Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Hangover

You know what it feels like and you know you never want to feel that way again.  But what is going on in your body when you experience a hangover...and how can you prevent them?

Your body makes a remarkable set of enzymes called alcohol dehydrogenase for the sole purpose of breaking down the alcohol in your bloodstream to be metabolized by the liver.  Alcohol itself is toxic and it is broken down into aldehydes, ketones and sugar for the body's use.  The amount and activity of alcohol dehyrogenase is genetically determined and young women have less than young men,  and older people and different populations (think: American Indians) also express different levels.  When a person drinks too much or too fast, the alcohol dehydrogenase is overwhelmed and cannot metabolize the toxic alcohol.

If you failed to drink in moderation or to hydrate and eat while drinking, you've already blown it.  Here are some proven hangover helpers:
  • Drink water.  Drink it between alcohol beverages and before you go to bed.  Dehydration is one cause of pounding headaches and dry mouth.  You cannot over hydrate so drink a lot of water.
  • Don't drink more alcohol in the morning.  That myth of the "Hair of the Dog" only adds to the toxicity that your body is dealing with.  A virgin Bloody Mary is good for the tomato juice and the salt.
  • Sleep.  Rest your body so it can repair the damage you have done.
  • After you have rested, exercise.  Make sure you hydrate and then try to work up a sweat by walking, cycling or just about anything that makes you sweat.
  • Take  Ibuprofen with some food on your stomach.  It will help with the symptoms.
  • Take a vitamin containing Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C.  There is no proof that this will help but alcohol depletes these vitamins from the body.  If you can get to a health food store and drink a wheat grass shake that is a good way to get healthier.
  • Try this recipe: 
    • 2 liters water (about 8 ½ cups)
    • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
    • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
    • 12 small spearmint leaves.  
     
      
Dude, you have poisoned yourself.  A hangover is the Divine Universe telling you that you over indulged.  You are getting a clear message from every cell in your body.  Listen and learn.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered what wheat grass tastes like and what the health benefits are that you can get from it are? One time I was next to someone drinking it with another drink chasing it down to help with the taste, but have not tried it myself. Maybe this is the year to try it, but I didn't get hung over during the holidays!

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tracy said...

Wish i had the body of that skinny little thing in the picture!

Toni Brayer, MD said...

tracy: Maybe she's not drunk. Could be bulemic. Either way, not healthy.

Christeen said...

Your sharing on hangover was timely Toni! Good tips for those of any age who get carried away with the Spirits when celebrating.
Happy days to you!

Chemist Direct said...

Yea I also think so that she might have not drunk. It just some foreign material has gone inside her body she has caused her food poisoning.

tracy said...

....or the obvious answer...a lucky tiny thing in a posed picture!

Toni Brayer, MD said...

tracy: haha. Tall and thin by luck.
Chemist: You have a good soul

Sprinkle said...

Great post! Got to love a doctor that gives hangover advice!

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