Alcoholic ketoacidosis mechanism?

The topic of alcohol has been a bone of contention for centuries. For some, it is pure relaxation, while others use it as an escape from their woes. Nonetheless, nothing comes without a price tag; consuming excessive booze can lead to several complications such as alcohol poisoning and hangovers. But we are not here to discuss these mundane issues; our sole purpose is to unleash the mechanism of alcoholic ketoacidosis – a condition that arises when you overindulge in alcoholic beverages.

What Is Alcoholic Ketoacidosis?

Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of how this monster works, let us first understand what alcoholic ketoacidosis exactly means. Alcohol produces two distinct types of metabolic effects on our body: ketogenesis and lactic acid production (Did you catch that? These big words already make me sound smarter than I am!).

Ketogenesis refers to the process by which our liver breaks down fats into ketone bodies (acetoacetate) due to insufficient glucose levels in our bloodstream- also called hypoglycemia-. On the other hand..Oh Wait! That sounds too serious for my funny tone. Let’s take a look at something fun.

‘Drunkorexia’ Links Alcohol with Eating Disorders

Do you know about ‘drunkorexia’? It may sound like one of those dance moves during happy hour but NOPE! Drunkorexia is an unhealthy habit where people skip meals with high calories so they could have more drinks later on without any guilty conscience or weight gain worries (Ha Ha…A genuine Invention!).

Now back onto explaining Ketogenesis…

On the other hand, Lactic acid productions refer’s processes stimulated by gluconeogenesis- sorry got carried away again-, OR lets just call it “the breakdown mechanisms” caused by intoxicating doses of boozing substances. When you consume far too much alcohol, it leads to a state of hypoglycemia and increased levels of acetyl-CoA in our liver. Eventually, the metabolism shifts towards ketogenesis due to decreased glucose availability for energy production (And we are back on track!).

In addition, those alcoholic drinks also suppress or impair insulin action that is crucial for glucose uptake into different tissues like muscles- which would explain why drunkards always look so sloppy (Just Kidding..Please don’t sue me!). This results in hepatic gluconeogenesis or providing your liver with plenty of resources to churn out more significant amounts of sugar than required instead of efficiently burning them :(.

But Why Does It Happen?

You may wonder what triggers this metabolic drama? Alcohol abuse depletes us from any essential nutrients our bodies typically need such as carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals. Moreover, excessive drinking can lead to an excess accumulation of acidic substances in the bloodstream (Oh Boy! The Terms Are Getting Big Again.) Furthermore, Binging on alcohol could cause inflammation within our stomach lining leading us towards chronic gastritis – diarrhea being one symptom-, resulting in dehydration!!! Are you squirming yet?


Ethanol Metabolism

Alcohols contain molecules called ethanol that undergo three primary pathways once they enter our body: oxidative degradation (elimination reaction), esterification to fatty acids (our body’s wayof trying doing something constructive with it) and last but not least conversion into acetate (Wait…What?)

It is this third pathway that poses trouble for individuals who overindulge themselves with alcoholic beverages – Acetate broke down further by Alcoholic Dehydrogenase-(AD)- located inside mitochondria at these elevated rates produces ATP adenosine triphosphate making up most all cellular energy & reducing NAD+ Nicotinamide Adenosine Diphosphate lipid synthesis cycles ATP Production moves forward by using Acetate instead Fatty Acids therefore leading to further sequential increase in blood acidity pushing the body towards metabolic acidosis mode producing molecules called Beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate..(Wheewww! now that’s a tongue twister!)

The Liver’s Priorities

When we drink, our liver puts breaking down ethanol as a top priority; hence it switches off any other methods of metabolism, such as gluconeogenesis. Given this switch-off on our essential supportive mechanisms, there is less sugar available for fuel consumption in cells promoting hypoglycemia mentioned earlier (and signaling us REACH OUT FOR THAT PIECE OF CAKE!).

On top of that, during excessive drinking spells or binges over an extended period and elongated intervals can decrease insulin sensitivity + slowly be building dangerous levels ketones due to severe depletion from fatty tissue affectively cutting ties with the production & storage fat mechanism present resulting in multiple functions failing simultaneously -> More stress being placed on glucose production via liver which often leads millions cells malfunctioning at once putting individuals way behind homeostasis balance…, BUT WORRY NOT ELSE WE’D ALL BE IN TROUBLE….Woohoo!! (Oh yeah! That’s how we make science Fun).


Alcoholic ketoacidosis has caused enough havoc already. Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse than this comes more terrible news – Alcoholic ketoacidosis may go undiagnosed initially because of its mild clinical signs until it progresses into advanced stages characterised by nausea and vomiting- accompanied by abdominal pain (NOOOOooooo!!! take me back!). Besides these two predominant signs – sever dehydration often combined closely related effects like shock symptoms(multiple organ failure), Hypothermia induction(maintaining physiological temperature)- and lethargic behaviour tendencies contributing heavily towards Endocrine complications involving electrolyte imbalances making it more complicated for unspecialized staff members (especially implicated during times of patient triage & hospitalization).


But Wait! There’s More…

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

When a person with alcoholic ketoacidosis undergoes treatment, they may experience some withdrawal symptoms from alcohol (GASP!). Patients consisting frequently of persistent alcohol abuse disorder are already undergoing a series of support meetings trying to avoid a future relapse among dealing with co-occurring disorders. Recall having to bear restless nights when not having consumed drinks? Well, now imagine the same along WITH clinical complications affecting people physically and mentally. ADJUSTMENT PERIOD ESSENTIAL!

Now onto actual treatment!

The initial process comes in two steps:

1) Correcting fluid loss via Rehydration
2) Balancing electrolytes which involves administering insulin manually until ketone levels fall below 0.5 mmoL – Liter in blood but closely monitoring its concentrations throughout (never trust your gut here..Literally kidding). (FINALLY!)

Our suggestion after long research hours = Not pouring excessive amounts of liquor into bodies is preventing any chances Alcoholic Ketoacids #smartrules.

But sometimes even sticking to these harmless limits isn’t enough….So brace yourself…CHEERS!!!