General, Liver | July 9, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
If you’ve overindulged in alcohol, chances are the next day you will experience a group of unpleasant symptoms that are associated with a hangover. For most people this involves nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue and dizziness. When you experience a hangover, it’s often due to a few different factors such as dehydration, poor sleep quality, depleted nutrients and excess strain on the liver. The only way to completely avoid a hangover is to abstain from alcohol or drink in moderation. However, if you wake up with a throbbing headache and an unsettled stomach after a big night out, there are some things you can do to recover faster.
The symptoms of a hangover can range from mild to severe and generally last between 12-24 hours. Every person’s tolerance for alcohol will vary—some people can get a hangover from drinking very little alcohol while others can have a big night and feel fine the next day.
More severe signs and symptoms when consuming alcohol may indicate alcohol poisoning.
Dehydration—alcohol is a diuretic and causes the body is urinate more frequently resulting in dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dizziness and light-headedness.
Inflammation—alcohol triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system which contributes to memory problems and a lack of concentration.
Toxins—alcohol is considered a toxin in large quantities, it irritates the lining of the stomach by increasing acid production and delaying stomach emptying. It also puts excess strain on the liver and other vital organs in the body and leads to oxidative stress.
Low blood sugars—otherwise called hypoglycaemia, low blood sugar levels are a result of drinking alcohol and can lead to fatigue, weakness, shakiness and even seizures.
Dilated blood vessels—when you drink alcohol your blood vessels expand resulting in a headache.
Disturbed sleep—even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy it interferes with sleep quality and can leave you feeling more fatigued in the morning.
Congeners—these are found in darker coloured alcoholic beverages such as red wine, brandy and bourbon and are more likely to lead to a hangover the next day.
The most ideal scenario is to avoid a hangover in the first place. This can be achieved by incorporating some of the following guidelines when drinking alcohol.
If you have woken up with a pounding headache and feel downright awful, it’s not too late to relieve some of the symptoms. Here are some suggestions that can get you feeling back to normal faster.
If you’re dehydrated from drinking too much alcohol this will affect your concentration of electrolytes in the body such as magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium. Coconut water is natures natural ‘sports drink’ and contains minerals such as magnesium and potassium to help replenish stores. Alternatively, you can just make sure you stay well hydrated with fluids, take a magnesium supplement and eat a well-balanced meal.
Taking vitamin B6 while drinking reduced the number of hangover symptoms by approximately 50% in one study. Seventeen men and women attended two parties and were asked to drink the alcoholic beverage of their choice until intoxicated. 50% of participants received 1200 mg of vitamin b6 (400 mg at the beginning of the party, 400 mg 3 hours later, and 400 mg at the party's conclusion), and 50% received placebo. At the second party, participants received the alternate tablet. Subjects who took B6 experienced significantly less hangover symptoms, compared to placebo.
One of the best-known liver herbs, St Mary’s thistle helps this important organ to process alcohol and reduce the unpleasant side-effects of excess consumption. For best results take divided doses during alcohol intake, followed by a dose the next morning.
A popular culinary spice, ginger has been used for centuries for nausea, vomiting and an upset stomach.
If you are experiencing these symptoms as part of your hangover sip on a ginger tea throughout the day or take as a supplement.
Panax ginseng has therapeutic potential for the treatment of alcohol toxicity and as an anti-hangover agent. Numerous studies have shown that panax ginseng has positive effects on alcohol metabolism and relieved hangover symptoms in participants. In addition, it also has protective effects on alcohol-induced toxicity in digestive organs.
Eating a meal that contains a balance of protein and complex carbohydrates will help to stabilise blood sugars and alleviate the symptoms of a hangover. Avoid fast food and high fat meals but instead opt for an omelette or a wrap with lean meat and salad. There are also specific foods that have anti-hangover qualities, and these include asparagus, mango, lemon, thyme and sage.