General discussion


A Christmas present from me

By neilb@uk ·
Part of the wonderful celebration that is Christmas is the office party with its associated binge drinking. Now, binge drinking - as you're all old enough to know (better) - thrashes your liver and kidneys, gives you an upset stomach, a huge headache, a gross-tasting mouth and (if you're really stupid) guilt. The latter I can't help with but for the rest, help is at hand.
As some of you know - those who've read my bio - I was once a biochemist. What follows is the scientific rationale for the symptoms of a hangover (except guilt) and the equally scientific treatment.
Alcohol is a fairly clean substance and its only DIRECT effects are as a diuretic ? makes you pee more than you drink so dehydrates you. The main symptoms of your hangover are caused the toxic by-products of alcohol metabolism (breakdown) ? initially free radicals and then mainly a poisonous substance called acetaldehyde. Free radicals are usually mopped up by an enzyme called glutathione but a booze binge will deplete resources of this enzyme. Although hangovers eventually go away on their own as the acetaldehyde is further broken down we will try to do something to alleviate the effects. Research shows that the worst part of the hangover is thought to be the poisoning by acetaldehyde and this is then combined with dehydration, mineral depletion and Vitamin A, B and C depletion.
This makes you feel BAD.
In addition, impurities called congeners poison you. I'll use the common names. Ethyl alcohol gets you pissed; amyl, butyl, methyl, propyl and isopropyl alcohols - which are also found in most drinks to varying degrees - don't get you pissed and also make you feel bad. The concentration of congeners will go some way to determining the severity of the hangover. The "darker the drink - the worse the hangover" might be an old wives tale but, believe me, it is true. It's also worth taking on board that, generally, the "cheaper the drink - the worse the hangover" is also true. Choose your booze with care!
Now, you are feeling WORSE!
But what can I DO?
Before you go out, do your very best to eat something. A marathon-runners meal of pasta, loading yourself with starches and minerals isn't going to happen but SOME food in your stomach will absorb some of the alcohol and even out the absorption once you do get stuck in. Hydrate your body. Chug some orange juice or water. Each glass you take at the beginning of the evening will be one less glass in the morning!
Get the hangover cure ready before you go out. Your morning self will thank you so much.
OK, so you've really tied one on so now we're going to do what we can BEFORE bed...
Have a pee. Doesn't do much but just saves one trip to the bathroom. Drink as much as you can ? orange juice is preferable for the sugar (see below) ? but water will do and especially if you add a teaspoon of salt and two of sugar per pint. DO NOT take painkillers! Aspirin is not good on an empty stomach and Acetaminophen (UK = Paracetamol, US=Tylenol) is bad for the liver and should NOT be taken while you have a lot of alcohol in your system. If you have vitamin supplements, take some! If you have some Berocca (and I do! See below), for God?s sake take some! Go to bed.
Now it?s the morning. This is NOT good! So, as many of these as you can cope with.
What you're trying to do is put back stuff that you took out and get rid of stuff that you put in. The liver took most of the hit as it alone can metabolise alcohol and so it will do most of the work getting rid so it would like some fructose (fruit sugar) please. That's honey or buy some Fructose tablets from the chemist (or drugstore).
Vitamin B6. You haven't got any? Tough. Send someone out but get some! Buy some now! In the UK there is a vitamin supplement called Berocca (made by Bayer and sold at Boots) which puts the vitamin B back in. It's drunk in a big glass of water which is also good for the dehydration. It is brilliant! It?s big in Oz as well but I don?t know if you American sorts can get it.
One very useful substance if you need a clear head in the morning is N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), an amino acid supplement sold in health food stores. This is extremely good at mopping up the free radicals that have built up in the liver because it is rich in cysteine, an amino acid that is used by the body in the manufacture of free radical-eliminating glutathione.
Normal Coca Cola is OK but decaff is preferred unless that is all you have. Diet isn?t much use as caffeine is a diuretic and so makes you pee more of that precious fluid away so it does less good than water. Coke is fizzy so it will settle the nausea if you can get it down, has water for the dehydration and sugar to raise your low blood sugar level and help the liver. If you have to have a caffeine hit then it may make you feel better but keep drinking other stuff as the effect of caffeine is not a good one.
Tea is better than coffee. There are no bubbles to help ease the nausea but is liquid, chock full of anti-oxidants and the caffeine level is half that of coffee. Take black or green tea with honey even if you don't usually take sugar - as this is fructose and is absorbed quicker than normal sugar.
The need for coffee is psychological. If you?ve got to have it, then have it - but fruit juice would be better!
Breakfast! Something ? anything - in your stomach is good, and salty is even better AND you get a Vitamin top up. Fruit is good (for the fructose). Best of all, bananas which have sugar in the form of fructose, very high potassium (you peed a lot of that away last night), natural antacid to settle the nausea and high magnesium which can help relax your blood vessels and ease the headache.
Apparently the best quick cure food is a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich on white bread - washed down by decaffeinated Coke. If you can eat that then do you really have a hangover?
Painkillers are OK in the morning ? whatever reduces the rocking of your boat.
Vitamin C is something to put back in as soon as possible. Chug a litre of orange or tomato juice, take a 1000mg Vitamin C tablet, just get it down.
A very hot bath - even better, a sauna - will sweat out some of the toxins that are causing all the problems. You may feel woozy at first but stick with it and you'll feel better afterwards. A hot shower targeted at the back of your neck will help to reduce tension headache.
Now go back to bed. Last night was not sleep but was unconsciousness which isn?t the same. Call in sick. You ARE sick as any Doctor would tell you. You have been poisoned and the fact that is self-inflicted doesn?t change that.
Merry Christmas
Neil <img src="">

