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Avoiding a Hangover

Men's Health, Women's Health | December 27, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

men, woman

Avoiding a Hangover

Well obviously, the best way to deal with a hangover is not to consume too much alcohol, but hey all good intentions can turn pear shape. This article will look at ways to reduce the symptoms of hangover, before and after-care. 

Let us start with some basics.

What is a hangover

Hangover, medically known as veisalgia, is the misery experienced after alcohol is consumed in excess to what the body can metabolize. This is generally with-in 6-8 hours after the last drink, when there is zero blood alcohol concentration. Commonly referred to as a “big night”, misery symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite and dizziness and not forgetting the embarrassment and amnesia.

Drinking too much can lead to -

  • Dehydration giving you a headache
  • Reduced Vitamin B absorption – this is why you feel tired
  • Irritated stomach – resulting in tummy uspset and nausea

What is a hangoverWhy the Misery

Alcohol is considered a toxin to the body. It is the intoxicating ingredient found in drinks such as spirits, wine and beer and can have a depressing effect on the brain, leading to other consequences to other systems of the body.

Alcohol is consumed when people are socialising, as a means of relaxing and when celebrating.

When consumed in a responsible way – e.g. not to excess, effects of alcohol are usually avoided. Unfortunately, some people can get caught up in the moment and forget to monitor their alcohol consumption.

Alcohol Metabolism (Detoxification)

The way our body deals with toxins is to make them safe. This is called metabolic detoxification and is a function performed by the liver. This process reduces reabsorption of potential toxins and facilitates their excretion through the intestines and kidneys.

This process is usually protective but sometimes the end-product become toxins. In the case of alcohol, it is acetaldehyde and hydrogen. Acetaldehyde causes the damage in long term alcohol consumption, by damaging the liver cells (hepatocytes), and hydrogen leads to fat accumulation – leading to other serious health concerns.

Alcohol impairs the liver’s ability to function

How to Avoid A Hangover

The short-term effects of alcohol are different for every person and every situation. Body size, weight and fat percentage; when you last ate and what you ate; how much alcohol is consumed and how fast alcohol is consumed all contribute to how well you tolerate alcohol.

Avoiding a HangoverEat a meal. Alcohol absorption is reduced when consumed with a meal – especially if it contains fats. 

But don’t forget to eat regularly to avoid hypoglycaemia – low blood sugar, which may also contribute to hangover symptoms. 

If you are out dancing and having fun with friends you are also burning blood sugar, so keep up your fuel with food before having another drink.

Pace yourself. The liver can metabolize about 1 drink per hour – but remember this may be dependant on the toxic content of the actual drink.

Pick your drinks. Some alcohol beverages contain more toxic chemicals than others. Congeners are natural by-products of alcohol fermentation that can really contribute to hangover. The darker colour, the more congeners. Some to think about avoiding include whiskeys especially bourbon, cognac and tequila.

Stay Hydrated. Drinking plenty of water before, between and after to avoid symptoms of dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic – which is why you need the bathroom a lot when drinking. Symptoms of dehydration can be headache, dry mouth and fatigue.

Herbs and Nutrients

Milk Thistle/St Mary’s Thistle Silybum marianum is an herb that can protect and support a dysfunctional liver. Its actions include hepatocyte protective, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant as well as a digestive tonic.
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Siberian Ginseng Eleutherococcus senticosus. This herb is full of polysaccharides which studies have found may help with symptoms of hangover by reducing the ani-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic effects.

Electrolytes. Consider drinks containing electrolytes to replenish lost nutrients and support rehydration.
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Vitamin B Complex. Alcohol can reduce the absorption of the water- soluble B group vitamins. These are the workers in our body and are needed for many jobs in our body. Replace after drinking to help with fatigue and reduce the chances of hangover.
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Stop Drinking

Signs You Have Had Enough

You may not realize you have had enough so get a non-drinking friend to let you know if you are showing symptoms of intoxification and need to stop drinking. These include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Unstable – If you’re falling over -you might as well assume you are intoxicated (falling down drunk)
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Headache
  • Emotional – want to fight or cry
  • Vomiting

Things to Consider Before Drinking

No amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy

Alcohol can damage the growing brain (birth to adolescents)

Alcohol interferes with how medicines work – whether they be prescription meds or over-the-counter

Health Effects of Alcohol

The health effects of a hangover are the body’s reaction to this toxicity. This includes:

Poor Cognitive response – the ability to respond to normal day activity, such as driving and job performance. Why you shouldn’t drive after drinking alcohol!

Inflammatory response – Hangover is considered an inflammatory reaction

Immune system activation - Study has shown the body illicit an immune system response by the next day after a night of drinking.

Changes in gut bacteria - Chronic alcohol consumption has an effect on the microbiota of the gut, increasing pro-nflammatory bacteria and decreasing anti-inflammatory bacteria. This is known as dysbiosis. In addition, the reduced gut health can result in poor intestinal wall integrity, meaning the products of digestion can leak out of the gut causing more toxicity for the body to deal with and can induce an inflammatory state. This is often referred to as leaky gut. It is suggested that a hangover will have an effect on the bacteria in the gut, possible in a smaller way.
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Health Effects of AlcoholCircadian rhythms (the changes to our physical, mental and behaviour that follow a daily cycle). Circadian rhythms are influenced by light and dark, and is why you feel sleepy at night and often wake at the same time in the morning no-matter how much sleep you have had. When your circadian cycle is interrupted it can have an effect on your health, on your sleep patterns, digestion, hormonal system and other body systems.
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Too Late

Over-indulged. Recovery can take time. Help recover from the miseries with a good meal, vitamin B complex, Siberian ginseng, milk thistle, water and electrolytes.

Click Here For Article on Avoiding Alcohol  Australia’s best online discount chemist


Proceeding of the 8th Alcohol Hangover Research Group Meeting

A Review of the Physiological Factors Associated with Alcohol Hangover.

Clinical effect of a polysaccharide-rich extract of Acanthopanax senticosus on alcohol hangover.

Huether, Sue E. and McCance, Kathryn L., 2004, Understanding Pathophysiology, Mosby USA

Fisher, Carole; 2009, MATERIA MEDICA OF WESTERN HERBS, Vitex Medica, New Zealand.

Henry, Osiecki; The Nutrient Bible 9th Edition, Bio Concepts, AG Publishing; QLD, Australia

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