Does Alcohol Cure Hangover?

Does Alcohol Cure Hangover
Common Myths About Hangovers – Myth: Certain actions, such as drinking coffee or taking a shower, can prevent or cure a hangover. Fact: The only way to completely avoid a hangover is to not drink alcohol at all or to keep alcohol intake to a minimum. There is no cure for a hangover other than time.

Myth: The order of drinks will affect a hangover—as captured in the expression, “beer before liquor, never sicker.” Fact: In general, the more alcohol a person drinks, the worse the hangover will be. This is true regardless of whether a person drinks beer, wine, distilled spirits, or a combination of these.

Myth: Having an alcoholic drink in the morning after a night of drinking will help avoid a hangover—a practice known colloquially as “a hair of the dog that bit you.” Fact: While this might temporarily minimize some symptoms, it could contribute to and prolong the malaise and other symptoms of the hangover.

Which alcohol is best for hangover?

The darker the alcohol, the worse the hangover. – “As a rule of the thumb, the darker the alcohol the more severe the hangover will be,” says Sloane Davis, a certified nutritionist and personal trainer. “Vodka is known to be the best alcoholic beverage for the most minimal hangover.

  • Gin, light rum and white wine are runner-ups—with brandy and whiskey being at the bottom of the list.
  • There have been studies that show that certain congeners (small amounts of different chemicals in alcohol) contribute to the severity of a hangover.” Ultimately, avoiding a hangover means avoiding booze, but certain spirits can be less severe.

“A light beer will always be a better choice than dark, and white wine will triumph a glass of red to curb the dreaded hangover,” Davis says. “The sugar and sulfates in wine tends to keep people up at night.” She recommends trying sulfate-free wines and steering clear from anything dark in color, including dark rum, red wine, whiskey, brandy and dark beer.

Can anything actually cure a hangover?

If you’ve ever had a few too many drinks on a night out, you know what the next morning can bring. The nausea, headache, parched mouth, and fatigue are telltale signs you’ve got a serious hangover, Each of these symptoms stems from a different cause.

Alcohol disrupts sleep and leaves you groggy in the morning. Drinking widens your blood vessels, which can trigger headaches. Alcohol also irritates the lining of your stomach, leading to nausea and sometimes diarrhea, For almost as long as humans have had hangovers, we’ve tried to cure them with remedies that run the gamut from vitamin B to pickle juice.

Some hangover treatments work better than others, but none is an actual cure. The only way to avoid a hangover is to limit how much you drink or avoid alcohol entirely. And if you find that hangovers are affecting your work or relationships, talk to your doctor about your drinking.

  • That said, a few hangover remedies can bring you relief from at least some of your symptoms.
  • Here are a few tips to try.
  • A big glass of water might be the easiest hangover solution.
  • Alcohol dehydrates you by increasing the amount of urine your kidneys make.
  • You also lose fluid when you sweat, vomit, or have diarrhea after a night of bingeing.

Dehydration causes symptoms like a dry mouth and headache. If you drink alcohol, drink water before you go to bed. It will curb the effects of the booze in the morning. Another drink of water when you wake up will help keep you hydrated. Have a sports drink to replace the sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes you’ve lost from vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Some people say that getting fluids through an IV can help ease hangover symptoms.
  • This method has the informal name of “drip bar.” It can be pricey, and health insurance doesn’t cover the bill.
  • But there’s no need to pay for IV fluids when you can drink a glass of water for free.
  • IVs also carry risks like infection.

Korean pear (Asian pear) juice is an old-school hangover remedy. Research shows that drinking about 7 1/2 ounces helps lower blood alcohol levels and makes hangovers less intense. The catch is, you need to drink it before you have alcohol. Drinking it afterward won’t work.

Researchers say Korean pears might work with your body’s chemistry to break down alcohol faster. Only a couple of studies have been done, which is far from proof that this hangover remedy works. But if you can find Korean pear juice at your local supermarket, it doesn’t hurt to try a glass before you go out drinking.

