Hangovers are the body’s way to warn us when we drink too much. We feel nauseous, sweat and can experience “cotton mouth.” When alcohol is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and causes the pituitary gland in the brain to block the creation of hormones. Without the chemical signal, the kidneys send water directly to the bladder instead of reabsorbing it into the body. In order to make up for the loss of water to all the tissues and organs of the body, water is re-distributed from the brain…this is one cause of that horrible headache in the morning. At the same time, the liver processes alcohol by breaking it down into sugars. But this effort takes glycogen, a key chemical vital for energy.
So what can you do to make up for the imbalance caused by drinking too much alcohol?
1. Water, water and more water. Avoid coffee, tea and sodas that will dehydrate you further.
2. Take an electrolyte supplement such as a potassium – magnesium tablet.
3. Drink an electrolyte sports drink to replenish the salt and sugar lost when your body processes alcohol.
4. Take a multivitamin and with special attention to increased doses of C and B complex vitamins.
5. Eat some eggs. They contain cysteine which breaks down the hangover-causing toxins.
6. Take N-acetyl-cysteine, an amino acid, for the same reason.
7. Take aspirin that is free of caffeine or acetaminophen.
8. Try plant extracts like prickly pear cactus supplements before drinking to prevent hangovers.
9. Allow time to help you recover. Your body needs to process alcohol intake as it was designed to. So, suck it up and wait.
10. Abstinence. Need we say more?
BONUS: Banana smoothie cure for a hangover
- 1 frozen banana
- 6 strawberries
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 can V-8 tomato juice
- 1-2 cups soy milk
- 2 spoons honey
- nutmeg or cinnamon to taste