What happens in the liver?
Excess alcohol is very toxic to human cells because it is broken down (or metabolised) into a substance called acetaldehyde, which is even more toxic than alcohol itself. Acetaldehyde is not created until the alcohol reaches the liver. In the liver ethanol is broken down by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase into acetaldehyde. The acetaldehyde is then broken down by another enzyme called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, and the antioxidant enzymes containing glutathione. Acting synergistically, the acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and the glutathione, turn the toxic acetaldehyde into non-toxic acetate. Acetate is a substance found in vinegar.