How to Get Rid of a Hangover (Infographic)

For many of us who like to drink, hangovers are just a part of life. But do they have to be? While the hangover is still not fully understood, medical science has made big strides in recent years and uncovered some of the key causes behind this painful side effect of a big night out.

Here are a few of the big ones:

  • It’s is a serious diarrhetic.  Alcohol will make you urinate all the water out of your body causing dehydration. Tell-tale symptoms include excessive thirst, lightheadedness and dizziness.
  • It prompts an inflammatory response from the immune system. Alcohol is toxic and drinking it causes inflammation which usually manifests as physical symptoms like decreased appetite, inability to concentrate, memory problems and anxiety.
  • It causes blood glucose levels to fall. Once your blood glucose level dips too low, you may experience mood swings, fatigue, and shakiness.
  • It ruins your sleep. Many people will find themselves getting drowsy after a few drinks, but when you finally do crash, the quality of your sleep is poor and you don’t get as much deep REM sleep as you need. This can leave you feeling groggy.
  • It irritates the lining of the stomach. Alcohol has been proven to increase production of gastric acid which can damage your stomach lining. This leads to stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  • It turns in acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a byproduct of alcohol metabolism that is more toxic than alcohol itself. It is created when alcohol in the liver is broken down by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase and a substance called glutathione. This process works well if only a few drinks are consumed, but unfortunately the liver’s stores of glutathione run out when you drink a lot, and this causes acetaldehyde to build up in the body.

 

A list like that makes you wonder why we put ourselves through all this pain. Fortunately, after extensive testing (see: drinking) I’ve managed to put together a pretty simple 3 step routine that can help you reduce or even prevent a hangover all together.

So without further adieu…

How to Get Rid of a Hangover

(click to enlarge)

How to Get Rid of a Hangover

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Step #1: Before

Load up on NAC, milk thistle extract, and B Vitamins. NAC is a form of the amino acid cysteine and is known to help increase glutathione, which is what your liver uses to metabolize alcohol. Take NAC 30 minutes before you drink to help lessen the alcohol’s toxic effects.

NAC is thought to work even better when combined with B Vitamins, particular B1 and B6. Vitamin B6 may also help to lessen hangover symptoms since alcohol has shown to deplete levels of critical B vitamins in your body.

Milk thistle contains silymarin and silybin, antioxidants that are known to help protect the liver from toxins such as alcohol. Not only has silymarin been found to increase glutathione, but it may also help to regenerate liver cells and prevent liver damage.

Recommended Product:

PreToxx
4.5 Reviewer
0 Users (0 votes)
Ease of Use4
Value3.5
Head Symptoms4.5
Stomach Symptoms4.5
Summary
PreToxx is a heavy duty dose of liver boosters (NAC, prickly pear, milk thistle), B vitamins, and electrolytes. This covers all the bases when it comes to hangover prevention. I've tested this product on many occasions and it is one of my favorites in the prevention category. When used properly, it does seem to keep my hangover symptoms to a minimum, especially headache, mental fog, and that general feeling of anxiety you normally have after a big night of hitting the bottle. I still find I occasionally have some nausea or upset stomach, but I'm not sure there is any way to avoid that after a long night of knocking back Maker's Mark. My main gripes with this product are: 1) taking 6 big pills in a night is kind of a pain and sometimes I'll forget to take the extra dose when I get home 2) the bottle doesn't last, since 60 capsules is only good for 10 real servings Still, the price has come down to a point where this is a decent value for the results you get.

Step #2: During

Let’s face it, you don’t want to carry a pocket full of pills out to the bar with you when you’re trying to have a good time. So enjoy your night out, but try to have a glass of water every chance you get. Alcohol is a diuretic (which is why you have to use the bathroom constantly) and staying hydrated will be a big help when tomorrow rolls around.

