Drinking is part of our culture, especially here in Portland. We drink to network, celebrate, drown our sorrows, or simply because we really do want to try every tap option at Bailey's. Whatever the reason we drink, the next morning always comes to soon, too brightly and way too loudly. For some people, creating a 2-3 drink limit allows for indulgence and hangover prevention simultaneously. It's a reasonable plan and a worthy endeavor, but there are exceptions to this rule like weddings, or your birthday, or Fridays.
If you do only one thing: take Theracurmin HP
If you've ever been to a dinner or an event with me, you've probably gotten a sample of my favorite product. It's Theracurmin HP and made by a company I love and trust, Integrative Therapeutics. I give it out because if you're going to do nothing else, this product alone will drastically cut down hangover symptoms the next day. I literally use it every time I drink. Feel free to stop reading now and buy some Theracurmin HP. Or continue on if you want to learn how it works and get some tips on how to control hangovers and understand why they happen.
Three primary causes of hangovers
There are several contributing factors. Veisalgia, the technical term for hangover (and the one I suggest using if you need to call out of work) can get severe if people really over do it.
Hangover Cause #1: Acetylaldehyde
It's gnarly. It's the metabolic breakdown product of alcohol ingestion and it's 30 times more toxic than the alcohol you drank. This metabolite causes headache, nausea and vomiting and is responsible for light sensitivity. Acetylaldehyde is toxic and toxic things create inflammation in the form of free radicals and increased inflammatory cytokines.
Pro-tip: Remember Theracurmin HP, that product I love? This is where it does its best work. Theracurmin HP contains the chemical constituent curcumin derived from tumeric root and is specially designed to be more bioavaiable. Taking it early (2 capsules with your first drink) helps reduce inflammatory cytokines and acts as a free radical scavenger helping your body do the heavy detoxing. Find it by clicking on my supplement tab or on the link towards the top.
HANGOVER CAUSE #2: DEHYDRATION
It's part of story. Drinking alcohol inhibits the hormone antidiuretic hormone (ADH), thereby increasing urinary output. Having 4 drinks can cause the body to lose half and up to a liter of fluid. And if the fluid goes out, so do electrolytes. This dehydration alone can cause nausea, and headache. These symptoms are difficult to chase in the morning so it's best to prepare in advance.
Pro-tip: Drink water before you start your night. If you're not peeing every 15-30 min before you start, you're already not putting your best foot forward. Continue to drink 8oz of water after every 2 drinks and don't let up.
Hangover Cause Factor #3: Glutamate Rebound
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It works by enhancing GABA effects on the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and when it's enhanced, it helps us feel relaxed, lowers our heart rate, and reduces our inhibitions. Remember high school physics: "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"?. When your done consuming alcohol, your body rapidly tries to correct the neurotransmitter imbalance. Glutamate's effects are suddenly in full swing. Unfortunately, you're trying to sleep and the brain is excited. It wakes us up, can cause restlessness, and sensations of depression and anxiety.
Pro-tip: N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) performs many tasks. When broken down by the body, it turns into glutathione, a potent antioxidant helpful to aid alcohol detoxification and cysteine, a key ingredient in maintaining an appropriate balance of glutamate levels. Take the first one 30 min before you start drinking and pop one every 1-2 drinks until you've hit 1,800mg. There's no more value to it after that. Look for it in the supplement tab.
Finally, consider IV Therapy...and your drink choices
If you know you're about to go all in for an event or a series of events, come see me first and get some IV Therapy. Intravenous vitamins topped off with glutathione will set you up for a much better recovery, especially if you have multiple days of fun ahead. There's no better way to get active glutathione into your system since it's not very well absorbed orally and you'll prepare your body by providing it with everything necessary to detox.
That being said: I'm a whiskey girl, myself, but the clear alcohols cause less of a hangover due to a significantly lower congeners, a group of chemicals that form during production and aging. Choose wisely especially if you need to be productive the next day.
Lastly, I'm all about imbibing, except when it comes to driving after drinking. Please pass on the alcohol or be sure to contact my friends at Uber or Lyft to get home safely!