metabolize the alcohol.

What Can Help Lower Your BAL?

The only way to decrease your BAL is to wait for your liver to process the alcohol. This means that you need to give your body enough time to metabolize the alcohol and remove it from your system. Drinking water, taking a cold shower, or exercising will not speed up this process.

However, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the effects of alcohol on your body and possibly prevent a high BAL, including:

  • Eating before and while drinking: Food in your stomach can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream.
  • Spacing out drinks: Drinking in moderation and spacing out your drinks can give your liver more time to metabolize the alcohol and prevent a sudden spike in your BAL.
  • Alternating with non-alcoholic drinks: Drinking water or other non-alcoholic beverages between alcoholic drinks can help to keep you hydrated and reduce the amount of alcohol you consume.

The Dangers of Relying on Water to Lower Your BAL

One of the biggest dangers of relying on water to lower your BAL is that it can give a false sense of sobriety. When you start feeling the effects of alcohol, your BAL has already increased. Even if you drink water afterwards, your BAL remains the same until your liver has metabolized the alcohol.

This means that relying on water to lower your BAL and keep you sober can lead to dangerous situations, such as drunk driving or making poor decisions. It is important to know your limits and consume alcohol responsibly.

In Conclusion

Drinking water does not have any significant impact on lowering blood alcohol level. The only way to decrease your BAL is to give your liver enough time to metabolize the alcohol. It is crucial to know your limits and consume alcohol responsibly. Remember that relying on water to lower your BAL can lead to dangerous situations and should not be used as a means to sober up.


This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your alcohol consumption or any other health-related decisions.

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