We are at that time of the year most people look forward to: the festivities. With the year coming to a close and Christmas around the corner, this is usually the period for parties, dinners and company galas and of course, a time when it is so easy to go the extra mile on food, confectionery and, of course, drinks.
While it may seem very jolly to frolic with family, friends and colleagues over some alcoholic beverage, the aftermath of a hangover the following morning is not something to look forward to. With fatigue, headache, nausea, dehydration, low blood sugar and in some cases, diarrhoea and light or sound sensitivity as accompaniment to a hangover, it is important to note some steps to take to prevent this dread. The Harvard Health Publications, from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, United States of America, shares the following tips to combating a hangover.
Alcohol promotes urination because it inhibits the release of vasopressin, a hormone that decreases the volume of urine made by the kidneys. If your hangover includes diarrhoea, sweating, or vomiting, you may be even more dehydrated. Although nausea can make it difficult to get anything down, even just a few sips of water might help your hangover.
Get some carbohydrates into your system. Drinking may lower blood sugar levels, so theoretically, some of the fatigue and headaches of a hangover may be from a brain working without enough of its main fuel. Moreover, many people forget to eat when they drink, further lowering their blood sugar. Toast and juice is a way to gently nudge levels back to normal.
Avoid darker-coloured alcoholic beverages.
Experiments have shown that clear liqueurs, such as vodka and gin, tend to cause hangovers less frequently than dark ones, such as whiskey, red wine, and tequila. The main form of alcohol in alcoholic beverages is ethanol, but the darker liqueurs contain chemically related compounds (congeners), including methanol.
The same enzymes process ethanol and methanol, but methanol metabolites are especially toxic, so they may cause a worse hangover.
Take a pain reliever
Aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help with the headache and the overall achy feelings. NSAIDs, though, may irritate a stomach already irritated by alcohol. If alcohol is lingering in your system, it may accentuate acetaminophen’s toxic effects on the liver.
Drink coffee or tea.
Caffeine may not have any special anti-hangover powers, but as a stimulant, it could help with the grogginess. Coffee is a diuretic, though, so it may exacerbate dehydration.
A study published some years ago found that people had fewer hangover symptoms if they took a total of 1,200 milligrammes of vitamin B6 before, during, and just after drinking to get drunk. But it was a small study and doesn’t seem to have been replicated.