Hinder a hangover

Hinder a hangover

Hangovers have been with us for a long time — as have hangover cures. European doctors in the Middle Ages recommended a remedy of raw egg and bitter almonds, while in China it was green tea — and, in Russia, a session in the sauna.

The Norwegian word for “hangover” translates as “uneasiness after debauchery,” but there’s a surprising lack of scientific research on this “uneasiness” — both the cause of it or how to cure it.

For instance, symptoms of a hangover include headaches, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea and sweating. But why do they range so differently from person to person? Why does 23 percent of the population seem to be hangover-resistant?

Despite this lack of knowledge about hangovers, investigators have recently debunked a few myths related to hangover cures — including the one that stems from the belief that hangovers are caused by dehydration. Drinking a glass of water before bed is fine, but there’s no scientific evidence to suggest it will help a hangover. The same goes for the myths that low blood sugar or mixing alcohol types make you prone to a hangover.

It is possible, however, that hangovers are an inflammatory response caused by consuming too much ethanol, the active ingredient in alcohol. If you consume more ethanol than your body can process, it’s possible this triggers an inflammatory response, which can cause unpleasant symptoms similar to the flu.

More research must be done, but if hangovers are caused by inflammatory response, perhaps cures of the future may include anti-inflammatory remedies.

For now, what you can do to help prevent a hangover — besides not drink too much — is make sure you’ve eaten plenty beforehand. Food slows down the absorption of ethanol in your stomach and may help hinder a horrible hangover.

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