I get asked a lot how to “cure” a hangover. Some folks are dead-set on believing that Hair of the Dog, or the practice of drinking alcohol while still hungover somehow cures it.
Nope. Not a thing.
Yeah, I know, it sucks, but science doesn’t actually support this theory. Instead, drinking more while hungover just continues to dehydrate you, and makes it harder for your already-in-overdrive liver to process the incoming booze.
I guess folks who believe this will help are really just using booze as a downer to make their brain foggier and their body more numb, making it harder to perceive they are not feeling great.
Personally, I can’t even look at booze if I drank too much the night before…
So, how does one “cure” a hangover?
The idea of curing a hangover is not accurate*, but there are ways to prevent hangovers and there are ways to ease you through the process.
It starts BEFORE you start drinking.
Yup, before starting a wild night out you should tuck in (to some food). In all of the peer-reviewed studies I've read, having a full stomach absolutely prevents one from getting drunk too quickly. This article is old, but the science is broken down in laymen's terms, which I think you'll find easier to consume than some of the white papers out there.
Also, duh, drink water (or BEFORE you booze…pear juice!)
I drink water before, during, and after, but definitely don’t wait until the next morning, as you’re likely well beyond dehydrated at that point! The best advice I can give is while you’re out challenge yourself to sink a whole glass of water for every beverage you drink. This will spread out the amount of booze you can consume in a period of time.
Not possible, you say?
When you head to the bar to get a round for everyone, ask if you can have a small glass of seltzer water (not club soda b/c it has sodium in it) with a lime/lemon/orange wedge while the barkeep makes your drinks. While you wait, drink the whole thing. Skip the ice, because the temperature of the liquid will be easier for you to get down quickly (sans brain freeze) and the cup will contain more liquid. The carbonation of the water is more interesting to your trigeminal nerve, and likely will feel more exciting to the palate than a plain ol’ glass of water!
“But won’t sparkling water dehydrate me?”
Nope. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition actually proved that sparkling drinks hydrate you just as much as still water!
FUN FACT: Vitamin C from the lemon/lime/orange will actually help to prevent capillary inflammation that is normally caused by drinking (due to their anti-inflammation properties), as well as helping to prevent your eyes from getting red!
AND I found some pretty interesting, though not detailed, information on Vitamin C actually helping to rid alcohol in the body (and I would LOVE to learn more on how!)
But, can I mix liquors?
As for drinking to prevent hangovers, moderation is the only thing that will really prevent a hangover. Also, there is no science supporting the idea that you can’t “mix” liquors, or start drinking whiskey and end up drinking vodka. It has everything to do with alcoholic volume and how much you drink.
That being said, there is specific science that talks about congeners (toxic chemicals) produced when ethanol goes through the fermentation process. These congeners are more prevalent in whiskeys, cognacs, and darker coloured spirits. Vodkas and clear liquors generally don’t have as much of these congeners (if any at all!). Congeners are tied to hangover symptoms, so if you’re trying to play it safe, drink clear!
The next day…
Pedialyte won’t hurt because the electrolytes help you to rehydrate, but it ain’t a cure.
*TIME is really the only way for a hangover to go away, as the majority of hangover symptoms ARE CAUSED because of how our liver (bless it!) metabolises booze.
Basically, your liver breaks down alcohol into “acetaldehyde, which is then broken down into acetate, a substance common in the body. But acetate in larger than normal quantities causes the pain associated with alcoholic hangovers,” according to Michael Oshinsky, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University.
Want to avoid hangovers altogether? Try avoiding booze! It is possible, and there are incredible drinks out there - check them out BY CLICKING HERE!
Also, if you want to know more why I love science so much, you should check out CB2’s IGTV series featuring…me! Here is the link to the first episode of their Holiday Grand series!
Have more tips? Myths? Questions? Are you hungover right now?! Drop me a line in the comments and I’ll see what I can answer!