Recommended Product:

Himalaya PartySmart
4.5 Reviewer
0 Users (0 votes)
Ease of Use5
Value4.5
Head Symptoms4.5
Stomach Symptoms4
Summary
PartySmart is one of my favorites for a few reasons:
1) it's convenient - it comes in a single-use blister pack that you can pop at any time during your night out
2) it's different - most hangover products are a concoction of vitamins, liver boosters, and electrolytes while PartySmart is made up of all natural ayurvedic herbs
3) it's clinically tested - there is real science behind this product and its ingredients

Most of all though, this really works well for me. I'll usually take one capsule after my first few drinks of the night, drink a big glass of water before bed, and I wake up feeling fine. When I know its going to be a heavy night of drinking, I'll sometimes take another right before bed (again, with a big glass of water or sports drink). I've taken this dozens of times and rarely ever wake up feeling more than a little dehydrated.

Step #3: After

Immediately after you’re done drinking, take 1,500mg of Dihydromyricetin and wash it down with a large glass of water, Pedialyte, or coconut water. DHM speeds up the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol and acetaldehyde and also reduces the effect alcohol has on the brain’s GABA receptors.

When excess alcohol is waiting to be metabolized by your liver it circulates through your blood stream and into the brain where it effects two neurotransmitters, Glutamate and GABA. DHM helps lessen the “rebound effect” your brain experiences after consuming alcohol by binding to GABA receptors in your brain and blocking the effect alcohol has on them.

Recommended Product:

DHM
4 Reviewer
0 Users (0 votes)
Ease of Use4
Value4
Head Symptoms4.5
Stomach Symptoms4
Summary
I decided to give DHM a shot after reading loads of medical research about it online. Dihydromyricetin (DHM) is a natural extract of the Oriental Raisin Tree and has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as a hangover cure and intoxication blocker. It has more recently been the subject of study in the United States.

Based on my own testing, I've found that the most effective way to take it is to pop one before you head out for the night, and then take 2 more when you get home at night along with as much water or sports drink as you can handle. Taking it while drinking does indeed take away the intoxicated feeling you get from the booze, but isn't that the whole point of going out drinking? I'm not sure why you would want to feel sober during your night out drinking. That said, this definitely does reduce hangover symptoms across the board and the science says it also protects your liver and brain from the negative effects of alcohol. The price is also fair, making this product a winner in my book. Just be sure that if you do take it during your night out you don't end up behind the wheel, because although it does feel like it sobers you up, it doesn't actually reduce your BAC.

The Next Day

If you’re feeling hangover symptoms the following day then the damage has been done, but you can still treat the symptoms. Take an NSAID painkiller (like Ibuprofen) and drink plenty of fluids. You can also take caffeine to improve mental alertness and treat your headache, but note that caffeine is a diuretic which can make dehydration worse. Keep downing electrolyte enhanced liquids like coconut water or Pedialyte and take L-Theanine to reduce the jitters that sometimes come with caffeine use.

*Never take acetaminophen (Tylenol) the day after drinking as this can cause liver damage.

Recommended Product:

Blowfish for Hangovers
4 Reviewer
0 Users (0 votes)
Ease of Use5
Value3.5
Head Symptoms4.5
Stomach Symptoms3
Summary
This is a fairly bare-bones hangover relief product designed to ease the symptoms of a hangover after they have already happened. It doesn't do anything to protect the liver and it doesn't contain any ingredients to address the stomach distress caused by a night of heavy boozing. That said, it is the only FDA approved hangover product on the market.

I've taken this many times after a night out, sometimes in combination with other hangover prevention products, and it does relieve headache and grogginess quickly. It is also very pleasant to take, which is important when you're feeling queasy the next morning. That said, you can get similar results by popping an Ibuprofen and drinking a cup of coffee.

 

So there you have it, a surefire way to prevent your hangover even after the heaviest night of drinking. If you follow all the steps above you should be set up for a clear-headed, productive day after and your body will thank you for minimizing all the harmful side effects that come along with alcohol metabolism.