This root has been a feature of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Herbalists use it to treat ailments ranging from stress to asthma, In one small study, a drink made from red ginseng cut down hangover symptoms. An unrelated herb that goes by a similar name, Siberian ginseng extract, also improved hangover symptoms like headache, dizziness, and stomachache.

  • But the Siberian type isn’t the ginseng used in Chinese medicine.
  • Ginseng is safe for most people.
  • Check with your doctor before using it if you have diabetes or high blood pressure,
  • Some evidence suggests it might affect blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
  • This medicinal herb grows along tropical coasts.

It treats liver, kidney, and stomach ailments. In one small study, taking Phyllanthus amarus extract twice a day for 10 days helped lower blood alcohol levels, ease hangover symptoms, and improve mood in regular drinkers. You can find extracts made from this herb online and in health food stores.

Some of these products go by the name “stone breaker” herb. That’s because it may help reduce risk for kidney stones, Alcohol lowers your blood sugar. That may explain the dizziness and shaking some people get with a hangover. Your brain needs carbs for fuel. Have a couple of slices of wheat toast or a few whole-grain crackers to bring those blood sugar levels back up to normal.

You’ll give yourself an energy boost, too. An over-the-counter pain reliever will calm a pounding headache. Just be careful how much you take. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin irritate the stomach, which could make nausea worse. Avoid acetaminophen when you have a hangover.

It can worsen the bad effects of alcohol on your liver. The idea behind this popular hangover remedy is that taking another drink will relieve the effects of the last few you had. The name comes from an old folk tale that says the way to treat a dog bite is to cover the wound with hair taken from the dog that bit you.

But the truth is drinking again will just throw your body back into the same destructive cycle without giving it time to heal. Experts don’t recommend trying this method. When it comes to getting over a hangover, time and rest may be the best medicine.

What drinks help cure a hangover?

Guzzle Sports Drinks to Hasten Rehydration – Want to gain an edge over plain old water to treat your hangover? Consider reaching for Gatorade, Pedialyte, Powerade, or a similar nonfizzy sports drink. This recommendation comes courtesy of Kelly Kennedy, RDN, the staff nutritionist at Everyday Health.

These sports drinks contain minerals called electrolytes — such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium — and are designed to help you replenish lost nutrients and quickly rehydrate, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Sports drinks will elevate blood glucose and can elevate sodium levels, which help muscle cells uptake and use water, leading to quicker rehydration,” explains McCall.

Some research backs this up, showing that drinking electrolytes after long periods of dehydration can significantly restore important minerals, like sodium, potassium, and calcium. No sports drink in sight? Fall back on plain water and foods that are naturally packed with electrolytes, such as pretzels, which have 488 milligrams (mg) of sodium per oz, or a medium banana ( 422 mg of potassium ), cooked spinach ( 157 mg of magnesium per cup ), and almonds ( 385 mg of calcium per cup ), according to the U.S.

Why does more alcohol help a hangover?

Boosts Endorphins – It has been claimed that drinking alcohol boosts endorphins, which can help mask uncomfortable hangover symptoms. Research shows that alcohol indeed temporarily raises endorphin levels, leading to pleasurable feelings. However, during alcohol withdrawal, endorphin levels drop ( 5 ).

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What alcohol gives worse hangovers?

What to Know About Congeners in Alcohol Medically Reviewed by on November 09, 2021 The central portion of an alcoholic drink is ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. But there are other compounds in alcohol, too. These are called congeners, and experts suggest that they may be the reason behind,

  • Generally, dark alcohol or drinks darker in color have higher congener levels than alcoholic drinks that are lighter in color.
  • During the distillation or process in alcohol manufacturing, the manufacturers also produce congeners.
  • Yeast ferments sugars and converts them into alcohol.
  • It does so by converting the amino acids in sugars into ethanol.

Congeners are a by-product of this reaction. The amount of congeners in a drink depends on the carbohydrate used, the original sugar, and the yeast strain that ferments the sugar. Likewise, the amount of congeners in alcohol made using grapes or cereal grains also differs.

