If you’re currently in the miserable throws of a hangry hangover, forward straight to the end of the article for a couple real food recipes to replenish and satiate. If you’d like a bit of an understanding of how you got here (other than the obvious, you drank too much ya fool!), keep reading.
As the holidays approach, the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed rises, which is understandable with all the delicious and delightful traditional winter drinks! To be honest, who would willingly pass up a sip of traditional eggnog? I know I wouldn’t! However, unfortunately, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Excessive amounts of alcohol can make you feel on top of the world for a short period of time, but then curse you with dreadfully painful after-affects.
Other than the common tips we’ve all heard (drink lots of water, be sure to eat when drinking – which by the way are great tips and you should definitely do them!), to learn how to tackle those horrible hangover blues even further, one has to first understand what alcohol does to the body.
Alcohol increases urination. Why?
- Alcohol suppresses vasopressin. Vasopressin acts as an anti diuretic in the body. This means that vasopressin restrains you from unintentionally urinating. Alcohol inhibits vasopressin in the body, thereby moving more water and electrolytes to the bladder and, you guessed it, making you need to urinate more frequently.
Alcohol dehydrates the body. Why?
- As alcohol increases frequent urination, this contributes to dehydration. Dehydration can result in symptoms like dizziness, fatigue and headaches.
Alcohol leads to a build up of acetaldehyde in the body. Why?
- In our body, we contain an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase. When alcohol reaches the liver, this enzyme (dehydrogenase) works to break it down into acetaldehyde. Oddly enough, acetaldehyde is more toxic to the body then alcohol itself. The response to the acetaldehyde is the production of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione. Now you might have heard about glutathione. It’s actually a very strong antioxidant, so it’s a good guy here. The body is producing it to help neutralize the alcohol-related toxins from the liver. Together, glutathione and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase break down your holiday liquid-happiness into acetate (a harmless substance). The problem is we only have limited glutathione, and when stores are low, it allows for acetaldehyde to build up in the body. It is the after-effects of acetaldehyde on the central nervous system that contribute to the awful hangover (headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, sweating, excessive thirst, and cognitive fuzziness).
Alcohol disrupts glutamine. Why?
- Glutamine is an amino acid that plays a role in immune function, muscles, and in the cells of the intestinal tract. When alcohol is consumed, glutamine is suppressed in the body. But when you stop drinking, the body creates more glutamine to counteract this effect – a process called glutamine rebound. This increase in the stimulating effect of glutamine is also what contributes to some of the hangover symptoms, including overactive bowels, restless sleep, anxiety, and even a rise in blood pressure.
Alcohol irritates stomach lining, blood vessels and affects blood sugar. Why?
- Alcohol increases production of stomach acid due to its irritating properties. This could result in symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain and even vomiting. Blood vessels expand with alcohol and can trigger headaches. Blood sugar levels rise and fall with alcohol consumption, contributing further to hangover symptoms such as shakiness, mood instability, fatigue, increased hunger or nausea, and headache.
Alcohol hinders the inflammatory response and immune system. Why?
- Alcohol triggers the immune system to backfire. Immediately, when a toxin is identified, phagocytes (our immune system soldiers) are sent out to destroy the invader. Alcohol blocks the phagocytes ability to do their job. What’s worse, as those nasty little alcohol toxins get by our immune soldiers, cytokines production will slow. Cytokines are our messengers that regulate immunity and inflammation in the body. With these guys hindered, your body’s ability to fight off infections efficiently will be reduced for at least 24 hours after drinking. Your body will have a very difficult time warding off infections or bacteria that it comes in contact with while being intoxicated or in the aftermath of a big night-out
Okay, so this all sounds pretty scary, right? You’re cursing me for telling you all this? But wait, like all things in life and wellness, it’s about balance! You don’t drink excessively all the time (hopefully), but the holidays typically bring more social gatherings in celebration and we’re apt to consume more alcohol perhaps than we usually do… and there may be some mornings you find yourself not feeling very well.
