What is a hangover? A throbbing headache? An exhausted mind. Nausea. Anxiety. Flatulence. Unquenchable thirst.
Mainly: YOU ARE DEHYDRATED!
I know. Its a funny thing. Drinking liquid causing dehydration?
Booze suppresses the release of the hormone vasopressin, which normally re-purposes water released by the kidneys back into the body. Without vasopressin, that water is sent to the bladder, then urinated out. When alcohol enters your bloodstream, it tells your pituitary gland not to produce vasopressin. When you’re drinking, you lose about 400% more liquids than you gain, resulting in your organs being desperate for water. So deficient that they seek to steal water from your brain! Causing shrinkage of another kind, dummy! A shrunken brain pulls on the membranes that connect the brain to the skull, and that, naturally, hurts like a mother.
Some try to life-hack there hangover by setting alarms:
But come on, does this actually work?
NO WAY! Symptoms persist, causing inflammation of your stomach lining, which leads to diarrhea — which also happens to dehydrate.
That headache is due to your body stealing water from your brain, causing tissue shrinkage! Of your brain! YOUR BRAIN ACTUALLY SHRINKS!
So! Now that we know the cause, what’s the cure?
The most legitimate cure for a hangover is simply, water. You probably don’t need to add a lot beyond water. Despite claims, Alka-Seltzer won’t do the trick.
The BEST way to prevent a hangover is to not drink in the first place — and to drink moderately if you choose to.
Everyone has a different tolerance, but anyone who drinks enough is sure to experience a cornucopia of symptoms and a general sense of misery. You feel weak and generally depleted because all that peeing rids your body of salt, potassium, and magnesium which are important for normal nerve, muscle, and cell function. Alcohol also breaks down and makes you pee out glycogen, which in a non-drunk is a natural source of energy in your liver.
When you metabolize alcohol, your liver makes a toxic substance called ‘acetaldehyde’. BUT! NATURALLY! We have enzymes that break down ‘acetaldehyde’. They’re called ‘acetaldehyde dehydrogenase’ and ‘glutathione’. However, when we drink too much, our enzymes can’t keep up. So the toxic toxin builds up instead, increasing your hangover symptoms.
Here’s how toxic ‘acetaldehyde’ is: ‘Antabuse,’ a drug used in severe cases of alcoholism, completely blocks the acetaldehyde-eating enzymes. Resulting in a single ounce of alcohol causing flushed face, headache, nausea, vomit, chest pain, muscle aches, blurred vision, mental stupidness & retardation, sweating, difficulty in breathing, and general horror and anxiety.
Meanwhile, Glutamine is suppressed during drunkenness. Glutamine is our natural stimulant, so when we stop drinking, our body gets busy trying to replenish Glutamine levels. This is why we sleep restlessly following a boozer. It’s called a ‘Glutamine Rebound’, and in severe cases it causes a special hangover featuring tremors, panic, and high blood pressure.
And science can be scary stuff!