EstersAcidsAlcoholsAldehydes

These compounds are responsible for giving taste and aroma to the alcoholic drink. Thus, the congener amount in a drink gives it a particular taste profile. For example, acetaldehyde is an aldehyde that gives rums and bourbons a fruity smell. Meanwhile, isobutylene alcohol is an alcohol that has a sweet smell.

  • Clear alcoholic drinks, such as white wine, light rum, light beer, gin, and sake are low in congeners.
  • As a rule of thumb, the lighter the drink, the lower the congener level because the drink is not heavily distilled.
  • Tequila, cognac, and whiskey are drinks high in congeners.
  • Bourbon whiskey has a substantial amount of congeners, more than most other alcoholic drinks.

Drinking alcoholic drinks high in congeners can give you an intense, For example, methanol is a congener that breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde, worsening a hangover. Drinks high in congeners have a high amount of methanol. For instance, brandy has 4,766 milligrams of methanol per liter.

  • Rum has 3,633 milligrams per liter.
  • Vodka has 102 milligrams per liter.
  • In comparison, beer contains just 27 milligrams of methanol per liter.
  • Research shows that congeners may be responsible for causing a hangover, but they are not the only cause.
  • The common belief is that hangovers are caused due to dehydration.

However, congeners also impact the severity of the hangover. In reality, though, people may drink a variety of alcoholic beverages with congeners of varying amounts. The hangover is the collective effect of these drinks. Although there is not enough research in this area, there is evidence that drinks with congeners in high concentration result in more severe hangovers.

You need fewer drinks that are high in congeners to get a hangover. The body has to break down all components of the alcoholic drink to recover from a hangover. A congeners hangover could occur if you drank a couple of high-congener drinks the night before. Since the body also needs to break down the congeners and ethanol, the hangover symptoms last longer.

In a 2010 study, the researchers asked the study subjects to consume placebo, vodka, and bourbon. They were then asked about their hangovers. The participants who consumed bourbon had more severe hangovers as compared to the group that drank vodka. Thus, they concluded that high-congener drinks cause severe hangovers even when consumed in the same quantity as low-congener drinks.

Limit your consumption of dark alcohol. Darker drinks have more congeners in them, causing a stronger and longer-lasting hangover. Instead of making your drinks at home, such as home-brewed beer, buy from the store. When you make beer at home, you do not have the same fermentation control as the manufacturer. So, homemade drinks tend to have high congener levels. Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach, especially if it is high in congeners. A full stomach slows down alcohol absorption, giving the body more time to break down both congeners and ethanol. Drink water to hydrate yourself, alternating alcohol with water to prevent dehydration. The more dehydrated you are, the worse you will feel the following day.

If possible, try to get adequate sleep after drinking a lot. It will help your body break down the compounds and make you feel much better. © 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. : What to Know About Congeners in Alcohol

How long will a hangover last?

If you’re in the throes of a monster hangover, relief can’t come soon enough. Fortunately, hangovers typically go away within 24 hours. There are some reports online of them lasting for up to 3 days, but we can’t find much evidence to back this up. Still, 24 hours can feel like an eternity when you’re dealing with a mishmash of physical and mental symptoms.

a pounding headachedry mouthfeeling tired and “out of it”upset stomachirritabilitysensitivity to light and soundtrouble sleepingdizziness or feeling like the room is spinning

How long is the average hangover?

How is a hangover treated? – Many hangover remedies claim to treat a hangover. But they’re often not based in science, and some can be dangerous. For example, drinking more alcohol (“hair of the dog”) will not cure a hangover. More alcohol just increases the toxicity of the alcohol already in your body. Steps you can take to improve hangover symptoms include:

Eating bland foods with complex carbohydrates, such as toast or crackers. You’ll boost low blood sugar levels and reduce nausea. Drinking water, juice, broth and other non-alcohol beverages to reduce dehydration. Getting sleep to counteract fatigue. Taking antacids to help settle your stomach. Trying aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs ), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to help your headache or muscle ache. However, use them sparingly since they can upset your digestive system. Do not take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) — it can be toxic to your liver when combined with alcohol. Being patient. Hangover symptoms tend to ease up over eight to 24 hours. Your body has to clear the toxic byproducts of alcohol, rehydrate, heal tissue and restore functions and activity to normal.

