Most people love to have a drink or two (or more) when celebrating a special occasion (which may just be the fact that it’s Friday). However what goes up must come down and that is definitely the case the next morning after having more than can be reasonably handled by your body. A planned approach to hangover prevention is key.
Every man and their dog has there go to hangover recovery cure so there are a lot to choose from after a night on the booze. Some hangover prevention claims may be more myth than science, but each has their own appeal, even if some may be lacking in evidence and common sense. Some are realistic, some are unremarkable, and some are borderline ridiculous!
Down more than just alcoholic drinks or hangover prevention
Keeping hydrated during and after a drinking session is the most often touted way to reduce the affects of a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic so you lose a lot of water through perspiration (enhanced by the fact that you are more likely to get a bit excited after a few) and urination.
This can cause some of the symptoms associated with a hangover such as headaches, dry mouth and nausea. There is nothing worse than being parched as and not even having the energy to get out of bed to help yourself to some water. Always a good idea to leave a bottle on the bedside table, if you can actually remember to do so!
Train yourself to drink a glass of water every time you start a new alcoholic drink, as cementing a routine is what will make sure you drink enough during your drinking session. You will thank yourself the next morning! Regardless of the role played by hydration in the hangover prevention and/or recovery process, it is well known that dehydration causes the brain to contract, and that could be one of the major causes of your headache.
The lighter the drink – the lighter the hangover
I hate to pick on any particular type of alcohol but the science seems to back up the belief that giving up the old bourbon and coke for a vodka equivalent is going to pay dividends the next day in terms of the degree of your hangover symptoms. The evidence for this is based on the fermentation process itself.
Congeners are toxic chemical by-products that are formed in small amounts during the fermentation process used to create alcohol, with different alcoholic beverages containing varying amounts (source: NCBI).
The results of some studies show that consuming drinks with a high amount of congeners may increase the frequency and severity of a hangover. Congeners may also slow the alcohol metabolism process and result in more prolonged symptoms.
If you are looking to avoid congeners then stick to vodka, gin and rum. In particular, vodka contains very little to no amount of congeners. I myself subscribe to this theory and have done away with my bourbon and coke days and replaced it with vodka and soda (at the risk of being outcast by the red-blooded male population) for the sake of hangover prevention.
Also you can forget the whole tonic water is a healthier option and it actually is the case that its just as bad or worse in terms of sugar content and calories. This myth has been perpetuated for far too long and needs to be stopped…mainly because I am ashamed I fell for this one for so long!
Sweating out the hangover
The sweating out of alcohol is a little bit more controversional and from what I could see there are arguments for it both ways. If you are going to go down this path then there are probably few things to consider to make sure you are prepared.
- Make sure that you are properly hydrated as you may actually make your symptoms worse.
- Consider your coordination skills as you don’t want to hit the weights and drop a barbell or two on yourself!
- Don’t try to set any world records when exercising after a night out. Realise that you are not at your best and see it more for what it is…a recovery session for your body and mental state (maybe yoga and light stretching).
A bout of exercise releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals and hormones that boost energy and mood—something that you’re probably missing when you are hungover. So although it may not have an impact on your physical recovery from a hangover, it will at least make you more mentally prepared to handle the remainder of the day and hopefully be more productive than you would otherwise.
Hangover prevention with vitamins and recovery drinks
Their are plenty of vitamins, herbs or recovery drinks that people claim can reduce the severity of hangover symptoms. These include:
- Magnesium is a nutrient that is reduced when consuming alcohol. It has anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce some hangover symptoms. Most people are already deficient in magnesium and so taking a magnesium supplement before an evening of drinking may be beneficial.
- Vitamin C is important for reducing alcohol-induced oxidative stress on your liver. Vitamin C will also assist in detoxifying alcohol, so you should consider taking it either via supplements or food, before indulging in alcoholic beverages.
