Hangover – A Basic Overview
Hangovers—known in the medical world as veisalgias—are the collection of unpleasant symptoms often experienced the day after drinking alcoholic beverages.
It is not necessary to drink a lot of alcohol to have a hangover the next day. Some people can have a hangover from one glass of wine. It also is not necessarily consistent. One alcoholic beverage may cause a severe hangover one day and not cause any symptoms on another day.
Hangovers may include headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, sensitivity to light and sound, and fatigue. According to a study in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, fatigue and thirst were the most prevalent hangover symptoms for Dutch students.
Hangover symptoms are thought to be caused by the body’s reaction to the toxins in alcoholic beverages, including the alcohol itself and the preservatives and flavoring agents. The liver, as it attempts to detoxify the body, may become overtaxed.
- Dehydration: One of the major causes for hangovers has been said to be dehydration. Alcoholic beverages are often very dehydrating, as the digestive organs pull liquids from the body in an attempt to dilute the toxins. Drinking alcohol may seem to quench the thirst, but drinking alcoholic beverages such as beer when thirsty can lead to severe dehydration.
- Oxygen starvation: Alcohol also interferes with the way that blood carries oxygen throughout the body. This is part of the reason that people get inebriated; alcohol deprives the brain of oxygen. Alcohol starves the liver of oxygen at the same time it is forcing the liver to focus on detoxifying the body, which means that the liver may neglect some of its other 500 functions while you are recovering from drinking.
- Diet can play a role in hangover prevention . If you eat something greasy or fattening before you drink, you may not experience a hangover. The theory here is that the grease, fat, and oil coat the stomach and slow the absorption of alcohol from the stomach to the blood stream, giving your liver more time to process it. If you don’t want to eat a burger and fries, taking oil supplements such as evening primrose oil or omega-3 fish oils may also coat the stomach and assist in this same way. Eating peanut butter before drinking is an African remedy to prevent hangovers, probably because the peanut butter’s fat content.
- Timing is everything for women. If you are just before the end of your cycle – in other words, you are about to start menstruating – you are more susceptible to becoming drunk and having a horrible hangover.
- Vitamin B and Vitamin C may also be taken before drinking alcohol to boost the body’s natural defenses against the hangover.
Hangover Alternative Medicine Strategies
Many cultures have hangover “cures.” However, there is not a specific cure for hangovers. There are many things that can be done to alleviate the symptoms of hangovers while your body processes the toxins.
- Drink water. This may seem obvious, but a little hydration planning may prevent a hangover. Drink an extra few glasses of water before you begin drinking alcohol. In between drink orders, have a glass of water. Order a drink “on the rocks” and drink the melted ice to increase your water intake. Once you’re done drinking alcohol, drink more water. Keep a bottle of water next to your bed and drink it when you wake up.
- Detoxify. Your body needs rest, light exercise, and sweat to assist with cleansing the alcohol from the system. Get plenty of sleep in a dark room after drinking alcohol. Do something mildly aerobic, like taking a walk, gentle yoga, or a bike ride. Take a sauna, steam bath, or hot shower to encourage toxins to come out of the pores in your skin.
- Reflexology may help stimulate the liver. The liver point is on the bottom of the right foot, about in the middle; massaging this area of the foot may help your body deal with alcohol toxins.
- Activated charcoal, which is often used for people who overdose on medications or have food poisoning, helps absorb toxins. Some experts recommend taking one supplement in between each alcoholic beverage.
- Banana with honey. Banana is thought to calm an upset stomach as well as relieve tired muscles, and the honey may help replace simple sugars in the body to help you feel more awake and clear-headed when you have a hangover.
- Korean pear is one of the newest treatments for hangovers. A recent study published in Phytotherapy Research found that 30 minutes after consuming alcohol, mice who were given Korean pear had lower alcohol levels in their blood. Korean pear is thought to provide an enzyme that assists the liver in alcohol metabolism, making detoxification easier.
- Nutrients: Other nutrients sometimes recommended for hangover treatment include basil, coconut and coconut oil, ginger, green tea, kudzu root extract, lemon or lime, lentils, wheatgrass, almonds, peppermint, prickly pear cactus, persimmons, raw cabbage, sauerkraut, thyme.
- Avoid these: Eating meat, eggs, black tea, coffee, greasy foods and refined sugar after a hangover has begun may slow your recovery.
The information on this site it intended for general inquiry and informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you, or those under your care, are ill or in need of health care, please seek immediate medical attention. Always consult a doctor or other competent licensed clinical for specific advice about medical treatments for yourself or those under your care. Any use of, or reliance in any way upon, the information contained in the AlternativZ site and/or accessed through this site is solely at your own risk.
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