When does a hangover peak?

Why does alcohol cause a hangover? – The symptoms of a hangover will peak when your BAC goes back to zero, around 12 hours after your drink. Despite the fact that hangovers are an incredibly common condition, affecting millions of people and responsible for billions of dollars in lost productivity and absenteeism each year, there is a notable lack of studies into their cause and treatment.

So the truth is, we’re not quite sure what causes a hangover. But there are a few theories, In the liver, alcohol is broken down into toxic acetaldehyde. An enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, further metabolizes it into harmless acetic acid. If the amount of alcohol you drink outpaces the ability of your enzymes to process it, acetaldehyde builds up in your body, leading to headaches and nausea.

A reduced ability to break down acetaldehyde is partially responsible for the ” Asian glow “—when some become flushed after drinking. Another popular theory is cogeners, These compounds, produced during fermentation, exist to varying degrees in different types of alcohol.

Dark alcohols high in cogeners (red wine, whiskey, tequila) are shown to increase the frequency and severity of hangovers, as compared to drinks with low cogener content (vodka, gin, rum). A relative newcomer to the debate is the role of the immune system. A 2003 study found that people with hangovers have elevated cytokines—chemicals secreted by our immune system that work in cell signaling and help to fight off infections.

High levels of cytokines have been associated with nausea, headaches, and fatigue and, in some studies, disrupted memory formation. While more studies are needed to pinpoint hangover causes, we do have biological explanations for some symptoms.

Does drinking faster make hangover worse?

Many people believe that mixing wine, beer and spirits causes nasty hangovers. Are they right? Claudia Hammond studies the evidence “Grape or grain, but never the twain.” So runs the old folk wisdom that advises against drinking wine or beer on the same night.

  • It is far from uncommon to hear people who have woken up feeling sick, dehydrated and with a splitting headache blaming their hangovers on having unwisely mixed their drinks.
  • Then there are the theories about the order in which to consume different tipples.
  • One version suggests: “Wine before beer and you’ll feel queer.
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Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine.” Or is it the other way round? After a couple of drinks it’s not always easy to remember. All of which begs the question of how reliable these sayings are. Is there any evidence beyond the anecdotal that drinking wine followed by beer or vice versa makes hangovers worse? A review of previous research published in 2000 confirms that the causes of the main symptoms of hangovers are dehydration, changes in the levels of hormones such as aldosterone and cortisol, and the toxic effects of alcohol itself.

  • In addition there’s evidence that the immune system is disrupted and that this could be the cause of the headache, the nausea and the fatigue.
  • The first of the two main ingredients of a drink that affect the severity of a hangover is obvious.
  • The higher the alcohol content, and the faster you drink it, the worse the hangover.

This is however just an average. The same quantity of alcohol does not always result in the same severity of hangover, Many report that they don’t get hangovers and no one quite knows why. In a study of young Danes on holiday, almost a third of those who consumed at least 12 units of alcohol (roughly equivalent to four pints of lager or four 250ml glasses of wine) avoided hangovers. Does Alcohol Cure Hangover Many drinkers report that they don’t get hangovers at all, but it’s unclear why (Thinkstock) Mixing drinks needn’t necessarily increase the overall amount of alcohol consumed, but it may do with cocktails. If combining three or four measures of spirits alongside other ingredients, a throbbing head and dry throat is probably just the result of consuming more alcohol in total.

  1. Beyond the ethanol that triggers intoxication, the other key ingredients that affect hangovers are what the beverage industry calls congeners.
  2. These are the other substances produced during fermentation, such as acetone, acetaldehyde, fusel oil and the best-known, tannins, which give darker drinks their colour and part of their flavour.

