Why am I getting hungover?

So, you’re still hungover…

You just can’t drink like you used to, right? Why are some drinks hitting you harder than others? There are many factors that determine the hangover and many of them are not clearly understood.
Firstly, it depends on how easily your body can metabolize the alcohol.

A few factors include:

When alcohol is metabolized by the liver, toxic by-products are created. These by-products are what cause the infamous hangover. In a perfect situation the liver would quickly remove these nasty by-products. However, our bodies sometimes cannot remove the by-products quickly enough (sometimes depending on the factors above) which in turn lets them travel to our brains, our gut which causes the all too familiar hangover symptoms that we could do without.

Let’s talk about the factors affecting your metabolization in more detail.

Sex

Age

Genetics

Body Composition

Timing

Given there are so many variables that determine the probability of hangover, it can be difficult to know what is the magic number of allowable drinks for any given person.

Our tips to avoid a hangover

  1. Eat before you drink. A full stomach (especially one filled with fatty foods) will delay absorption of alcohol.
  2. Pace yourself! If you drink a full glass of water between each drink, and only allow one alcoholic drink per hour, you will give your body enough time to metabolize the alcohol so that your system will not become overwhelmed.
  3. Stay hydrated. As mentioned above, higher water content in your body allows less alcohol to get to the bloodstream and may reduce your hangover symptoms.
  4. Different types of alcohol matter. For example, bourbon in excess will affect a person more than vodka in excess. This relates to different compounds, such as tannins, which become present in the alcohol during the fermenting and distilling process.
  5. Take your vitamins. There is some evidence that the use of Vitamins C and B6 will affect a person’s feeling of intoxication. Studies are conflicting, but there is no downside in taking these supplements.
Author
Dr. Adrienne Youdim

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