Have you ever laid in bed, the light was shining in through the window; you’re extremely thirsty for a glass of water, but had absolutely no appetite for food? Your stomach is in resistance and you feel like that you will have to make a run to the bathroom at any minute.
In addition, you may suffer from at least two or more of the listed symptoms:
- No appetite
- The shakes
You also may feel very dehydrated and slightly less coordinated; generally speaking, everything appears to be going slow.
Well done my companion, you have a hangover!
What causes a hangover?
The severity and quantity of symptoms varies from person to person, yet it is largely accepted that the more alcohol a drinker ingests, the worse the hangover will be.
Nevertheless, don’t worry, you’re not the only one who’s experienced a hangover before. According to reports, 77% all drinkers suffer from them. At this point, you may be wondering “What causes a Hangover” or “What can be done to cure a Hangover”, first you need to define the issue.
Defining the issue of a hangover
Above all, the correct name for a hangover is veisalgia, from the Norwegian word for “uneasiness following debauchery” (kveis) and the Greek word for “pain” (algia).
A hangover is essentially caused by dehydration in the body, Acetaldehyde intoxication, hypoglycaemia, and an overall lack of the vitamin B-12 in the body. It is the result of numerous processes. When alcohol is broken down in your liver, it results in high levels of a toxin called acetaldehyde, which make you feel tired and run down. Acetaldehyde is then further broken down into acetate, and then into carbon dioxide and water, before you feel better again.
The director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, George Koob stated, “I like to think of a hangover as a mini withdrawal syndrome”. He explained that, “When you drink, your brain experiences an uptick in feel-good neurotransmitters”. He added, “Swallow enough booze, and the resulting comedown from that massive surge of intoxicating chemicals may switch on pro-stress and pro-inflammation responses that cause or contribute to your feelings of queasiness, headache and other “flu-like symptoms”. As you age, these responses may become more pronounced, Koob says.
Since alcohol has diuretic properties, it means that it removes fluids from the body which can lead to dehydration after consuming certain amounts. Dehydration is the preliminary cause of the most common symptoms of a hangover, including nausea and headache.
How much do you need to drink to get a hangover?
For a light to moderate drinker, it would take five to seven cocktails over the course of four to six hours to cause a hangover. In comparison, it may take more alcohol for a heavier drinker because of a higher tolerance.
Based on studies, consuming approximately 250 millilitres of an alcoholic drink triggers the body to release 800 to 1,000 millilitres of water; that’s four times as much liquid lost as gained. This diuretic effect reduces as the alcohol in the bloodstream falls, but the results help creates a hangover.
Different drinks contain different amounts of alcohol. When you buy a bottle of beer or wine, check the label, and look for “ABV” (alcohol by volume). This tells you how many millimetres of pure alcohol is present per 100ml of liquid by percent. If you’re in a pub, and buy a pint of draft beer, or a cocktail, ask your bartender “What percent is this?” They should know, if not they can check the barrel in the keg store, where the ABV will be displayed on the label of the keg.
Besides the amount of drinks that are being consumed by an individual, hangovers can be made worse by:
- Lack of sleep
- Drinking on an empty stomach
- Poor health
- Dehydration before drinking
- Increased physical activity while drinking (for instance, dancing)
The morning after
What usually happens in the morning after consuming a considerable amount of alcohol, is that your body is in need of a refill of its water supply, mostly indicated by having a very dry mouth. As mentioned, headaches are one of the symptoms after drinking heavily and the reason for that is because of dehydration. The human body organs are attempting to compensate for their own water loss by abstracting water from the brain, which on the other hand results in the brain to shrink in size and draw away the layers that links the brain to the skull, which therefore is the outcome of experiencing pain.
Due to the regular urination, your body also dismisses salts and potassium that are essential for a healthy nerve and muscle function. Moreover, when the level of your sodium and are too low, symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as stated, can be the reason for it. In addition, alcohol compresses the body’s accumulation of glycogen in the liver, which therefore causes the chemicals to turn into glucose and transfer it out of the body in the urine. This consequently justifies partly the reason for feeling, fatigue and the need of a stable coordination the following morning. Also, the diuretic effect discharge fundamental electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, which are crucial for an appropriate cell function.
There is not a thing as curing a hangover. Most of the tips that are known are either to prevent one from happening or ease the symptoms. The most well-known can be seen below:
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach (Eat fatty or fried food)
- Eggs and Fruits
- Drinking water or fruit juice.
- OTC Painkillers
- Electrolyte drinks
Don’t drink on an empty stomach – Eat fatty or fried food
Before you consume alcohol the wisest thing that you can do is eat something that contains carbohydrates or fats. Eating fatty or fried food before starting to consume alcohol can in reality prevent hangovers the next morning; this is because this type of food allows the body to slow down the absorption of alcohol. Alternatively, having fatty or fried food the morning after drinking would most likely only exasperate your stomach more.
Fried or fatty foods are not necessarily the only substances that can help avoid a hangover, nonetheless they are in particular advantageous, because they remain in your stomach lining longer, and would thus reduce the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Although this would result in feeling the effect of alcohol in your body longer, it would also give your body extra time to process the by-products and would produce the possibility of feeling decent the next morning.
Furthermore, consuming lighter food, like a fruit smoothie would give energy and lessen some symptoms by refilling the electrolytes the body is missing from dehydration.
Eggs and Fruits
Having eggs after a night out supplies the body with important lost energy, yet is also hold a great sums of cysteine, the substance that breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde in the liver’s easily depleted glutathione. For that reason, eggs can potentially help dispose of the left-over toxins.
Also, bananas, kiwi fruit, sport drinks and hydration tablets can contribute in restoring lost electrolytes like any food would, it especially reloads the lost potassium.
Hydrating with both fizzy and non-fizzy drinks can reduce the likelihood of having a hangover. Water will keep the body hydrated, whereas consuming non-fizzy drinks will reduce the absorption of alcohol in the system, since fizzy drinks are known for increasing it. Ideally you want to keep your body hydrated during the night and before you go to sleep, which is the best
time to rehydrate your body.
For the day after, the most common hangover remedy is drinking water after a night of heavy drinking because it helps weaken the remaining by-products in the stomach. Additionally, adding sugar and salt to the water would assist in replacing the glycogen and sodium which vanished the previous night.
With regards to prevent hangover, drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drinks lowers drinking, therefore giving more time for the body to comprehend with the alcohol. It’s also advisable to drink two or three glasses of water before going to bed to fight dehydration.
Drinking fruit juice has been proven in previous studies to increase the pace at which the body clears any remaining toxins from alcohol metabolism. Drinking it in the morning is also highly recommended since its high nutrients and vitamins that were lowered the night before.
Over the Counter painkillers
Over the counter painkillers that are paracetamol-based will ease symptoms such as headaches and muscle cramps.
Aspirin can also be used but is not ideal as it can irritate the stomach even further and increase related symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
Electrolyte drinks are a quick and effective way to replace lost fluids and minerals. Keeping electrolytes in balance will allow it to effectively regulate hydration. Thus, electrolytes are effective in replacing salt, glucose and potassium that have been lost from alcohol, causing dehydration which leads to side effects such as headaches and dizziness.
Naturally, time is the only complete cure for a hangover. Despite all the preventions and remedies, at the end of the day, the human body has to remove all the toxic by-products which is reaming from the previous night, however the remedies that have been mentioned above can help increase the process.
There hasn’t been a full explanation regarding the cause of certain symptoms, however research has guided scientists to have a much better understanding of the initial causes of a hangover. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO EXPAND).