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

32 total posts (Page 1 of 4)   01 | 02 | 03 | 04   Next
Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Sorry, never touch the stuff

by CharlieSpencer In reply to A Christmas present from ...

Aren't I screwed up enough for you when I'm sober?

Collapse -

Me neither

by GSG In reply to Sorry, never touch the st ...

Actually, I may have 1 small drink every couple of years, and I do cook with the stuff, but I was drunk once and did not appreciate the after effects. I have more fun drinking a soda and watching others make fools of themselves.

Collapse -

One of these days

by Tig2 In reply to A Christmas present from ...

I will simply print that off and send it instead of Christmas cards! It's brilliant and my favourite gift of the holiday season.

Merry f*cking Christmas, Sweetie!

Collapse -

This is new and improved

by neilb@uk In reply to One of these days

Somebody mentioned the cysteine to me so I researched it a bit and discovered the glutathione link...

Secular Seasonal Greetings to you , too!

Collapse -

Neil, dear.....

by gadgetgirl In reply to A Christmas present from ...

there are times, though few and far between, when I actually remember why I like you.....

Saved, and will be printed nearer the time, and stuck on the kitchen noticeboard.

(nothing on there that's likely to affect my stupid tum, is there?)

Christmas planned? You sorted?

ta muchly, petal. Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry effin' Christmas!


Collapse -

Family do up in the Midlands

by neilb@uk In reply to Neil, dear.....

I will almost certainly drink too much but will have my pack of Berocca so I can practice what I preach. This is the one thing that I would recommend above all others!

I think you should be OK.Ingredients (according to Beyer) are:

Thiamine nitrate - Vitamin B1
Riboflavine sodium phosphate - Vitamin B2
Nicotinamide - Vitamin B3
Calcium pantothenate - Vitamin B5
Pyridoxine hydrochloride - Vitamin B6
Cyanocobalamin - Vitamin B12
Biotin - Vitamin B7 or H
Ascorbic Acid - Vitamin C
Calcium carbonate - Calcium
Sucrose - Sugar
Sodium Chloride - Salt

Obviously the Full English is probably not an option for you - you have my sympathy - but most of the other stuff should be OK.

Collapse -

I should

by maecuff In reply to A Christmas present from ...

do a needle point of this and hang it in my kitchen. Well, I would if I actually had the patience to needle point.

Instead, I'll try to commit it to memory.

Merry Christmas right back atcha.. :)

Collapse -

My unscientific university days hangover cure....

by JamesRL In reply to A Christmas present from ...

Was MacDonalds....

I always drank water before going to bed. In later years I start to drink water an hour before I plan to leave the party.

In the morning my body seemed to crave grease so I'd go to MacDonalds for a Sausage McMuffin with Cheese, coffee and OJ. Always worked for me.

You haven't commented on the myth about mixed drinks - that they were worse for you than straight alcohol. I always had better luck with single malt than beer.

Its a somewhat academic exercise now because even when I am not driving , I don't drink to excess anymore.


Collapse -

That's been our hang over cure as well

by maecuff In reply to My unscientific universit ...

Sausage Mcmuffin, OJ and a coke.

Collapse -

Cheers, mate!

by Oz_Media In reply to A Christmas present from ...

I agree with quality making a huge difference, so I always drink quality booze, and found that it helps big time! Cheap booze and I'm done for in the morning.

With highballs, is it all the sugar from mixed liquers that is so nasty? I gave up drinking those sweet, umbrella drinks years ago and found that hard booze (Scotch straight etc.) is far easy to deal with.

I have always chugged a few litres of water before bed, and lately have had a few cups of tea before I leave the party/bar/racetrack/alley I'm laying in, but I usually take a multivitamin and a couple of Tylenol, I find the Tylenol helps with that midnight headache I wake up to, having severe kneck and back problems, I find that's the part that kills me. Perhaps not such a great idea afterall?

Mornings, toast and jam seems to go down well, and if I have ginger ale (Canada Dry of course), that helps settle the churning gut.

As for pre booxing food, I've found a good fry up works like a least for helping it go down. Nothing like a gut full of fried bacon, eggs, hash browns etc. A big stuffin' before drinking. (NOT for the morning though).

Thanks for the tips and the detailed explanations, drinking advice from a Brit is always solid...well, AFTER drinking advice is anyway, it's the "c'mon, try the yard glass" advice that causes rouble.

Back to Tablets Forum
32 total posts (Page 1 of 4)   01 | 02 | 03 | 04   Next

Related Discussions

Related Forums