Hangovers Part 1 – Avoid a Hangover With Vitamins
We’ve all been there, hurting and swearing never to drink again after a long night of partying. Hangovers are not any fun and many of you may be looking for ways to avoid getting a hangover in the first place. There are some things that you can do to help prevent a hangover before you consume alcoholic drinks. There are also some things that you can do to treat a hangover if it’s too late. Part 1 of our “Hangovers” series will discuss ways that you can help avoid a hangover if you plan on drinking alcohol.
First, we must understand exactly what a hangover is and what alcohol does to our bodies. When we drink alcohol, we retain more and more ethanol in our bloodstream. This causes symptoms like imbalance, slurred speech, slowed responses, and the physiological state that we call “drunk”.
When we consume alcohol, it is absorbed into the blood. It is then metabolized through a process called oxidation. Oxidation helps to remove alcohol from the blood so that we do not get poisoned by it. Absorption happens faster than oxidation, which is why it is easy to overdo it and drink too much. While alcohol is in the blood, it draws water out of our tissues and organs, which is why you will find yourself making more trips to the bathroom when you drink. This causes dehydration.
The dehydration effect of alcohol causes our bodies to lose their ability to flush out toxins. As the oxidized toxins from metabolized alcohol build up, we’ll start to feel the pain. Headaches, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fever, anxiety, depression, light sensitivity, and lowered cognitive ability are all symptoms of dehydration and oxidative stress brought on by consuming alcohol.
Drinking alcohol faster than our bodies can metabolize it puts you at risk for a hangover because it depletes your body of its vitamin stores and water. Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are stored in the liver. Because alcohol metabolizes using enzymes in the liver, it causes these vitamin stores to be used up or flushed out. Water soluble vitamins, namely B-complex vitamins and vitamin C, are excreted as the alcohol draws the fluid from our tissues and organs.
Making sure that your body has enough of these vitamins before you drink alcoholic beverages can help you to avoid a hangover all together. This is because when your body has enough (but not too much!) of these vitamins, it is better equipped handle the oxidative damage that alcohol does to you. Oxidative stress refers to a state where your body is trying to detox, but gets imbalanced and produces damaging peroxides and free radicals instead.
Vitamin C especially helps to combat the oxidative stress that can make a hangover not only uncomfortable and inconvenient, but damaging to your brain, liver, and other organs. Vitamin C mops up free radicals as it is absorbed and helps your body to excrete them.
Avoiding a hangover is possible if you take the right vitamins and supplements. Make sure that you rehydrate regularly as you are out drinking. Take a good multivitamin daily to ensure that your night of drinking doesn’t cause you long-term health problems. Supplementing with the best vitamin C before you go out can give you a jump-start on the night, keeping free radicals and other oxidized particles from settling in and making you sick by morning.
As always, speak with your doctor before you buy vitamins or start a new vitamins and supplements routine.