Hangovers - The Cause, Prevention and Cure
By Kevin Broughton BCMH, HHP, NT
(Holistic Health Practioner, Master Herbalist, Nutritonal Therapist)
The Cause - Why do we get hangovers?
Lets start with an obvious one, Hangovers are caused by excess alcohol consumption. But then why do we get them after some nights out but not others? To answer that we need to go into more detail about how exactly, our body deals with alcohol.
After each pint of beer, glass of wine or shot of spirit, our Liver recognizes this as a toxin, and gets to work straight away, If you have a fully functioning liver, these couple of units of alcohol would usually be processed in around 60-90 minutes, with very little sign of a hangover, that is unless of course you carry on drinking after the first pint! If you carry on drinking, your liver will still be working, trying to remove the toxins, but dependent on your drinking speed, it is unlikely your liver will have caught up before you have finished your next one.
Problem 1 Vitamin B- Once your liver can no longer keep up with your alcohol consumption, the alcohol you are drinking is flushing Vitamin B from your system, these are vitality important for energy, brain and nervous system function, and the creation of red blood cells. Vitamin B deficiency alone is responsible for a bad hangover. Without taking any other factors into it. A Vitamin B deficiency hangover is responsible for your "Low Energy, Gastrointestinal Issues (Ropey Stomach), and Low Mood (Depression/Anxiety)
Problem 2 Dehydration - Alcohol in all forms is a diuretic, meaning it causes you to urinate more often, even though when you're thirsty on a hot summer day, the first pint of beer you have can seem refreshing and feel like you are being hydrated, nothing could be further from the truth. The longer your body goes drinking alcohol instead of water, the more dehydrated you become. A Dehydration caused hangover is responsible for your "headache, feeling dizzy, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, lack of energy, confusion"
Problem 4 Liver Damage - As stated above, each drink you have, your liver will try and remove it, your liver is the most resilient organ in your body, constantly repairing itself, but if you push it too far, you will get a Liver damaged hangover, these types of hangovers can be the worst there is, think of the last time you could not get out of bed because you felt that bad after a night out.
All the above contribute towards a hangover, and an important note to mention before we get into prevention and cures, is your blood sugar will be affected by a heavy drinking session, beer/sweet wine will temporarily raise your blood sugar, followed by serious decline a few hours later, sometimes into dangerous levels, especially for people with type 1 diabetes.
No, I do not endorse drinking alcohol in any quantity, it is bad for your health so once again let's start with an obvious one - Don't drink Alcohol!
Now, say you are not going to listen to the above advise, its Christmas and your family are coming around and you want a few festive drinks, or your planning a night out with a friend, knowing how to limit and even stop a hangover before it happens could be vital for you.
To stop a hangover before it arrives, can be quite simple and easy to do, if you do it correctly and use it wisely.
BEFORE YOU GO OUT
1. .Drink a minimum of 2lr water throughout the day before your first drink. Ideally loaded with electrolytes to ensure maximum hydration before you go out
2. Take a high potency Vitamin B Supplement, the higher the better of these nutrients, as you will lose many of them when you start drinking
3. Take a high-quality Liver Supplement before your first drink, preferable with Milk Thistle, to ensure your liver is correctly prepared for the alcohol consumption.
4. Eat Food - Never go out drinking with an empty stomach, you will get drunk much faster, the damage to your body and the resulting hangover will be greatly increased.
WHEN YOU COME HOME
This is the most important aspect, do it right and you should wake up feeling fine, regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed.
1. Drink 2 Pints of water before bed (Better with Electrolytes) This may seem like a lot but its vitally important to re-hydrate you after a night drinking alcohol
2. Take another high potency Vitamin B Supplement
3. Take another Liver Supplement Dose
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Explained: As discussed above, the main causes of a hangover are, Vitamin B deficiency, dehydration and liver damage, all 3 can be avoided if the above steps are taken and done correctly.
So you have only just found this page, or not follow the preventative steps and are looking for ways to resolve your hangover?
This is more about symptom management rather than full cure, but once again if done correctly, you should be able to go about your normal day and forget about the hangover you once had.
1. Re-hydration - If you have woken up with a headache that just won't go away, regardless of the painkillers you just took, that is dehydration your feeling, you should drink a minimum of 2lrs of water, your Electrolytes will be out of balance, so its important you get a good source of Glucose, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium
2. Vitamin B Deficiency, as stated this is a major factor in hangovers, you should take a very high potency dose to replace the nutrients lost.
3. Liver Supplement - Your liver will need a hand to flush/detox your liver of the toxins.
4. Gaba Supplement - Gaba (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter in your brain, each unit of alcohol you drink, raises your gaba level, and its this process which makes you feel "drunk" the more you drink, the higher your gaba levels get to, at low doses Gaba will make you more social-able, and relaxed, at high doses it is a sedative.
If you are experiencing a hangover with mood-related symptoms (Anxiety/Depression) There is a good chance your gaba levels have plummeted after the drinking session.
Gaba can be increased with several herbs, including but not limited to Skullcap, Ashwagandha, Lemon Balm
VIEW OUR GABA BOOSTING BRAIN NUTRIENT RANGE
If you have got any questions about anything in this article, feel free to leave me a message, and I will get back to you, as soon as I can.