Bourbon whisky, for example, contains 37 times the quantity of congeners as vodka. To find out the effect of these substances on hangover severity, researchers in the US recruited university students who were regular drinkers, without alcohol problems.

On different nights they were given either bourbon and cola, vodka and cola or a placebo which consisted of cola mixed with tonic, with a few drops of either bourbon or vodka to make it taste similar to the real stuff. They drank anything between three and six drinks, however much was enough to give them a concentration of 0.11g of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

This would put them two to five times over the drink drive limit, depending which country they were in. They then spent the night in the clinic and were woken at 7am for breakfast before taking part in a battery of tests. For this they were paid a rather generous $450. Does Alcohol Cure Hangover Whisky contains high levels of ‘congeners’, which can make hangovers worse than paler drinks (Thinkstock) Clear drinks such as white rum, vodka and gin tend to cause fewer and less severe hangovers because they contain relatively low levels of congeners.

  1. Perhaps those who mix their drinks are more likely to choose a dark-coloured drink containing higher levels of these substances simply by virtue of their wider drinking range, but again it isn’t the mixing in itself that causes the problem.
  2. No scientist seems to have done the perfect counter-balanced study where people are randomly assigned to drink beer followed by wine or wine followed by beer.

But perhaps it’s not the grape or the grain that matters, but the effect that the strength of those drinks has on judgement. Beer is only between a third and half the strength of wine, so starting on it leads to less intoxication if followed by the stronger stuff.

But if a person starts on wine or spirits, then their judgement may be impaired enough to drink more heavily later. There’s certainly evidence that people are not good at judging their own drunkenness. At low levels people overestimate the amount of alcohol in our blood, but after a few drinks they start to underestimate it.

So, the existing evidence suggests that hangovers can’t be blamed on mixing drinks. It’s probably down to the high congener count of the booze, or over-drinking. As for hangover cures, scientists have looked into those too, and the British Medical Journal published a review of trials of everything from borage to artichoke and glucose to prickly pears in 2005.

Why doesn’t vodka give you a hangover?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A NO HANGOVER ALCOHOL? – In her article ” The 7 Worst Alcoholic Drinks that Will Give You the Worst Hangovers,” writer Carla Wolff Bustle advises sticking to lighter colored liquors. Sarah Elliott explains why darker liquors are likely to increase hangover symptoms.

Dark spirits contain congeners that give them their deep color. The congeners are a byproduct of certain types of fermentation. They may leave impurities or trace elements that stabilize the flavor. Studies have shown that congeners enter your system and heighten hangover symptoms. To avoid congeners and reduce hangover symptoms, Ms.

Elliott suggests you drink light-colored or “white” spirits like gin, light rum, vodka, or white wine. Vodka is one of the best drinks that don’t give hangovers. A study cited by Moya Crockett contends that vodka is less likely to produce hangover symptoms.

  1. Why is vodka the best drink for avoiding hangovers? Vodka is 40% alcohol mixed with water.
  2. A study by the British Medical Journal noted that vodka is the least likely spirit to result in a hangover because it is pure and contains no congeners.
  3. Now, obviously, whenever alcohol is consumed, you run the risk of having a hangover depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, the alcohol by volume (ABV), how much water you drank, as well as a few other factors.

However, Switch Vodka is considered a no hangover alcohol because of the way it’s distilled. While vodka is already considered “clean” alcohol that keeps hangovers to a minimum, Switch is distilled even cleaner than most other vodkas, it’s lower in alcohol content (30%), has no sugar, or other BS that can contribute to those awful mornings after. Does Alcohol Cure Hangover

Is vodka or beer worse for hangover?

– Some alcohol is worse than others. Brandy, red wine, rum, whisky, beer, white wine, gin and vodka are worst to least in descending order of likelihood to cause a hangover.

Is whiskey or vodka better for hangover?

