Clearing up the system of alcohol may be easier said than done, especially for those who have become accustomed to it. However, a number of researchers may have found an effective and easier way of clearing out alcohol from the body, and that is through hyperventilating safely.
Dubbed by researchers from the University of Toronto as controlled hyperventilation, the process allows the speedy clearance of alcohol from the system of a healthy individual. They compared the rate of clearing the system of alcohol with that of a healthy person who breathes normally without hyperventilating. They found out that through safely hyperventilating, the volunteer was able to clear alcohol from his system three times faster than the one who breathed normally.
The research team developed ClearMate, a device that makes it possible for controlled hyperventilation. The device consists of a gas mask, which is connected to a supply of oxygen and also carbon dioxide.
A small study published in the journal Nature noted that alcohol can be eliminated by breathing. This is the reason why people can smell alcohol in someone's breath whenever they are drunk. Hyperventilating alone can help get rid of alcohol from the body. There is just one danger though, as too much hyperventilating could make one lose too much carbon dioxide as well, and the condition could lead to fainting.
With Clearmate however, patients could hyperventilate without the fear of fainting. While hyperventilating, the patient breathes in both oxygen and carbon dioxide. The patient then is able to adjust to the breathing pattern but he will not be fainting in the process.
Joseph Fisher, author of the study, said in Gizmodo that the person who uses the machine is able to allow normal carbon dioxide levels to escape. However, the excess carbon dioxide is returned on the succeeding breath.
The study utilised five healthy male volunteers who were mildly intoxicated. They had a mix of water and vodka. The researchers then examined how long it would take for the levels of alcohol to be reduced from their blood and with that of using the device for about 30 minutes. They found that the volunteers were able to sober quicker using the device as compared to the "natural" group.
Since it is a small-sized study, the results must be treated with caution. However, the researchers noted that the device is not novel because it has already won FDA approval in the US, pertaining to its use for the treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning in emergency rooms.