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The effects of alcohol vary between people, largely due to differences in alcohol absorption rates and metabolism in the gut. A new study has found that older women and those with obesity clear alcohol from their systems 52 percent faster than younger women and those with healthy weights.

Researchers analyzed the findings of three studies that investigated alcohol clearance rates in 143 women. They used a computer-assisted alcohol infusion system to model the self-administration of alcohol. They also measured the women’s body fat via DEXA or bioelectrical impedance.

They found that women with obesity, particularly those who were older, cleared alcohol 52 percent faster than women with a healthy weight. They also found that age and lean body mass explained 72 percent of the differences in the alcohol elimination rate among women.

These findings suggest that women with obesity eliminate alcohol faster than leaner women, likely due to the increase in fat-free mass that often accompanies obesity, especially in older women. Drinking alcohol increases a person’s risk for many chronic diseases, but exercise can help reduce alcohol cravings. Learn more in this short video featuring Dr. Rhonda Patrick.

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