After a night of carousing… comes the morning of hangovers. Most of us have been there. With a tongue that feels like sandpaper. A puffy face that makes you look like a Chow Chow puppy. And faint memories of the floor hitting you in the face.
Nothing can get you out of bed, other than the call of your churning stomach. Hangovers are tough. Wouldn’t you like to know how to cure them?
So, you’re hungover and craving a magic cure. What is it? An old-fashioned English fry-up? Loading up on H2O? How about “The hair of the dog?”
Sorry to disappoint you, but scientists haven’t yet come up with a universal hangover treatment. Despite centuries of alcohol consumption, nobody really knows how your drinking gets you hungover in the first place.
However, researchers at the Alcohol Hangover Research Group are determined to change that. Their studies have brought us a little bit closer to what causes hangovers, and how to make the morning after a little easier.
Drink more water. Alcohol blocks the creation of an antidiuretic hormone. That, in turn, makes your kidneys send water directly to the bladder rather than absorbing it back into your body. That’s where those frequent bathroom trips come from, as well as the dehydration the next day.
But dehydration isn’t the only thing that’s causing you to feel like crap in the morning. Studies show that the chemicals created when your body breaks down alcohol are more to blame, and water alone won’t make you feel better.
But a glass of it in between drinks can leave less space for alcohol in your bladder, preventing you from excessive consumption. And the less you drink, the easier your hangover is.
Have an English breakfast. As your body metabolizes alcohol, it releases toxic chemical acetaldehyde that causes nausea and makes your heart beat faster. An amino acid, cysteine, can help reduce the amount of acetaldehyde in your body.
Where could you find it? Eggs and bacon. If you’re a vegan, you can get by having oatmeal for breakfast.
Choose vodka over whiskey. One study looked at two groups of young adults – one drinking vodka, and the other one drinking bourbon. The results showed that absolutely all drinkers get hangovers, although the vodka-drinking group was much less miserable the next morning.
Turns out, darker alcohols like rum, bourbon and red wine contain an increased amount of chemical compounds called congeners – and these congeners will give you a worse hangover.
Clear spirits, like Vodka, for example, have virtually no congeners compared to whiskey. So you might want to reconsider your alcohol of choice.
And what about “the hair of the dog”?
Not literally, of course. In the 1500s, an elixer concocted with “the hair of the dog that bit you” was believed to cure you of rabies. As you might imagine, it worked just as good as curing the hangover with another drink. A morning beer may dull your hangover symptoms for a bit. But you’re only postponing the inevitable. You’ll end up with another hangover later in the day.
Essentially, the best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink at all.
- “Proceeding Of The 8Th Alcohol Hangover Research Group Meeting”. Mackus, Marlou, Sally Adams, Amir Barzilay, Sarah Benson, Lauren Blau, Jacqueline Iversen, and Sean J. Johnson et al. 2017. Accessed on December 29, 2018.
- “Intoxication With Bourbon Versus Vodka: Effects On Hangover, Sleep, And Next-Day Neurocognitive Performance In Young Adults”. Rohsenow, Damaris J., Jonathan Howland, J. Todd Arnedt, Alissa B. Almeida, Jacey Greece, Sara Minsky, Carrie S. Kempler, and Suzanne Sales. 2010. Accessed on December 29, 2018.
- “Alcohol’s Impact on Kidney Function”. pubs.niaaa.nih.gov. Accessed December 29 2018.
- “Five Popular Hangover Cures, Reviewed By Experts”. 2018. The Conversation. Accessed December 29 2018.
- “Everything Science Tells Us About Hangovers — And How You Can Try To Make The Pain Go Away”. Loria, Kevin, 2018. Business Insider. Accessed December 29 2018.
- “Reducing Carcinogenic Acetaldehyde Exposure In The Achlorhydric Stomach With Cysteine”. Linderborg, Klas, Tuuli Marvola, Martti Marvola, Mikko Salaspuro, Martti Färkkilä, and Satu Väkeväinen. 2010.
- “The 7 Best Hangover Cures (Backed By Science)”. Link, Rachael, 2018. Healthline. Accessed December 29 2018.