How to Get Over a Hangover
Part of my job as a writer covering the world of food and drinking is… to drink. (Well… not to much as I will get that Asian glow) Sometimes called the Asian flush or Asian glow because it is very common in people from East Asia (such as China, Japan, and Korea), this reaction occurs when a person has trouble metabolizing alcohol because of a genetic variant that impairs production of an enzyme that helps metabolize alcohol in the liver. As a result, acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol, isn’t broken down to harmless acetic acid, but instead builds up in the blood and liver. This dilates blood vessels, leading to flushing (redness and heat) in the face, neck, and sometimes shoulders and entire body. Anyhow I know what it feels like to force my eyes open in the morning, nurse a pounding headache and wonder, “Why, why, why did I say yes to that last glass?” So, I wanted to figure out if there are any real cures for hangovers…
Do any of the common remedies that go beyond the basic prescription of “drink lots of water and sit tight ’til it passes” actually work? Here are a few do’s and don’t for hangovers.
H2O is a must. Before you go to sleep, the advice goes, drink lots of water, take a couple of Advil, Tylenol or aspirin, and hope for the best in the morning. Experts say: It might help dull your headache, but medicine mixed with alcohol, depending on how much you drank, can be even worse for your liver. Just stick with water!
Lots of people—hungover or not—use a cup of joe to wake up and feel alert at work. But a trip to Starbucks won’t give you lasting benefits, and caffeine can both treat and cause headaches and migraines, so this one is a personal preference. If you do down a cup, be sure to drink water, too, since studies suggest caffeine causes dehydration.
3. More Alcohol
Bad idea! It will provide a numbing effect, but all you’re doing is prolonging the inevitable, and it will likely make your headache worse. Another reason to avoid cracking open a cold one: Experts agree that if you use this “cure,” the risk of abuse increases and could lead to alcohol dependency.
4. Greasy Food
What you eat after drinking doesn’t matter, it’s what you eat before all those tequila shots that can help lessen the pain the next day. Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol, and the longer it takes the alcohol to reach your blood stream, the longer it is until you become intoxicated.
If you normally take a multi, go ahead, but no studies have found that any particular vitamins do anything for a hangover. And one night of intoxication isn’t enough to throw off the levels of nutrients in your body to the point where you need to worry.
The whole “sweat it out” theory is myth. At the same time, the endorphin release could boost your mood. Burning off a few calories may ease your guilt about how much you drank. Since exercise boosts endorphins, a good workout can make your mood a little better. Unfortunately, you can’t actually sweat alcohol out, so all your symptoms won’t be gone when SoulCycle ends.
“There is no research that shows that sex will make a hangover go away, but maybe it will make the time go faster,” says Joris C. Verster, Ph.D., assistant professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “If it makes you happy, go for it.”
All in all one thing all doctors and wise people everywhere recommend is just not to drink. But, sometimes that’s not much fun. What is your go-to hangover remedy? We’d love to know.