“How come if alcohol kills millions of brain cells, it never killed the ones that made me want to drink?” ~Author Unknown
Readers beware! Chances are this article may offend some. If you’re easily offended – please leave now!
“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.” – Unknown
What causes a hangover? (Stupid question – you already know the answer!) Let’s rather tell you WHY your excessive drinking last night makes you wish you were dead this morning…yes, I am making fun of you, so get over it and read on…
“The reason why one gets a hangover is that your body – your liver in particular – is not able to process and metabolize the breakdown products from the alcohol quickly enough. In addition to needing enough enzymes, the liver also needs water to process and get rid of the toxins. When supplies run low, it takes water from other organs, including the brain. This is why alcohol is so dehydrating, and why you can wake up with a throbbing headache (and a dry mouth) from drinking too much.”
“It is thus essential to drink a lot of water while drinking and before you go to bed…it can prevent a hangover or at least lessen one”
A bit late for this advice, unfortunately, and so, here you are, stuck with a mother of a hangover you don’t deserve (really?) If anything, life has taught us this: we reap what we sow. Sow in overindulgence, reap a massive hangover! If I come across as hard, cold and VERY unsympathetic, I guess you’re right: you see, I don’t drink at all, and as such, I cannot really relate too much to your hangover misery. Then again, it’s your own fault since you either never learned when to stop drinking or at least how to prevent a hangover. And now…well, I’m sure “the morning after the night before” is just about killing you (considering the symptoms typically associated with hangovers – lower down)…
“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day” ~Frank Sinatra
Hangover definition: “Hangovers are a frequent, though unpleasant, experience among people who drink to intoxication. Despite the prevalence of hangovers, however, this condition is not well understood scientifically. Multiple possible contributors to the hangover state have been investigated, and researchers have produced evidence that alcohol can directly promote hangover symptoms through its effects on urine production, the gastrointestinal tract, blood sugar concentrations, sleep patterns, and biological rhythms.”
Typical symptoms of a hangover include fatigue, weakness, thirst, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, decreased deep sleep, vertigo, sensitivity to light and sound, a decline in attention and concentration, anxiety, irritability, depression, tremor, sweating, increase in pulse. Every person with a hangover experience the symptoms in varying intensity and the combination of symptoms will vary from occasion to occasion.
How long does a hangover last? “Typically, a hangover will end within 24 hours. Hangovers begin within several hours after you stop drinking when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) falls. Symptoms of a hangover usually peak about the time BAC is zero and may continue for up to 24 hours thereafter. Most cases of hangover end several hours after 0 level BAC, though. This is for somewhat “normal” cases of over drinking, and a typical average. But hangovers can continue for a couple of days in more severe cases or in times when alcohol withdrawal occurs.”
Ouch! Twenty four hours! Are you kidding me? I need to know how to cure a hangover fast (24 MINUTES are too long), NOW! Sorry to dash your hopes, there honestly are no quick hangover cures, no magic hangover pill that can snap you out of your drunken stupor. The very best thing for a hangover is to sleep it off. So unless you have this luxury (OK, OK, you don’t, otherwise you’d be sleeping instead of tolerating abuse from someone who obviously does not care too much about HOW bad you feel at this very moment!), let’s see if I can at least give you some sound advice on how to get rid of a hangover…sooner rather than later anyway.
“A real hangover is nothing to try out family remedies on. The only cure for a real hangover is death.” Robert Benchley
Assuming you need to get to work, (or whatever it is you need to do today whilst feeling like a train has run over you, or that you have been hit by the very bus you took to the office) try these hangover tips:
Hangover remedies that work: claimed by those who know (I assume)
What to drink:
- DO NOT drink coffee for a hangover (or tea, or any other beverages that contain caffeine for that matter)! You are already dehydrated (hence the thirst); beverages with caffeine are diuretics which will only aggravate the condition, and will not fix a hangover. Instead, start out by drinking as much water as you can handle as water both hydrates your body and helps to flush out the toxins in the body which is a side-effect of drinking alcohol. By the way, this is the next best way to cure a hangover reasonably fast (apart from sleeping it off).
- Fruit juice will help to restore sugar levels in the body, naturally increasing your energy levels.
- Some advocate a Bloody Mary (Hair of the Dog) as a fast hangover cure; this, however, is not the best way to fight a hangover. Think about it, how can consuming more alcohol cure a hangover? All you’re doing is adding more toxins for your body to deal with and essentially you are delaying the inevitable: a worse hangover (at some stage you will have to get sober again!). Rather drink sports drinks that contain electrolytes (potassium, chloride, and sodium) which my research has shown to be very popular with many people and apparently quite an effective remedy for hangovers. These include Gatorade and Powerade.
- For those who prefer natural remedies, electrolytes are found in abundance in coconut water. Hangovers should greatly benefit from this nonfat, low-calorie drink.
- Cure hangover nausea by sipping on herbal teas like ginger or peppermint tea.
- Flat ginger ale is great as hangover nausea cure. It brings welcome relief from nausea symptoms. Ginger is oftentimes prescribed for motion sickness, so yea, it should definitely help with nausea. Taking 2 ginger capsules every hour for a few hours for those who can’t handle the taste will also help to prevent vomiting.
- A cold shower…
- Sipping SLOWLY (the secret ingredient) on real Coke (the one with all the sugar added) can to a great extent help you get over a hangover.
- Pickle juice is considered one of the best hangover cures around: sip on 2 ounces to replenish sodium and electrolyte levels.
