If you are reading this, I would bet you have been hungover at least once in your life … and you disliked it so much that you want to find out how to avoid it from ever happening again! Most drinkers have been down that road … we get it! And even though we may have experienced a terrible hangover in the past, it does not prevent us from drinking in the future. Since we know we are going to continue to drink, we do a little research on how to prevent a wicked hangover from happening again. We concoct hangover remedies. We check google, read blogs, and scan articles looking … wanting … hoping to find the hangover cure!
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the only way to eliminate the chance of a hangover completely is to simply not drink. Sad news, I know … but don’t click away yet … I have some good news for you too! All hope is not lost though. When we understand what causes a hangover, we know how to prevent a hangover in the future. So, what causes a hangover? Dehydration? The type of alcohol you consume? Lack of food? All great theories to dive into for answers.
The truth is, a hangover occurs for more complex reasons than simply being dehydrated.
There are multiple chemical and physical processes taking place in your body as soon as you take your first drink. Essentially, as soon as you start drinking your body is already setting you up for a hangover. For many many years, it was “common knowledge” that you got hungover because you were dehydrated. Which, when you think about it seems like a logical explanation. Alcohol is a diuretic, which makes you frequent the bathroom more than normal. While your body is cleansing its self of toxins through urination, you are also losing essential vitamins and minerals that are imperative for normal function.
So not only are you becoming dehydrated, you are becoming deficient in nutrients that help with cognitive function, muscle contraction, digestion, hormone production, energy levels, and multiple other processes … so the more you drink, the more water your body secrets through urine … when your body lets go of more water then the amount of water coming in, it becomes dehydrated and nutrient deficient. Now, drinking water is definitely a good idea and will help replenish much-needed fluids but do not bank on it being the best, or only, cure for a hangover.
If dehydration is not the only reason for hangovers, what leads to a hangover? The best answer is it is a combination of factors that lead to a head splitting, stomach-churning hangover. As I said earlier, there are multiple chemical and physical processes happening in your body when you drink alcohol. The hangover comes from the metabolization process of alcohol. It is actually the by-products of metabolizing alcohol that are harmful to your body and cause the symptoms of a hangover – headache, nausea, low energy, mental fog, etc.
Since alcohol is processed in the liver, you can also have the effects of hypoglycemia which is a drop in blood sugar levels. Ever wonder why we crave more food when we drink alcohol? This is due to the fact that your liver uses sugar, sucrose, to metabolize alcohol. When that sucrose runs out you are left feeling tired … and craving carb dense foods i.e. pizza, waffles, ramen noodles, tacos, burgers, etc.
There are a few more contributing factors to a hangover so let’s talk about acetaldehyde. This is a chemical that is produced during the metabolization of alcohol in your liver. Not only is acetaldehyde severely more toxic and damaging to your body than the actual alcohol, but it also contributes to wicked hangovers. The kind where you swear off drinking for the rest of your life.
This happens because when you have a few drinks acetaldehyde is attacked and transformed, by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione, into a nontoxic acetate. When your body runs out of those two substances to break down acetaldehyde, it builds up in your system which means a longer and more harsh hangover.
Just to top it off, alcohol also increases the production of stomach acids that can lead to abdominal pain, nausea and/or vomiting … yay!
As I said in the beginning, when you are kicking back and enjoying a few of your favorite alcoholic beverages, your body is already going through the process to make you pay for it later. There is not one thing that leads to a hangover.
Therefore, when trying to figure out how to get rid of a hangover, there is not just one answer for how to relieve hangover symptoms. The great news is, if you know the cause, you can combat it so you can party tonight and perform tomorrow.
Lastly … and I hope this goes without saying: Drink Responsibly. Do NOT drink and drive!
The post When you know what causes a hangover, you can avoid one. appeared first on 1st Phorm.
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