What is alcohol?

The main component of all existing wine-vodka products - ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is rich in alcohol-derived hydrocarbons ethane, where one atom of hydrogen is replaced by a hydroxyl group. Alcohol is a colourless liquid characteristic odour, boiling point 78,4 C (78-80,5 C), melting 112 C, specific gravity at 0 C 0,862. Molecules of ethanol possess a high degree of mixing with water and dissolve in fats. It is connected mainly with a low degree of dissociation of molecules of alcohol. It penetrates the cell membrane.
The alcohol enters the human body from outside, it is better to call exogenous. It would seem, why complicate terminology? The thing is that in animals and humans in small amounts constantly reveals the inner or endogenous, alcohol. The role of endogenous alcohol, or, more correctly, endogenous ethanol, began intensively studied recently, since the mid 60-ies. The concentration of endogenous ethanol in the blood plasma of people is extremely low and highly variable from trace quantities and to 0.16 mg,% (Jones et al., 1983). Assume that for a day in humans in a natural way can be formed from 1.0 to 9.0 g endogenous ethanol, and with the years of his education decreases. Thus, the problem of endogenous ethanol for narcology is quite new and deserves to dwell on it in detail.
What are the sources of endogenous ethanol? A clear answer to this question is not found yet. It is established, that its content in the blood transported from the intestine to the liver, is higher than in other areas of the vessels. As in the intestine, there is a rich flora, there are necessary conditions for anaerobic (i.e. flowing without oxygen) fermentation, apparently, one of the sources of endogenous ethanol is the intestinal microflora. One, but not the only one.
Experimentally established that labeled molecules endogenous ethanol "live" in the body for a few moments. This fact has led to the assumption that to maintain a fixed level of endogenous ethanol in the blood he needs quickly and reliably be produced in any biological reactions. In favor of this assumption is proved by the fact that in the tissue concentration of endogenous ethanol is higher than in blood.
In this regard, Yu. M. Ostrovsky with co-authors (1986) consider that alcoholdehydrogenase liver should be considered as an enzyme that controls in physiological terms, the balance of mutual transformations of endogenous acetaldehyde (compounds, formed at the first stage of oxidation of alcohol and alcohol, and not as an enzyme, "viewlive" alcohol. Confirmation of such functions alcohol dehydrogenase are data on constant currency pools of acetaldehyde and ethanol oxidation last (Gershman y, 1975) 1.
The role of endogenous ethanol in the body is yet to be determined, but there is some information about his participation in regulatory processes. This is confirmed by the facts change its content in blood stress, starvation, cooling, physical activity, anaesthesia and action of medicinal substances. Considerable interest among researchers raises the possibility of participation of endogenous ethanol in the development of alcoholism, as will be discussed below.
Almost all well-known wine-vodka products in physical-chemical sense, are, in fact, a variety of water-alcohol solutions with different characteristics. This is partly due to the fact that in water-alcohol solutions form a kind of Association - complexes of molecules of water and alcohol, interconnected fragile relationships 2. Ethyl alcohol is used in more than 150 different industries as raw material or auxiliary material.
Compared with endogenous ethanol exogenous alcohol has a very prosaic origins.
At the first stages ethanol received only from grain crops, potatoes, beet and sugar production waste. 6 million tons of grain (not counting the millions of tons of potatoes, sugar beet and so on) annually spent in the country in the early 80-ies for the manufacture of alcohol and beer (Sheverdin, 1986). For the same purposes were used waste sulphide pulp production and products of hydrolysis of wood. Alcohol produced and synthetically from natural gases containing ethylene and associated gas produced during oil refining.
In the manufacture of ethyl spirit, or rather, with rectification of ethanol raw form a mixture of alcohols with greater length of the carbon chain: propyl, butyl, amyl. It is the basis of so-called fusel oils, which are the real poisons with local irritant. To separate the ethyl alcohol from the fusel oils is difficult, especially if alcohol is made handicraft, non-productive way. So, in moonshine is detected from 0.58 to 1.57% of fusel oils. Technical alcohol contains 0,1-0,25% of toxic contaminants. The most dangerous N-amyl alcohol, containing 60% of fusel oil, the toxicity of which is 4 times higher than that of ethanol. Impurities in the technical ethyl alcohol, usually share the boiling temperature (below ethyl alcohol or above). The first group includes also present in the impurities acetic acid ethyl ester and acetaldehyde, the second - isopropyl, propyl, amyl, isoamyl, isobutyl alcohols, pyridine, oil-ethyl ester and the furfural. The furfural, for example, in 83 times more toxic than ethanol (Filatov, 1986). Thus, any alcohol products represent an aqueous solution of fusel oils and small amounts of other impurities, which determine the specificity of a particular product. However, the main component - ethanol - a molecule of two carbon atoms, six atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. And this molecule enslaves man is the result of 3.4 billion years of evolution of living matter. It is assumed that the biological potential of a person may be enough to 110 - 150 years. And suddenly alcoholism - reduction of human life, rarely living in drunkenness and up to 55 years old...
Before us the mystery of alcoholism.

1. Described and other ways of endogenous ethanol: it can be produced by piruvatdegidrogenzu or other enzymes. So, in animals discovered the enzyme On-phosphoryl-ethnolinguistics splitting phosphoethanolamine and, apparently, participating in the regulation of the level of endogenous ethanol. Endogenous acetaldehyde and, therefore, ethanol can be produced from 5-detoxication-1-phosphate and beta-alanine. Ethanol can be formed directly from lactic acid.

2. Known, for example, such facts. When dissolved in water, ethanol is warm, the maximum at a concentration of 30% ethyl alcohol. It is also known that if you mix alcohol with water volume of the mixture is always less. For example, mixing 50 volumes of water to 50 amounts of alcohol volume of the obtained mixture 96,4 ethyl alcohol.