Whiskey hangover worse than vodka, study says If you’ve ever had one too many drinks during a night out, you’re probably familiar with the dreaded aftermath: the hangover. Turns out, your liquor of choice could influence your morning headache. A new study finds that, compared with vodka, if you down too much bourbon, you’re likely to have a worse hangover.

But when it comes to your next-day activities, it doesn’t matter which of the two beverages you drink — your performance is likely to be the same. The study involved 95 participants ages 21 to 33 who were heavy drinkers, but had no history of alcohol abuse. Their arduous task: Get drunk. And they got paid — $450, to boot! The authors weren’t simply looking at the effects of alcohol, however.

They were specifically interested in the levels of toxic substances called congeners in the alcohol. These compounds are byproducts of alcohol fermentation, and they are partly responsible for the alcohol’s color. Darker liquors and wines have more congeners than lighter ones — for instance, the amount of congeners in bourbon is 37 times the amount in vodka, according to the study.

  • “While the alcohol alone is enough to make many people feel sick the next day, these toxic natural substances can add to the ill effects as our body reacts to them,” Damaris Rohsenow, a professor at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University, said in a statement.
  • Rohsenow and her colleagues wanted to investigate whether or not congener levels had any effect on hangover symptoms the following day, or the ability of people to perform certain tasks.
  • Participants consumed either vodka or bourbon mixed with caffeine-free cola on one night, until until they had drunk about the minimum amount required to induce a hangover, the researchers say.
  • On a separate night, the participants unknowingly drank a placebo, in this case, cola with tonic and a few drops of either bourbon or vodka in order to avoid serious suspicions that the beverage was in fact a placebo.
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Once the subjects’ breath alcohol levels had reached about zero, they were asked to fill out questionnaires regarding how they felt. They also performed tasks to measure their cognitive function, which tested the subjects’ ability to pay close attention to a task while also making rapid choices.

  1. Not surprisingly, alcoholic drinks made people feel more hungover than the placebo, but bourbon made people feel even worse than vodka, Rohsenow said.
  2. And while alcohol also impaired the subjects’ performance on the cognitive tasks, “they did no worse after bourbon than after vodka,” Rohsenow said.
  3. The study also looked at the effects of alcohol on sleep, and found that although alcohol did disrupt sleep, people who drank bourbon slept just as well as those who drank vodka.
  4. “This means that bourbon’s greater effects on hangover are not due to it having greater effects on sleep,” Rohsenow said.

The results will be published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Center for Research Resources, among others. : Whiskey hangover worse than vodka, study says

Is wine or beer better for hangover?

The big reveal: beer before wine or wine before beer? – By conventional wisdom, beer-before-wine drinkers should have been in better shape than wine-before-beer drinkers. But that’s not what this new research found. There was no correlation between hangover symptoms and whether subjects drank only wine, only beer, or switched between them in either order.

Does vodka not give me hangover?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A NO HANGOVER ALCOHOL? – In her article ” The 7 Worst Alcoholic Drinks that Will Give You the Worst Hangovers,” writer Carla Wolff Bustle advises sticking to lighter colored liquors. Sarah Elliott explains why darker liquors are likely to increase hangover symptoms.

  • Dark spirits contain congeners that give them their deep color.
  • The congeners are a byproduct of certain types of fermentation.
  • They may leave impurities or trace elements that stabilize the flavor.
  • Studies have shown that congeners enter your system and heighten hangover symptoms.
  • To avoid congeners and reduce hangover symptoms, Ms.

Elliott suggests you drink light-colored or “white” spirits like gin, light rum, vodka, or white wine. Vodka is one of the best drinks that don’t give hangovers. A study cited by Moya Crockett contends that vodka is less likely to produce hangover symptoms.

Why is vodka the best drink for avoiding hangovers? Vodka is 40% alcohol mixed with water. A study by the British Medical Journal noted that vodka is the least likely spirit to result in a hangover because it is pure and contains no congeners. Now, obviously, whenever alcohol is consumed, you run the risk of having a hangover depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, the alcohol by volume (ABV), how much water you drank, as well as a few other factors.

