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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.
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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.
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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.
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This makes you feel BAD.
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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!
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Now, you are feeling WORSE!
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But what can I DO?
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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!
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Get the hangover cure ready before you go out. Your morning self will thank you so much.
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OK, so you've really tied one on so now we're going to do what we can BEFORE bed...
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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.
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Now it?s the morning. This is NOT good! So, as many of these as you can cope with.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The need for coffee is psychological. If you?ve got to have it, then have it - but fruit juice would be better!
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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.
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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?
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Painkillers are OK in the morning ? whatever reduces the rocking of your boat.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Merry Christmas
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Neil <img src="http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l243/neilb_uk/Emoticons/smiley-faces-82.gif">

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Ozzie, dear

by Tig2 In reply to Cheers, mate!

If you must take a painkiller, Tylenol is a bad answer. Even the Midol bottle (contains acetaminophen) warns against using with alcohol. Your best choice is plain aspirin.

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Can't take Aspirin

by Oz_Media In reply to Ozzie, dear

I have lived o Tylenol since I was about 13. When drinking I don't take anything more than an over the counter Extra Strength Tylenol, I normally eat T3's like smarties though, my tolrance to Tylenol makes then about as useful as a handful of ibuprofen.

Midol is a second best too, when out of Tylenol I'll find a women with mydol, too bad it is only marketed towards women, that's stuff is great for headaches.

My problems are not really headaches but severe pain in my kneck and spine, common drugs just don't cut it these days it seems. I know it's bad but I have been known to wash down Tylenol with beer or scotch, whatever is handy.

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Just be careful

by Tig2 In reply to Can't take Aspirin

It really is toxic to the liver in combination with alcohol. But being aware of that is the first step.

I understand about chronic pain. Unfortunately, you're already doing the best you can do for it. Anything that lets you get through the day is not a bad thing.

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:)

by Oz_Media In reply to Just be careful

Thanks but just to be clear, I am not saying that pharmeceuticals and hard alcohol are what it takes to get me through the day.

But they do cross from time to time, my bad, and thank you for the heads up and the reminder, I know what I shouldn't do, but don't listen to myself much.

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not fer me.

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

since I don't touch that poison.

and Mary kiss my a$$ to you to.
clappy new year.
and all that rot.
[ if you knew the Mary I do, that would be quite likely ]:) ]

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Advice from my dad

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

Before I went to college, my dad gave me a very useful piece of advice:<br><br>
<i>Wine before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, you're in the clear.</i><br><br>
He also told me to make myself throw up before going to bed if I've been drinking.<br><br>
Not sure which part of the advice it was, my metabolism, or genetics, but I was able to drink many guys under the table and never have a hangover.

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but I was able to drink many guys under the table

by Oz_Media In reply to Advice from my dad

If you ever run out of ice and snow and decide to visit Canada, I'd like to at least have a go.

Not that I'm suggesting I'd drink you under the table by any means, but any lady that can drink like that is welcome to share my table. :)

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Leee, you really, really

by Jaqui In reply to Advice from my dad

have to be carefull how you word something on here.
you never know what the proverts on here will think about something.

[ remember, I'm the biggest PROfessional perVERT here ]:) and you really don't want to know where my mind went with that drinking many guys under the table comment ]

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Just brilliant, Neil!

by TechExec2 In reply to A Christmas present from ...

.
I remember this from last year. It's a great gift you give. Thank you very much and cheers to you, mate!

Merry Christmas!


P.S. As you may know, here in the 'States there is a "politically correct" movement to say "Happy Holidays". When they say that to me, I always reply with "Merry Christmas"! :^0 It's tradition and I won't give it up. Of course, I respect other traditions as well and wish them accordingly if I know they observe them.

One city even tried to get Santa to stop saying "Ho Ho Ho" because of the connotation of the slang "ho". Some people... Cheers!

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The most effective cure I've ever had

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to A Christmas present from ...

was scrambled egg on toast
washed down with a pint of Riesling. A nice crisp Austrailian Chardonnay will do at a pinch, but it seems a pity to waste such a nice tipple when you can't taste it.

Either way do this about nine and you'll be nicely up to speed for an 11:00 am start on the next session.

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