Hangover Remedies: Myths & Facts

What if your favorite hangover remedies were more myth than fact, and in trying to rid yourself of the effects of drinking too much alcohol with those approaches, you’re just playing head games with yourself and not actually reducing your hangover? Not that everyone here is really in need of hangover remedies, but hey, it happens, and because during the holidays it seems to happen more often than usual, this seems like a timely topic.

Thanks to the folks at Labdoor, an online review service that helps consumers research, find, and buy the best supplements, here’s a great science-based overview of the myths and facts of hangover remedies (text is below the infographic):


How to Treat a Hangover. Myths and Facts

MYTHS: How NOT To Treat a Hangover:
1. Hair of the Dog
Drinking more alcohol when you have a hangover, only works temporarily by raising your BAC (blood alcohol concentration). A hangover will return once BAC begins to drop.

2. Simple Sugars
1 g/k of glucose or fructose taken after intoxication produced no change in hangover symptoms in a clinical study.

3. Activated Charcoal
BAC was the same in test subjects after a few drinks whether or not activated charcoal was taken.

4. Lots of Coffee
Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics, so lots of coffee just leads to more dehydration, which will make a hangover worse.

5. Herbal Hangover Pills
In a study of hangover pills with yeast, borage, artichoke, and/or prickly pear extract, no significant hangover benefits were found.

6. Fish Oil
Fish oil can decrease inflammatory prostaglandins, the same chemicals implicated in hangover headaches, but it doesn’t work overnight. It takes WEEKS to be effective.

FACTS: How You SHOULD Treat a Hangover:
Know that a “hangover is a bunch of symptoms, not just one,” so treat the right thing.

1. Headache?
Say Yes to Ibuprofen. Take it before drinking prevents your body from releasing pain inducing chemicals. Its effectiveness peaks in 4 hours. A small cup of coffee can also make the ibuprofen even more effective.

Say No Acetaminophen!
When your liver metabolizes alcohol and acetaminophen at the same time, the liver shuttles acetaminophen differently and this can lead to liver damage.

2. Stomach Upset?
Take an antihistamine before drinking to block alcohol’s pro-inflamitory effects on your gastrointestinal lining and prevent upset stomach.

Antacids: Sodium bicarbonate in many antacids, neutralizes gastric acid.

Ginger tea or pills: Ginger can lessen nausea and vomiting.

Eggs and asparagus: They increase your body’s levels of glutathione and alcohol dehydrogenase. Both of these molecules are necessary for breaking down alcohol.

3. Get Your Nutrients!
Drink water: One glass between each beverage.

Drink electrolyte-rich fluids: Coconut water or sports drinks can help prevent muscle aches, nerve dysfunction, and nausea.

Complex carbs: Bread, beans, or oatmeal can help compensate for low blood sugar levels.

Take vitamins!

And from a different source, here’s another look at hangover remedies:

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

One thought on “Hangover Remedies: Myths & Facts

  • December 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Water, salty broth (electrolytes), and wheatgrass shots always work wonders for me.


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