Hangover Cures Jen Janzen - AskMen.com go to original December 07, 2009
Heather Graham and Bradley Copper fight it out to see who can produce the ultimate hangover cure with very different results. (T4)
You’re thirsty and you’re irritable. Everything in the room is too bright and every sound is magnified to an uncomfortable intensity. Your muscles feel weak and wobbly, and you’ve been vomiting (or dry heaving) for most of the morning. You’re not sick - at least not in the traditional sense. You’re just in the depths of hangover misery and in need of some hangover cures.
Loosely defined, a hangover happens when you drink more alcohol than your body can comfortably break down. All that booze you slammed the night before does a number on your body: It causes your blood vessels to relax, giving you a headache; it irritates the stomach lining, causing nausea and diarrhea; and since alcohol is a diuretic, it makes you hella thirsty. Other symptoms can include body shakes, anxiety and overall weakness.
Luckily, hangovers aren’t forever and there are steps you can take to relieve some of your self-caused misery. Read on to discover what will put the spring back in your step and what could make you feel even worse with these hangover cures.
Eggs contain cysteine, an amino acid that steps up liver function and allows your body to break down remaining booze toxins faster.
Popular in Eastern medicine - where it’s used for a myriad of conditions including improving energy levels, boosting memory and helping the immune system - ginseng may relieve the lethargic feeling that accompanies many hangovers. Taken before the party, ginseng can help your body speed up the processing of alcohol. If you take it the next day, ginseng can ease that tired feeling by giving you more energy.
They’re used by athletes to rehydrate after a rigorous workout, so why not slurp a sports drink as a hangover cure? Although some particularly queasy bellies may be upset by the sugar content, sports drinks can go a long way in your body’s post-booze recuperation. They’re full of potassium, minerals and carbohydrates, which will help relieve dehydration as it gives your blood sugar level a boost.
Fruit juice contains vitamins and sugar, which you’ll need if you want to replenish your lost nutrients and give your body an energy boost. Just make sure you’re drinking juice made from real fruits (as opposed to artificial flavors).
Vitamin B will aid in metabolizing alcohol and will help your alcohol-constricted blood vessels dilate. Vitamin C nudges the liver into breaking down alcohol. Just make sure you don’t take too much vitamin C - an overdose can cause diarrhea. In both cases, the vitamins are most effective if taken before a drinking binge, but may also bring relief if you take them in the morning.
“Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” Popping a painkiller before bed is a remedy that some drinkers swear by, but you need to give pause before you proceed. Acetaminophen, found in Tylenol, can cause extreme liver damage when there’s already alcohol in your bloodstream, so never use it as a hangover cure. Aspirin and ibuprofen (the main ingredient in Advil) can be hard on the stomach and possibly make your hangover worse.
Since many hangover symptoms result from simple dehydration, water is perhaps one of the most effective hangover cures of all. It will not only work as a pre-drinking measure against a hangover, but it will also help you recover when you’re in full-blown hangover misery.
Even though dairy products contain B vitamins, which are helpful in reducing hangover symptoms, it’s probably not a good idea to be guzzling a glass of milk when your stomach is already feeling queasy. Stay away from the dairy until your insides feel more stable.
Stay away from that drive-through fast food window. The sticky quality that allows greasy food to line the stomach can help prevent hangovers, but when you’re already hung over, fatty foods can be a no-no. The greasiness can make your stomach feel even worse.
Caffeine may wake you up for a bit, but once the effect wears off, you’ll crash and end up more tired than you were before. Plus, don’t go for the water-sapping effect of caffeine if your body is already in need of hydration.
Bite the booze bullet
Though the most obvious remedy (not drinking at all) is 100% effective, it’s not the most popular one. If you must indulge in an excess of alcohol, make sure you at least eat beforehand, as drinking alcohol on an empty stomach will only magnify the effect of the booze and the following hangover. Try having a drink of water after every drink, and if you’re drinking hard liquor, drink it straight because the sugar in the mix you choose will likely intensify your hangover.
And if things end up getting out of hand, you can always glean whatever relief is possible from the empty promise repeated by millions on many a hungover morning: “I’ll never drink that much again.”