However, Switch Vodka is considered a no hangover alcohol because of the way it’s distilled. While vodka is already considered “clean” alcohol that keeps hangovers to a minimum, Switch is distilled even cleaner than most other vodkas, it’s lower in alcohol content (30%), has no sugar, or other BS that can contribute to those awful mornings after. Does Alcohol Cure Hangover

What alcohol doesn’t cause headaches?

Alcohol, Headaches and Hangovers Dec.26, 2006 — – The spirits in a bottle can quickly ruin the spirit of a holiday. Some people just drink too much, and some people drink only a bit but pay a heavy price. For 35 years, I have encountered people with big headaches and little headaches, simple headaches and serious headaches, once-a-year headaches and daily headaches.

I have met people whose headaches result from just the smell of a beer and others whose headaches occur only after drinking a case of beer. Here is some new information and some tips to help you take the spirits out of the bottle without taking the spirit out of the holidays. There are two major kinds of headaches that might appear after a night – or afternoon – of drinking.

The first I call the soon-after headache, which occurs within one to four hours of drinking some but not all alcoholic beverages. The other type of headache is the morning-after headache that occurs several hours after drinking has ceased and is usually part of the hangover.

Most people who experience the soon-after headache have had headaches in the past, usually migraine or related headaches. These headaches are actually genetic – the brain biology changes so that it overreacts to both internal (hormonal, for example) or external changes, such as a swig from the bottle.

Ironically, even though alcohol is the intoxicating substance in these beverages, it is not usually the source of the headache. Certain nonalcoholic ingredients are more likely to induce the headache attack than alcohol itself. Since brands vary in the amounts and types of these ingredients, some drinks are more likely than others to produce the headache.

Curiously, I have treated several individuals who can drink one brand of beer without developing a headache but can’t stand even a sip of any other brand. Many people can drink white wine without developing a headache but will invariably experience a severe headache when they drink red wine. Surprisingly, – because hard liquor is more alcoholic than wine or beer, some people can drink vodka or gin (the crystal clear, light liquors) without developing a headache but cannot drink red wine, beer or the amber-colored hard liquors (rum, and the ever-gentle tequila).

As for beer, the ratio of hops, barley, malt and other ingredients distinguishes one beer brand from another. Red wine contains tyramine – which probably causes those red-wine headaches – but white wine contains little, if any. Hard liquor contains ingredients called cogeners – which also cause headaches.

  1. Darker, amber-colored liquors contain more congeners than light-colored liquors, such as vodka and gin.
  2. Recently, research has suggested that mixed drinks containing sugar substitutes, such as aspartame and saccharin, which may cause headaches in their own right, actually cause a more rapid rise in the level of alcohol in the blood after drinking.

Therefore, beware of alcoholic beverages containing diet colas or diet tonics. While the soon-after headache comes from nonalcoholic ingredients, the hangover comes directly from the effects of alcohol itself. The hangover occurs eight to 16 hours after drinking moderate to high amounts of alcohol, after all that alcohol is out of the bloodstream.

The key symptoms of a hangover include headache (usually a throbbing headache), nausea and diarrhea, extreme thirst and dehydration, and excessive fatigue. In a recent study of college students, participants on average experienced five of 13 symptoms, with headache, extreme thirst and dehydration, and fatigue being the most common.

A family history of alcohol abuse made the study participants more vulnerable to the most severe effects. Curiously, women generally had higher hangover scores than men did.

Best advice – don’t drink.Second best advice – do the following:If soon-after or hangover headaches do occur, treat them with anti-inflammatory agents (you must wait several hours if you took such an agent in advance of drinking) or an anti-migraine agent if you have them available.

Rehydrate with water and sports drinks. You must avoid narcotic-containing painkillers or any ingredient containing acetaminophen, most commonly known as Tylenol. Alcohol can make those drugs deadly. Also, acetaminophen-containing products may cause serious liver damage when mixed with alcohol, reactions that are sometimes fatal.

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