Hangovers Explained

Hangovers are widely experienced but the exact mechanisms causing hangovers are not well understood. Learn what science understands about how we process alcohol and the leading theories as to why we experience hangovers.

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Hangover Remedies and Cures

Everyone has their own method for dealing with hangovers but what treatments and remedies have scientific evidence as effective hangover cures? Let us help you sort the wheat from the chaff and to find hangover remedies that actually work.

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Hangover FAQs

Why do I have a hangover?

There’s no two ways about it, you had too much to drink last night and now you’re dealing with the consequences. Fortunately Hangover Hacks is here to help. Now do yourself a favour and read up on the hangover remedies approved by science and make sure you drink responsibly in future.

What is a hangover?

A hangover comprises of a mostly unpleasant set of symptoms that are a direct consequence of excessive alcohol consumption. The severity of the hangover symptoms experienced are directly dependent on the volume and strength of the alcohol consumed prior, but will also depend on individual differences such as age, gender, genetic make-up.

A hangover will start once your blood alcohol levels drop to near zero, which is typically the morning after alcohol was consumed. Hangover symptoms are commonly at their most severe the morning after a night of drinking and will gradually lessen throughout the proceeding day. The effects of a particularly severe hangover can be felt for up to 48 hours but symptoms will normally have disappeared after 24 hours.

Scientific knowledge on the underlying mechanisms behind hangover symptoms are not well understood. Initial theories explaining hangovers centred around dehydration as it was thought alcohol’s diuretic properties resulted in the symptoms associated with hangovers. While dehydration is certainly a component of a hangover, drinking more water will not prevent or cure a hangover so a more nuanced explanation is required.

More recent scientific hangover explanations, centre around four key components: nutrient depletion, acetaldehyde build up, disruption to the immune system and increased glutamine production. Further research is required to fully understand the underlying causes of hangovers but a number of scientifically backed remedies and treatments are coming to light based on these four key contributors.

How long do hangovers last?

Hangovers typically last for a day, the 24 hours following alcohol consumption but the effects of a more severe hangover may be felt up to 48 hours after drinking. If symptoms persist beyond 48 hours, Hangover Hacks would recommend seeking attention from a qualified medical professional.

How do I get rid of a hangover fast?

There are a number of ways by which you can get rid of your hangover faster than letting it run it's natural course. The obvious solutions are to stay hydrated and get some sleep to deal with symptoms of thirst and fatigue. However, many of us lead busy lives so getting extra tie in bed isn’t necessarily an option and drinking water won’t cure you because a hangover isn’t just about dehydration.

Thankfully Hangover Hacks has looked high and low to pull together a comprehensive repository of hangover cures and remedies approved by science. Hangover remedies have been uncovered which can reduce the length of a hangover by reducing blood alcohol levels or by curing specific symptoms.

How can I avoid a hangover?

The simple answer and only sure-fire way to avoid a hangover is to practice alcohol abstinence, limit the amount of alcohol that you consume or be in the lucky minority who don’t experience hangovers.

Outside of the above, there are a number of hangover remedies that can be taken prior to drinking alcohol that have been scientifically proven to lessen the effects of a hangover including asparagus, tomatoes and fenugreek seeds. Asparagus and fenugreek seeds works to prevent a hangover by protecting the liver against the toxic effects of alcohol, thus helping to prevent a hangover.

Tomatoes work in a slightly different way to prevent hangovers, compared to fenugreek seeds and asparagus. Studies have found that tomatoes are able to lower blood alcohol levels, meaning that there is a smaller probability that a hangover will be experienced.

The mechanisms by which natural hangover prevention remedies work still need to be better understood but a growing area of research is providing promising solutions to preventing a hangover from occurring in the first place. Once science has been better able to determine the negative after effects of alcohol consumption, better hangover prevention treatments are likely to be developed.

What are the symptoms of a hangover?

The symptoms of a hangover are wide ranging and vary from person-to-person, but the most common symptoms of a hangover include fatigue, nausea, dry-mouth and headaches.

Science has been far more successful at identifying hangover symptoms as opposed to their underlying causes as they are self-evident. Nearly all drinkers can identify the unpleasant and sometimes excruciating levels of roughness felt upon waking up after a big night out. Nevertheless science has still sought to develop a systematic understanding of hangover symptoms with the long term aim of eradicating them completely.

A team of Dutch researchers at the University of Utrecht interviewed over 1,000 students to gain a comprehensive view of the symptoms associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The researchers found a total of 47 symptoms which were ranked on a 10 point scale. Fatigue, thirst, drowsiness, headache, sleepiness and nausea were the most commonly experienced symptoms, being experienced by over 80% of participants.

Interestingly only around a quarter of respondents experienced guilt or regret as part of a hangover, which may point to dutch students being a more restrained group of drinkers compared to other nationalities.

Hangover Remedies

About Hangover Hacks

Hangover Hacks is your one-stop source for information on how to treat and cure the alcoholic hangover. The site aims to uncover and share insights from the latest scientific research into hangovers and provide you with solutions for hangover cures, treatment and prevention.

Hangover Hacks’ mission is to make scientific research into the hangover readily available and accessible to the general public in order that they can test out hangover treatments backed by science rather than relying on ill-proven home remedies.

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