You may have come across videos of people drinking snake venom and thinking if these are actually real or just fake stories. Well, to answer the question, we need to approach this subject from a scientific perspective. While it may be theoretically possible to drink snake venom and live to tell the story, there are quite a few risks associated with such actions. Let’s delve deeper to find out if you can drink snake venom and still survive.
What is snake venom made up of?
Snake venom comprises largely of proteins, enzymes and polypeptides. It is actually a type of saliva that can be lethal if it enters your bloodstream. It differs from poison that can kill you via touch, ingestion or injection. For venom to kill you, it must be injected in your soft tissue or bloodstream. This is exactly what a poisonous snake does.
However, the situation is different when someone drinks snake venom. Since the venom is largely proteins and polypeptides, it gets broken into simpler substances inside our stomach. Our saliva, stomach acids and other enzymes work quickly to convert venom into digestible compounds. Some of it will be excreted, just like any other indigestible food item.
So, going by this logic, you will be safe if you drink snake venom. However, there are several risks associated with ingesting snake venom. Some of these are described below.
Small openings in the gastrointestinal tract – Our digestive system is pretty long, stretching up to 30 feet in length. If there are even any minor cuts along the way, the venom can leak into the bloodstream. This in turn can prove fatal. For snake venom to pass safely through your digestive system, there should not be any cuts, bruises or ulcers in the mouth, esophagus, small and large intestine, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and anus. You should also not have medical conditions such as leaky gut. Due to these risk factors, drinking snake venom can never be considered safe.
Allergic reaction – Proteins are among the primary causes of allergic reactions. So, if you drink snake venom, it may cause an allergic reaction. Since there have been limited number of documented cases on this topic, it’s not certain how serious the allergic reaction to snake venom can be. We can get an idea by looking at more common cases involving bee stings, where people have developed serious allergic reactions.
Overall, drinking snake venom does not seem to be a good idea, even though it may be theoretically harmless inside your stomach. It’s simply not part of your diet. So, if you are having any such thoughts, just forget about it. A lemonade or beer will be much safer and pleasurable.