How to cure a hangover headache:
- Take aspirin-based pain killer (Alka Seltzer) or ibrufen (such as Advil), but NOT Tylenol, as Tylenol contains acetaminophen which causes even more damage to your liver. Your liver can process (metabolize) about .015 of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in an hour (that is about 1 ounce of liquor which is a standard drink). This means, if you have a BAC of 0.1, it will take about 7 hours before there is no more alcohol in your bloodstream. Simply put: the more you drink, the longer it takes your liver to process the alcohol. A good guideline is to stick to a single drink every hour. Some people seem to think exercise will speed up the process, it won’t however and chances are you may end up feeling worse.
“Hangovers heighten your senses. I can hear people blinking their eyes this morning.” – Unknown
- Even the best hangover food will not cure a hangover fast (gentle reminder: sleeping it off is). Even so, eating certain foods can give you the necessary fuel to get through the day.
- Fruits such as bananas (rich in potassium, easy on the stomach as it is a natural antacid), kiwi and watermelon (high in fructose and tasty way to boost hydration).
- Oats, in my humble opinion, is what you would call a really “good hangover food” (“Due to the diuretic effects of alcohol, the body loses many essential minerals and vitamins during a heavy drinking session. Luckily, oats can provide you with many of these nutrients, including B vitamins (good for the liver and mood) and the essential minerals magnesium, calcium and iron. On top of this, oats can help neutralize acidity levels in the body, cleanse the liver, absorb toxins and slowly raise blood sugar levels, making a bowl of porridge the perfect hangover breakfast.”
- Toast/crackers with a)marmite (a rich source of vitamin B complex – should rid you of hangover depression) or b)sardines (high in omega 3 fatty acids) or c)honey (loaded with antioxidants and concentrated fructose will soothe your dry throat)
- Eggs are high in protein (have it without the bacon and sausages though – greasy food help prevent, not cure hangovers)
- Vitamins are also lost due to the diuretic effect of alcohol. “The most important of which are vitamins B and C. Those people that use a vitamin B complex — a pill that includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), folic acid, B6 and B12, among others — to combat hangovers swear by their effectiveness. The most heralded is B12 (also called cobalamin), which performs a key role in the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Another option is to take an effervescent vitamin supplement that packs a hangover-fighting punch. Emergen-C is popular in the U.S. and Berocca is a hit internationally”.
The above “hangover helpers” are by no means the only hangover cures that work, please feel free to tell us which hangover treatments helped you in getting over a hangover – kindly drop us a comment below the article…
Now that you know how to get over a hangover (and assuming I still have your attention), I’d like to tell you more about hangover prevention (bookmark this page for future reference – take note of the good advice BEFORE you leave for that party…)
“Listen, I’m not an alcoholic, alcoholics go to meetings. I’m a drunk, we go to parties”. – Unknown
How to avoid a hangover? Surefire method: don’t drink at all! (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist)
Relax; I have some sound advice for the wise…
- Avoid hangovers by eating before you start drinking. Food “lines” your stomach; reducing the formation of acetaldehyde which is even more toxic than alcohol itself.
“acetaldehyde is created when the alcohol in the liver is broken down by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. The acetaldehyde is then attacked by another enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, and another substance called glutathione, which contains high quantities of cysteine (a substance that is attracted to acetaldehyde). Together, the acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and the glutathione form the nontoxic acetate (a substance similar to vinegar). This process works well, leaving the acetaldehyde only a short amount of time to do its damage if only a few drinks are consumed.
Unfortunately, the liver’s stores of glutathione quickly run out when larger amounts of alcohol enter the system. This causes the acetaldehyde to build up in the body as the liver creates more glutathione, leaving the toxin in the body for long periods of time.”
As fat slows down the absorption of alcohol, it makes sense to eat fatty foods like pasta and pizza. For the health-conscious, try oily fish which contains fatty acids like sardines, trout, salmon, and mackerel. Alternatively, (if you can stomach it), swallow a tablespoon of olive oil or dip some bread into it and eat.
- Snacking on peanuts or cheese while you drink will further help to avoid hangovers.
- Alternating each alcoholic drink with non-alcoholic drinks like water (best option) or other soft drinks like juice (2nd best option as at least there are some vitamins in juice) or carbonated beverages will not only prevent dehydration (should limit visits to the toilet also – known to be one of the reasons why people think they have an overactive bladder), it will also limit how much you drink. If this is not an option, at least put glass and jug of water at your bedside before you leave; making sure you drink as much of the water when you get back home before you pass out! (Remember: dehydration is the main reason why you feel so icky the next morning!)
- Do NOT mix drinks. Stick to your preferred drink, i.e. beer, wine, vodka, rum, gin, or whatever, and avoid “diet” mixers. They do not contain any sugar; sugar essentially prevents alcohol from entering your bloodstream directly. Of course, you want to drink a toast to your friend getting engaged/married/has a birthday/a baby – just keep in mind that champagne and sparkling wine go straight to the head; stick to one glass only.
- Know your limits. Try to stick to only 1 drink every hour, with no more than 3 drinks every 2 hours. Limiting yourself to a maximum of 5 drinks per night should prevent a serious hangover. Do yourself a favor however and take note of how different alcohol types affect you. Then avoid those that play havoc with your body.
In conclusion on hangover remedies that work:
Without sounding too condescending, you do understand that unless you bother to actually take the precautions mentioned here, chances are you will (once) again look for hangover remedies that work.
Hey, drop us a comment below; let my readers know about your hangover remedies that work (also what does not)…