By J. D. Heyes, contributing writer to Natural News
No matter how many times we say, “I’ll never do that again!” when we imbibe in alcohol a little too much, for many there is, sadly, a next time. And a next.
And each time, people seem to want to try new and better ways to ease the pain of the inevitable hangover — techniques that are rooted in legend, old wives’ tales and the words of the barroom physician. By the way, the peak of so-called morning after pain occurs at 29 years old, says a recent study from Denmark.
Well, to date, there is no “cure” for the common hangover, though there are some “treatments,” so to speak. Among them, according to About.com:
— Liquids (because you’re dehydrated) like vegetable and fruit drinks coupled with water
— Vitamin C (try some organic orange juice)
— Eat, even if you don’t feel like it; mineral- and protein-rich foods are best
Now, on to those “cures” that don’t work, as compiled by Men’s Health magazine:
‘Hair of the dog that bit you’: A morning-after shot of whiskey or Bloody Mary? Well, that may numb your pain, but it’s temporary, according to Gary Murray, acting director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) Division of Metabolism and Health Effects. Taking another drink (or a few more drinks) will only delay the wearing-off effect of your bender. Rehydrating is crucial; alcohol will further dehydrate.
Have a greasy breakfast: Think loading up on sausage, eggs and hash browns will help absorb whatever alcohol is left?
Nope, because there is no alcohol left by the time you wake up. And in truth, greasy, non-organic, processed food — besides being incredibly bad for your body — is likely to accomplish only one thing: giving you heartburn. But again, as stated above, certain foods are better than others.
The old standby, coffee: “There is a cognitive impairment that results from a hangover–a brain fog, which impairs your ability to perform,” Murray says. And while a tad bit of coffee might make you a bit more alert because of the caffeine, coffee is also a major diuretic and, again, you’re already badly dehydrated from too much alcohol consumption. Water is better.
Have a late-night meal before turning in (wasted): The theory here is, again, a late-night meal will help absorb the alcohol in your system and therefore ease the pain of getting up in the morning.
But in truth, says Murray, “Eating after you’ve already been drinking isn’t going to help absorb or metabolize the alcohol.” Actually, the trick is to eat a solid meal before you’re too many drinks into your evening, because food helps slow the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol, thereby releasing it into your bloodstream at a slower, and far better, rate.
Just lie around in bed all day: That isn’t effective. Murray told Men’s Health, “studies have shown that the intoxicated go to bed roughly 2 hours later than sober people on the same night.” So, “fatigue, headache, irritability–these are all symptoms of a hangover, but also of sleep deprivation.” The better option is to grab a couple of more hours of sleep and experience another REM cycle that you likely missed the night before. After that, get up, get around and about and wake yourself up, and Murray says you’ll feel much better.
Just sweat it out with exercise: Um, you can’t really “sweat it out,” because the culprit — alcohol — has already left your system. Still, increasing your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, which is what naturally happens when you exercise, can maybe increase your changes of getting rid of the toxic byproducts.
Just pop a couple of painkillers before bed: Not effective.
Not only are compounds like aspirin and over-the-counter pain killers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) hazardous in and of themselves and mixed with alcohol, but they can be dangerous even after your body has metabolized the alcohol (which takes about an hour).
“Alcohol turns on specific enzymes in your body that stay present long after you’re no longer impaired, even into the next day,” Murray explains. These enzymes can interact dangerously with acetaminophens.