Alcohol causes hangovers, we all know that, but why? Scientist aren’t sure. Symptoms include: headache, nausea, diarrhea, malaise and fatigue, shakes, dizziness and a fuzzy-brained feeling of unwell. Alcohol is a diuretic which draws water from the body and many of the symptoms related to a hangover start with dehydration. There is conflicting evidence about sugars, but it seems that drinking sugary drinks with alcohol increase the lactate levels in our blood and causes toxicity. There is an emerging theory regarding inflammation from alcohol with release of cytokines, so the Motrin that we take may have a good reason for its effectiveness. Moreover, cytokines are linked to memory loss; so that explains the black-outs you may be having and the long-term effect of alcohol on the memory center (hippocampus) in the brain. It appears that GABA may also play a role in hangovers and some researchers are looking at Hovenia, a Chinese medicine, that may block some of the intoxication and hangover side-effects. Some evidence points not to alcohol, but toxic byproducts of the fermentation process. These are called congeners and are more present in tequila, whisky and cognac and less so in the clear alcohols. Congeners also may slow the metabolism of alcohol and prolong symptoms of a hangover.
Here are some ideas to try to mitigate your hangover based on the research that I have done. For any more ideas and guidance on your over-all health, contact your Navigator!
Water an excellent start - of course its better to have drank a ton of water before bed
Sports drinks contain electrolytes, but have a ton of sugar that can make thinks wors
Coconut water is an excellent hydrator
Pedialyte has more sodium and potassium than Gatorade with less calories
Teas - like ginger can help to reduce nausea and peppermint helps with nausea and abdominal pain
Fruit Juices (not orange) like apple or cranberry contain fructose for energy and vitamins
Pickle Juice contains vinegar, salt and water and helps to rehydrate
Coffee is okay as long as you drink lots of water - avoids caffeine withdrawal too
Foods to look for the morning after
Eggs contain taurine which boosts liver function and protects from alcohol damage and cysteine which breaks down alcohol’s toxic acetaldehyde
Parfait with bananas and dates has lots of potassium
Soup like chicken noodle soup hydrates with water and has cysteine and sodium
Miso has lots of sodium and water for hydration and fermented soy helps with digestion
Toast with honey and nut butter has carbs to increase energy and protein to balance insulin
Oatmeal neutralizes acids in stomach and has essential vitamins and minerals
Things to avoid!
Greasy food (I know that sounds good though) as fried foods irritate the stomach. Better to eat before drinking (did I just say that?)
Orange juice or citrus, tomatoes as they irritate the stomach - So, skip the Bloody Mary
Alcohol - “Hair of the Dog” is not a great way to get over a hangover as it delays the inevitable and can lead to dependency. It may help clear formaldehyde however and can help you feel better
Tylenol, because it can increase the liver damage done by alcohol
Alka-Seltzer as it contains aspirin and citric acid which can irritate stomach lining
Expensive remedies that have no scientific basis to support them
Saunas which can exacerbate dehydration to a dangerous level
Go back to sleep and allow your body to process the toxins and heal on its own
Anti-inflammatory supplements like NAC and Arnica and other natural anti-inflammatories are better
Chlorella helps the liver and body detox from all of your bad nutritional choices too
Vitamins like B vitamins, but not a great amount of literature to support taking a particular mix. B vitamins support detoxification
Exercise - The last thing you may want to do, but boosts endorphins, helps clear toxins with sweating - but you need to Stay hydrated!
Sex! - YES - boosts endorphins, increases serotonin to feel better, hopefully exertional for exercise
Helpful Supplements - There are a ton of “cures” for hangovers and many of them contain some of the following: Ginseng – Red and Siberian, Prickly Pear, Ginger and Borage oil together
Finally, I would be a bad health and wellness doctor if I didn’t mention that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound(ing) of cure!” Try to plan your night so that you pace yourself to keep your blood alcohol well below the legal and toxic limit. But, if you are going to drink heavily:
Make sure to eat a healthy meal with healthy fats before you drink
Consider drinking a glass of water between drinks to stay hydrated
Take an anti-inflammatory before bed
Try prickly pear before bed
Drink clear alcohol rather than colored
Avoid sugary drinks
Contact me for more information or schedule a FREE one-hour consultation!