Worry-free Alcohol?

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winemanden

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Whey protein gel breaks down alcohol in the body
Will it soon be possible to drink wine without worrying?

2 min. read
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Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a gel made from whey protein fibres that can break down alcohol before it enters the bloodstream. The alcohol is converted into acetic acid in the stomach with the help of iron atoms. In experiments with mice, the gel was able to reduce blood alcohol levels by up to fifty per cent. The article was published in the scientific journal "Nature Nanotechnology".
"The gel shifts the breakdown of alcohol from the liver to the digestive tract. In contrast to alcohol metabolism in the liver, this does not produce the harmful intermediate product acetaldehyde," explains Raffaele Mezzenga, Professor of Food and Soft Materials at ETH Zurich. The toxic acetaldehyde is responsible for many health problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
If the gel were to be authorised for human consumption, it could be taken before or during alcohol consumption. It prevents the intoxicating effect and the formation of harmful acetaldehyde. According to the scientists, however, the gel is only effective as long as there is still alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract. If there is already alcohol in the blood, it can no longer help. "The gel could be particularly interesting for people who don't want to give up the pleasure of alcohol, but don't want to burden their body and are not interested in the effects of alcohol," continues Mezzenga.
Ordinary whey proteins were used to produce the gel. These were boiled for several hours to form long, thin fibres. By adding salt and water, the fibres cross-link to form a gel. Several catalysts are also required to break down the alcohol. Firstly, the researchers used individual iron atoms, which they distributed evenly over the surface of the long protein fibres.
"We virtually immersed the fibres in an iron bath so that they could react effectively with the alcohol and convert it into acetic acid," says ETH researcher and first author of the study Jiaqi Su. Tiny amounts of hydrogen peroxide are needed to trigger this reaction in the stomach. These are generated by an upstream reaction between glucose and gold nanoparticles. The scientists opted for gold as a catalyst for hydrogen peroxide, as the precious metal is not digested and is therefore effective for longer in the digestive tract. They packed all these substances - iron, glucose and gold - into the gel. This enabled a multi-stage cascade of enzymatic reactions in which alcohol is converted into acetic acid at the end.
Although no clinical studies have yet been carried out on humans, the inventors of the gel are confident: they have already applied for a patent.
 
Interesting, though it would block the psychoactive effects of alcohol by breaking it down before it hits the bloodstream, so if part (or the main part) of the enjoyment of drinking wine is getting a buzz, this would be counterproductive to that. Sometimes I do wish it were possible to de-alcoholize wine at a home scale though, because there are times when I just want to enjoy the flavor of wine without the downsides of alcohol.
 
Sometimes I do wish it were possible to de-alcoholize wine at a home scale though, because there are times when I just want to enjoy the flavor of wine without the downsides of alcohol.
I agree with you. Unfortunately, that won't work, as the alcohol is part of the taste structure.

The heavier reds I make are typically in the 14% to 14.5% ABV range, and I've found that most heavy reds that are below 13% don't taste right. Lighter reds are fine at 12%, and to be honest, once they are over 13% they become unbalanced, the higher ABV intrudes on the other flavors.

It's all a matter of balance. And of personal taste.
 
@winemaker81 beat me to it. Alcohol is one of the primary flavors of wine, it's a very different drink without it.
But the idea of neutralizing alcohol in the body is an interesting one. I'm not sure how to feel about it, but it's interesting.
 
Whey protein gel breaks down alcohol in the body
Will it soon be possible to drink wine without worrying?

2 min. read
View original

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a gel made from whey protein fibres that can break down alcohol before it enters the bloodstream. The alcohol is converted into acetic acid in the stomach with the help of iron atoms. In experiments with mice, the gel was able to reduce blood alcohol levels by up to fifty per cent. The article was published in the scientific journal "Nature Nanotechnology".
"The gel shifts the breakdown of alcohol from the liver to the digestive tract. In contrast to alcohol metabolism in the liver, this does not produce the harmful intermediate product acetaldehyde," explains Raffaele Mezzenga, Professor of Food and Soft Materials at ETH Zurich. The toxic acetaldehyde is responsible for many health problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
If the gel were to be authorised for human consumption, it could be taken before or during alcohol consumption. It prevents the intoxicating effect and the formation of harmful acetaldehyde. According to the scientists, however, the gel is only effective as long as there is still alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract. If there is already alcohol in the blood, it can no longer help. "The gel could be particularly interesting for people who don't want to give up the pleasure of alcohol, but don't want to burden their body and are not interested in the effects of alcohol," continues Mezzenga.
Ordinary whey proteins were used to produce the gel. These were boiled for several hours to form long, thin fibres. By adding salt and water, the fibres cross-link to form a gel. Several catalysts are also required to break down the alcohol. Firstly, the researchers used individual iron atoms, which they distributed evenly over the surface of the long protein fibres.
"We virtually immersed the fibres in an iron bath so that they could react effectively with the alcohol and convert it into acetic acid," says ETH researcher and first author of the study Jiaqi Su. Tiny amounts of hydrogen peroxide are needed to trigger this reaction in the stomach. These are generated by an upstream reaction between glucose and gold nanoparticles. The scientists opted for gold as a catalyst for hydrogen peroxide, as the precious metal is not digested and is therefore effective for longer in the digestive tract. They packed all these substances - iron, glucose and gold - into the gel. This enabled a multi-stage cascade of enzymatic reactions in which alcohol is converted into acetic acid at the end.
Although no clinical studies have yet been carried out on humans, the inventors of the gel are confident: they have already applied for a patent.
Interesting, I wonder if the lack of, or reduction in, intoxication effects would change your desire to have a glass of wine.

Hmmm

I do worry about heath effects of drinking too much.
 
The alcohol is converted into acetic acid in the stomach with the help of iron atoms. In experiments with mice, the gel was able to reduce blood alcohol levels by up to fifty per cent.
(emphasis added)
If the conversion of alcohol takes place in the stomach, it won't affect the flavor. But it will prevent you from feeling the buzz.
 
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