This February, whether it’s the Super Bowl, Valentine’s day, Chinese New Year, Groundhog day or Mardi Gras you might dip a little too far into the liquor cabinet.
Here’s a list of ways to prevent or at least dampen the symptoms of a hangover. Read below for more details.
1. Don't drink alcohol! (I know this isn't always reasonable so I'll continue)
2. Detox regularly and take herbs/supplements that support and protect the liver. (Talk to me!)
3. Mix with water instead of pop
4. Try beer alternatives
5. Don't mix with energy drinks
6. Alternate with V8 juice or at least a sports drink (especially in the heat)
7. Supplement with a good multivitamin/mineral, B-complex, fiber and fish oil
8. Have a big meal before you start drinking.
9. Be aware of interactions with medications (including birth control!)
10. Bring your ID and some cash (no cards or keys!)
1. Get some protein
2. Supplement with a multivitamin/mineral, B-complex, fiber and fish oil
3. Avoid painkillers!
4. Take a homeopathic
5. Eat bitter foods
6. Eat fatty foods
7. Hydrate yourself
8. Rest and stay away from stimulants or exercise
9. Practice deep breathing
10. Play a video game or watch a movie
You may have heard all of these before but click "Read More" if you'd like an explanation of why they are effective.
This blog is not intended to be medical advice. There are many exceptions for individual cases. For example some individuals should not take certain vitamins or supplements. For actual medical advice please contact me.
1. Don’t drink alcohol! (I know this isn't always reasonable so I’ll go on)
- At least try to keep your drinking rate at less than 1/hour.
- Our bodies can only break down alcohol at the rate of about one standard drink per hour.
- Your liver is responsible for detoxifying almost everything we put into our bodies, secreting enzymes that break alcohol down as well as secreting bile to carry everything out of your digestive tract.
- My next blog will be strictly about the liver so I’ll spare the details here.
- Most of us might have a can of pop once in a while but when we mix drinks it’s easy to consume a whole liter. Too much pop will cause hyperglycemia and mimic the signs of being drunk. This could be compounding the effects of alcohol, making you feel even more intoxicated. The next morning, since your body has been working all night trying to get your blood sugar back down, you’ll be hypoglycemic which will compound the effects of your hangover (Alcohol also reduces blood sugar). You might feel much better when you consume more pop or a sugary drink but it’s a better idea to consume complex carbohydrates so you’re not just shooting your blood sugar up and down all day.
- The wheat from the beer could be having even worse effects on you than the alcohol if you’re sensitive to any of the proteins in wheat like gluten or gliadin. You might find that you can handle liquor a lot better tolerance-wise and digestive-wise. If you are sensitive to gluten and you drink beer, the inflammatory reaction the beer causes in your digestive system could be making your body even more susceptible to alcohol intoxication.
- If something messes up your stomach (bloating, cramping, mucous in stool), you’re probably sensitive to it, so try something else. Many people think that they get bloating and cramping due to the carbonation of beer but it could actually be the double-edged sword of alcohol and gluten sensitivity causing an inflammatory response.
- Beer alternatives: scotch whiskey, tequila, vodka, cider, gin, mead, rum, sake wine, gluten-free beers (made from rice, pears, sorghum)
- Refer to my previous blog, "Is Going Gluten-free just a Fad?" about the possible symptoms from a gluten intolerance, some may mimic the effects alcohol can have.
- They increase the rate of alcohol absorption and they will spike your blood sugar. Another suspected effect energy drinks pose is if they make you more alert they may decrease your perception of how drunk you are.
- The combination of sweating and drinking a diuretic (alcohol) will have double the dehydrating effect and will strengthen the effect of alcohol. It will be much harder to recover the next morning. Any protein (There is protein in V8 juice) will help with blood sugar regulation. It's also important to get a drink that has sodium and potassium in it.
- Alcohol depletes several vitamins and minerals, if you are already deficient in a vitamin or mineral your symptoms could be a lot worse than a hangover after drinking. Taking a couple good supplements before a night out may prevent becoming deficient.
- Your stomach and your small intestine both absorb alcohol. If you can keep the alcohol in your stomach for an extended amount of time you can delay absorption since the surface area of the lining of your stomach is less than the small intestine. Your stomach also secretes alcohol dehydrogenase (the same enzyme your liver secretes). This will give your body a chance to break down more alcohol before it reaches your small intestine and liver.
- Certain combinations can either lessen the efficacy of your medication or directly cause liver damage
- Leave the keys and cards at home. The decisions you make when you’re drunk can be far worse than your actual hangover.
1. Get some protein: Drink V8 juice or a protein shake rather than a sports drink
- The protein will help with metabolism of alcohol and regulating blood sugar
- Sports drinks are just loaded with sugar, they’ll make you feel good temporarily and then once your blood sugar plummets again the hangover feeling will come back.
- It’s important to replenish everything that was depleted the night before.
- Never take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) the next morning, you can cause liver damage.
- There are some common homeopathics that you can take for a hangover but most of us experience hangovers differently than others. Taking the right homeopathic could work wonders for you.
- It might not cure a hangover but it can help with things like indigestion, hangover constipation and appetite.
- Both a bitter taste and fat will stimulate your liver and speed up the detoxification process.
- Some bitter foods are: artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, olives, lemon juice.
- Some fats that may help the liver are: fish oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
- The above foods should be taken unprocessed to preserve the bitterness.
- I’ll be writing in a future blog about why bitter foods are so good for your liver.
- Coffee is a diuretic and simulates stress, therefore it will further dehydrate you and delay digestion.
- I’m not telling you to get drunk again, just have a little bit. Just like any other drug, taking a small dose during withdrawal (hangover) should lessen the symptoms.
- You want your body to be in the rest and digest stage (Parasympathetic mode) so it can deal with the alcohol in your system. Exercise, caffeine and stress will force you into fight or flight mode (sympathetic mode) and delay digestion and detoxification.
- Most people think they have to sweat it out but exercising will just further dehydrate you and delay the metabolism of alcohol. Exercise should be delayed until when the hangover has resolved so you can then sweat out the toxins and get some fresh oxygen and nutrients into your tissues.
- This will help your body get into that rest and digest state I mentioned earlier
- A pleasant distraction is a simple, passive way to endure the hardship of a hangover