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My usual Christmas present to you all

By neilb@uk ·
A Christmas present for you all from me. Some of you may know that I used to be a biochemist so this is the biochemist's view of a hangover and the closest we can get to a cure.

Some might suggest that you imbibe responsibly. Me? Go for it!

The main symptoms of your hangover are caused the toxic by-products of alcohol breakdown - mainly a substance called acetaldehyde. The poisoning by acetaldehyde is combined with dehydration and Vitamin A, B and C depletion caused by the metabolism of alcohol in your system.

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, 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. Methyl alcohol sends you blind. The concentration of congeners will go a long way to determining the severity of the hangover. The "darker the drink - the worse the hangover" is an old wives tale and, believe me, it is true.

Now, you are feeling WORSE!

Less well known is that, since the natural oxidation product of ethanol is acetaldehyde, finishing off a three-day old already open bottle of red wine will provide you with acetaldehyde so you don't have to wait for your liver to make it in order to have a hangover. Pour it away! (This is worth knowing if entertaining people you don't like - but make sure you drink out of another bottle).

But what can I DO?

For the cure - as many of these as you can cope with. Most of them are good to do before, as well.

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 if you're unfortunate enough to live the wrong side of the Pond.

Vitamin B6. You haven't got any? Tough. Send someone out but get some! Buy some in advance! 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!

Coca Cola - but NOT diet or decaff. Fizzy so it will settle the nausea, water for the dehydration, sugar to raise your low blood sugar level and help the liver and a caffeine hit.

Coffee or Tea - No bubbles to help ease the nausea but is liquid and caffeine. Take it with honey - even if you don't usually take sugar - as this is fructose and is absorbed quicker than normal sugar.

Breakfast. Something 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: 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 Coke. If you can eat that then do you really have a hangover?

Painkillers sort the headache. Do NOT take aspirin before going to bed. Paracetamol (I think you know it as acetaminophen or tylenol in the US) is good if you're OK with it.

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 the toxins that are causing all the problems. You may feel woozy at first but stick with it and you'll feel better afterwards.

Merry Christmas one and all!


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? Thanks ? (I think)

by dawgit In reply to My usual Christmas presen ...

Good thing I stoped drinking. Avoids the whole problem. (of course the reason I stoped is worse)
But, hey folks, have fun anyway.!.
and a Merry Christmas to all..........
Ho, Ho, Ho....

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Crocin :-) ?

by onbliss In reply to My usual Christmas presen ...

After hunting in vain looking for Paracetamol tablets, with some trepidation I switched to acetaminophen tablets :-)

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If you're an habitual drinker

by neilb@uk In reply to Crocin :-) ?

You should use ibuprofen or, if that's no good for you, suffer...

Paracetamol is the English name for what the yanks know as Tylenol.

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hence the smiley.....

by JamesRL In reply to If you're an habitual dri ...

Do you need a drink Neil?


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James, never confuse

by jdclyde In reply to hence the smiley.....
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Need? No. Want? Yes...

by neilb@uk In reply to hence the smiley.....

I got a bit confused because Crocin is the active ingredient in Saffron and I didn't know what he was on about. Thanks to your timely prod, James, I remembered Onbliss' origins and read the wiki.

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Ofcourse you are right

by onbliss In reply to Need? No. Want? Yes...

I also learnt this from Wiki :-)

Crocin is a natural carotenoid chemical compound that is found in the flowers crocus and gardenia. It is the diester formed from the disaccharide gentiobiose and the dicarboxylic acid crocetin. It has a deep red color and forms crystals with a melting point of 186 ?C. When dissolved in water, it forms an orange solution.

Crocin is the chemical ingredient primarily responsible for the color of saffron.

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Hey we are more...

by onbliss In reply to If you're an habitual dri ...

...English than you English. Just kidding. No I am not a habitual drinker. I was looking for some fever reducer tablets at that time. I was used to Crocin (or Paracetamol) tablets.

ps: I mean Indians when I say "we" :-)

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You never know

by Beth Blakely In reply to My usual Christmas presen ...

You never know what you're going to learn in the TR forums!

Now I understand why those pancakes and cokes always taste so good. ;-)

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Some follow up this year

by jdclyde In reply to My usual Christmas presen ...

First, I personally get hung over if I drink "tap" beer, of 1/3 the quantity of if I drink out of a bottle. Why?

What can be done for beer vs rum vs vodka vs whiskey vs red wine vs white wine?

I read the other day GIN is the worst on you when drunk to excess. Is this true?

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