- Since alcohol depletes B vitamin in your body and it is required to help eliminate alcohol from your body, a B-vitamin supplement taken before you start a session may help to reduce or prevent a hangover.
- Milk thistle contains silymarin and silybin antioxidants that are known to help protect the liver from toxins such as those from alcohol. A milk thistle supplement may be most useful when taken throughout the year if you are a regular drinker.
- You will often be the recipient of a electrolyte-laden sports drink when you send out a friend on a hangover food run. These drinks are usually packed with potassium and sodium which are types of electrolytes that help you retain water and therefore help with rehydration.
Hangover prevention or not, vitamin supplements are useful if you are deficient in these essential vitamins and minerals so they can potentially serve a dual purpose.
Cure a hangover by caffeinated means
The morning after coffee is another popular hangover prevention remedy that people swear by, however I am less convinced. For me it’s a little like the more outrageous hair of the dog (see below) in that you are just papering over the problem with (shall I dare say?) a legally allowable stimulant.
Though an experiment conducted on rats may prove me otherwise. They dosed these rats up on a bit of alcohol and then after four hours gave them a hit of caffeine to help with their ‘hangover’. Though be aware that caffeine may also have a mild diuretic affect so make sure to hydrate at the same time.
Prescription medicine to dull those hangover aches
One of the most common hangover symptoms is the dreaded thumping headache that is generally associated with dehydration as the body draws water from any place it can, including the old noggin. Prescription medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen can be used to dull the pain.
What about combing popular hangover remedies? A study has found that the caffeine in coffee and the anti-inflammatory ingredients of aspirin and other painkillers react positively with the chemical compounds of ethanol, or pure alcohol. Ethanol brings on headaches thanks to the chemical acetate produced and even low doses can affect some people more than others.
Greasy food from the local takeaway
Contrary to popular opinion, heading to the local takeaway is not the best plan of attack to cure your hangover woes. A pre-session fatty and/or greasy meal is better at preventing a hangover than curing one, since fried foods tend to irritate the stomach. So smashing an over-sized burger before the liquor starts flowing can help insulate the stomach and therefore prevent alcohol from being absorbed into the stomach lining and bloodstream.
Foods that are considered helpful in reducing the impact of a hangover the day after include eggs, miso soup, bananas or oats.
The hairiest of the hairy dog
The most outrageous (and also not highly recommended) is the approach known as the ‘hair of the dog’. The full phrase is the ‘hair of the dog that bit you’ which literally meant (back in the day) that if you were bitten by a dog you would stuff the wound with the hair of the dog that bit you.
This theory (about the hair stuffing) probably works as well as the hangover cure it is commonly associated with, where you consume the same alcohol you did the night before as a hangover remedy. Though this is like telling a heroin addict that to avoid a comedown they should just shoot some more heroin…not a great long term strategy!
Taking a scientific preventative approach to hangover prevention
We at Recoverthol believe that a more targeted and scientific approach should be taken when finding that elusive hangover prevention cure. Why not attack the root cause of the problem rather than closing the barn door (i.e. treating the symptoms when the horse (i.e. hangover) has already bolted into the open field).
Stanley Goldfarb, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school explains that the root of hangovers isn’t that the body lacks water or electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, or magnesium after a night out. Instead, it’s just that the chemicals produced when the body breaks down alcohol are toxic and pain-inducing. The surest hangover cure (he believes), then, is something that the market doesn’t generally prefer: patience.
However, if you are not the patient type and are looking for a more scientifically based solution, then Recoverthol may be for you. Recoverthol contains ingredients that are found naturally in your body. When you drink alcohol, your liver gets to work using Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzyme and its cofactors, to slowly filter out the alcohol in your system.
An extra dose of these ADH cofactors when you start drinking, may be beneficial to replenish what you have used up in order to help manage and prevent hangover symptoms. Get ahead of your hangover with Recoverthol and be on your A-game the next day!
If you think Recoverthol is right for you then head over to our online shop and try it for yourself!