Now that you know what those tasty beverages are doing inside your body, you can help reduce those awful hangovers symptoms by preparing your body for combat in advance. Before heading out to the party, you can supplement with some of the following:
- Liposomal glutathione, a natural antioxidant and is key in alcohol detoxification
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), a precursor for glutathione production. It helps replenish glutathione levels in the body’s system. In fact, in rats it was shown to diminish alcohol toxicity and death. NAC binds to acetaldehyde.
- Vitamin C, an antioxidant that promotes glutathione production and aids in absorbing acetaldehyde (toxic). Unfortunately, vitamin C is one of the vitamins depleted in the body when alcohol is consumed.
- Vitamin B1, alcohol can contribute to many nutritional deficiencies, B1 or thiamin is one of many. Lack of this vitamin is known to be connected to lethargy, apathy, impaired awareness, disorientation and memory loss. When B1 is combined with NAC and vitamin C, it produces a very beneficial and powerful antioxidant. In one animal study, supplementation of B1, vitamin C and NAC completely blocked a lethal dose of acetaldehyde. Take a B-complex with your vitamin C and NAC (best for full spectrum support).
- R-Lipoic Acid (R-ALA), a very powerful antioxidant that enhances vitamin C and NAC’s efficiency
- Zinc, alcohol will deplete this mineral in the body. When zinc stores are depleted it can trigger diarrhea or produce poor immunological responses.
- Magnesium, stores are significantly depleted with alcohol consumption. Magnesium is an electrolyte mineral, and supplementing during alcohol use can improve sleep quality, relieve headaches, reduce body aches, and help mitigate effects of dehydration. Caution: avoid using a citrate form of magnesium supplement when using it for a hangover – this form can contribute to loose bowels (not a good idea when a hangover often has you running to the bathroom enough already!). Use a malate or glycinate form instead.
- Potassium, also part of the electrolyte family, potassium is depleted with alcohols diuretic affect. Deficiency can produce symptoms of weakness, drowsiness, nausea, stomach aches, vomiting, and even fainting.
Even better news – we’ve put all these supplements together in a package for you, for your convenience and peace of mind!
Check out our trusted medical-grade supplement dispensary at https://www.mipstick.com/supplements/. Click on the Fullscript Order button and look for our “Hangover Support” bundle. Order direct, with our special discount, and your order will be shipped directly to your door.
Remember that alcohol depletes a lot of vitamins and minerals in the body, that is in part, what actually makes us feel so unwell. It’s important to replenish the following nutrients:
- Electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, sodium) as diuretics make your body to excrete excessive amounts
- Antioxidants (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, glutathione) to help clean up the remaining alcohol in your system
- Cysteine (glutathione’s precursor)
You can take the above as additional supplements if you’d like, but really what we want the day-after is some hearty food, right? We need calories at this point, and supplements don’t have calories.
But don’t run to MacDonald’s! Instead have foods that are rich in the above nutrients to speed up hangover recovery.
Fruit (oranges, pineapple, papaya (Vitamin C) and tomatoes (Vitamin C, Lycopene, glutathione)
Bananas (potassium, vitamin C)
Ginger (spice known to alleviate nausea and stomach aches)
Eggs (cysteine, B-vitamins, selenium-antioxidant)
Nuts (vitamin E – antioxidant)
Oatmeal (vitamin B1, magnesium, zinc)
Coconut water (all electrolyte minerals, glucose for energy production and brain function)
Peppermint (calms the stomach)
Water (to flush out remaining toxins and rehydrate the body)
Avocado (magnesium, B-vitamins, vitamin C, potassium)
Spinach (magnesium, vitamins A and C, both antioxidants, B-vitamins)
Dark chocolate (magnesium, antioxidants)
Okay so now the best part – we’ve created a couple replenishing and satiating real food recipes to tackle your hangry hangover!
Neither the above information nor any food will fully eradicate the effects of a self-induced dreadful hangover! The information provided is intended to assist in mitigating the physiological effects of overconsumption of alcohol only.