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  (Source: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Forget carbonation, oxygenation could make your liquid sin a little less harmful

There are numerous dangers of being under the influence of alcohol -- from damage to your body, to loss of coordination, and inhibitions (which each can lead to countless dangers) -- nonetheless, the sensation of inebriation is undeniably pleasant for most.  So what if you could have your liquid sin in a safer form?  

That's a goal that Korean doctors Kwang-il Kwon and Hye Gwang Jeong researching at the Chungnam National University in South Korea feel they have achieved.  Unlike other research groups that have focused on creating "alcohol substitutes" -- typically liquid pharmaceuticals – the researchers examined oxygenated alcohol, a popular form of alcohol in Korea. Oxygenated alcohol has the same bubbly appearance as carbonated alcohols like American beers, but instead of carbon dioxide, the main gas is diatomic oxygen.

To test the health benefits of oxygenation, the researchers gave subjects 19.5 percent alcohol uncarbonated drinks and 19.5 percent alcohol oxygenated drinks at doses of 240 ml and 360 ml (about as much alcohol as would be in 2.5 and 4 80-proof shots, respectively).  

Intriguingly, the patients indulging in the oxygenated beverages sobered up 20 to 30 minutes faster.  The more oxygen, the faster the return to sobriety; patients drinking 360 ml of 20 ppm oxygen spirits returned to sobriety 23.3 minutes faster than those drinking non-oxygenated spirits, and when the oxygen levels were bumped to 25 ppm, the participants sobered 27 minutes faster.

The study also found that those drinking the oxygenated liquors had a lower incidence of hangovers than those consuming standard alcohol.  Those who did experience hangovers found them to be less severe.

The results indicate that oxygenation minimizes some of alcohol's negative effects on the body.  Sobriety is determined by how fast the body can break down alcohol, and the quicker return to sobriety could indicate that oxygenated alcohol is processed faster, leading to less stress on the liver and other organs.  Likewise, less hangovers could indicate less changes to brain blood flow and a reduced risk of brain damage.  

The reason behind the faster breakdown of alcohol appears to be that hepatic enzymes require oxygen to function.  When the oxygenated alcohol is pumped to the liver, some of the oxygen sticks with the ethanol, allowing the liver enzymes to operate more efficiently.

Describes Dr. Kwon, "The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage reduces plasma alcohol concentrations faster than a normal dissolved-oxygen alcohol beverage does. This could provide both clinical and real-life significance. The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage would allow individuals to become sober faster, and reduce the side effects of acetaldehyde without a significant difference in alcohol's effects. Furthermore, the reduced time to a lower BAC may reduce alcohol-related accidents. It seems that these drinks can maintain a high dissolved-oxygen concentration for about 10 to 20 days before the stopper is removed, and for 70 minutes after removing the stopper, respectively, at room temperature."

Among the major manufacturers of oxygenated liquor in South Korea is Sunyang Co., which makes the popular O2 Lin spirit.  The company claims that the oxygenated alcoholic beverage, "helps clarify your brain, energizes your body cells, and maintains healthy and resilient skin."

While that might not hold true, the new study indicates that the oxygenated alcohol may well be significantly better for you than its non-oxygenated counterpart and be a more pleasant experience.  

Perhaps the only question that remains is whether the oxygenated drinks can equal their non-oxygenated counterparts in taste and mouth-feel.  If they can, the study may indicate a significant leap towards Star Trek-like "synthehol".



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RE: money making scheme
By raddude9 on 3/3/2010 4:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Simply being Korean doesn't make you genetically bad at handling alcohol

sorry to burst your bubble, but yes it does, look up 'alcohol tolerance' on wikipedia and you will find:

quote:
An estimated one third of persons of East Asian and Native American descent have an alcohol flush reaction, a condition where the body cannot break down ingested alcohol completely because it lacks the genetically coded enzyme that performs this function in the bodies of drinkers with "European" tolerance levels.[8] Flushing, or blushing, is associated with the erythema (reddening caused by dilation of capillaries) of the face, neck, and shoulder, after consumption of alcohol.


RE: money making scheme
By alanore on 3/3/2010 6:52:42 AM , Rating: 3
The reason for Europeans (and those from European decent, the Americas) being better at handling alcohol than those from Asian decent is to do with how they make their water safe hundred of years ago.

Dirty water was one of the biggest killers and spreaders of diseases. The Asian way was to boil the water and typically add leaves, making tea. The European way, was to make ale (beer) which killed off the bacteria, this is how they evolved a higher tolerance for it.


RE: money making scheme
By hyvonen on 3/3/2010 12:25:37 PM , Rating: 2
BS. Hundreds of years is not enough for a population to develop a significant genetic advantage.

Unless those who couldn't handle beer died from it, no evolutionary difference can be assumed here.


RE: money making scheme
By Yames on 3/9/2010 5:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that but fermented alcoholic drinks have been a part of nearly every society over the past few thousand years. Perhaps Europeans have just drank much more to excess then Asians and over the past 1000 or so years. That may be enough time.


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