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The Science of Alcohol Metabolism


Alcohol causes more damage than just hangovers

In a nutshell, alcohol creates a toxin in your body called acetaldehyde.  According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), this toxin is a Class 1 Carcinogen and causes significant damage to cells throughout your body.  As your body has no natural storage for alcohol, the alcohol metabolization process draws resources from the rest of your body to get rid of the toxin as quick as possible. Therefore, not only does alcohol create a toxin which harms you, it also decreases how well the rest of your body functions!

This cellular damage and depletion of your body's resources results in long-term effects on your health and performance.  Acetaldehyde toxicity is also one of the primary causes of acute hangover symptoms.  That painful feeling in the morning is just a signal of more serious damage being done to your body. Unfortunately, even if you are not hungover or just ride it out until you recover, damage has still been done.

Physical Effects:

  • Skin damage
  • Diminished muscle build-up and recovery
  • Lower aerobic endurance and metabolism
  • Depleted sources of energy
  • Decrease in fine motor skills
  • Slurred speech

Mental Effects:

  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Inhibited ability to learn new information
  • Dulled memory and retention
  • Disrupted sleep cycles


  • The short-term harm caused by alcohol metabolism
  • Unfortunately, we are all probably familiar with these symptoms!
Alcohol causes more damage than just hangovers. It creates a toxin called acetaldehyde which is a carcinogen and causes hangovers, negative physical effects like skin damage, recovery, sleep cycles, and decreased energy, and also negative mental effects.mental effects too.

A quick primer on how your body processes alcohol

Ethanol is the chemical name for alcohol. Shortly after drinking, ethanol diffuses throughout your body and once it gets into your cells, particularly in the liver, ethanol is broken down in a two-step process.  

1. Ethanol is converted into acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. Acetaldehyde is significantly more toxic than alcohol itself and causes oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and DNA. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers acetaldehyde a Class 1 Carcinogen.

2. The enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase converts acetaldehyde into acetic acid, which is a harmless and important metabolic intermediate that can be excreted or used in bodily energy production.

Picture describing the process of alcohol metabolism. Ethanol converts into a toxin acetaldehyde by means of alcohol dehydrohenase and uses NAD+. Acetaldehyde causes hangovers and longer-term damage from drinking. Acetaldehyde then is converted into acetic acid by means of aldehyde dehydrogenase and also uses NAD+. Your body then excretes acetic acid. Coast Drink (Coast Health) increases the oxidative stress response capacity of your body and also increases the efficiency of the enzymatic conversions.

How COAST works to address alcohol damage beyond just hangovers

COAST was scientifically engineered to bridge the gap between being healthy and fit with being social.  To accomplish this goal, we made a natural and healthy complement to alcohol that works by:

  • Increasing the efficiency of your body in detoxifying alcohol and eliminating it from your body before significant damage is done 
  • Increasing your body's stress response capacity to better aid the detoxification process as well as carry out other critical functions that get diminished by alcohol
  • Replacing vital resources that are lost during ethanol metabolism such as NAD+, vitamins, electrolytes, etc.

Basically, COAST includes a combination of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, electrolytes, and other natural compounds that help detoxify acetaldehyde, increase your cells' ability to deal with the stress of ethanol metabolism, and replenish crucial resources used up in the process that your body needs to function normally.

Bottles of Coast Drink (Coast Health) in front of sign saying