After consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, you may experience a range of unpleasant symptoms known as a hangover. Alcohol can cause dehydration by increasing urine output and reducing the body's ability to absorb water. This can lead to symptoms like headache, fatigue, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. Additionally, alcohol can cause inflammation in the body, which can worsen hangover symptoms. The severity of a hangover can vary depending on factors like the type and amount of alcohol consumed, as well as individual characteristics such as age, gender, and overall health.
While there are many suggested hangover cures, only a few are scientifically proven to work. However, there are several effective ways to relieve and prevent hangover symptoms. Certain foods, supplements, and over-the-counter products can help alleviate symptoms, while some practices can help prevent hangovers. This article outlines evidence-based ways to prevent or relieve a hangover.
Overall, naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the underlying causes of hangovers, such as dehydration, inflammation, and nutrient deficiencies, rather than simply masking the symptoms.
Naturopathic medicine views a bad hangover as a multi-factorial condition with various underlying causes. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance due to the diuretic effects of alcohol are some of the factors that could cause a hangover. Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause liver inflammation and toxicity, leading to symptoms associated with a hangover.
Additionally, naturopathic practitioners may associate hangovers with overall digestive dysfunction since alcohol can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and disrupt gut flora. Nutrient deficiencies could also contribute to hangovers as alcohol depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals.
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent hangovers, maintaining a healthy diet can certainly help reduce their severity. Here are a few tips:
Living Nutrition Organic Fermented True Adaptogens: Red ginseng has been found to reduce blood alcohol levels and hangover severity, according to an older study[iii].
Terranova Nettle Root, Lycopene & Zinc Complex (containing prickly pear): Prickly pear extract has also shown potential in treating hangovers, as evidenced by a 2004 study which found that it decreased hangover symptoms and halved the risk of severe symptoms[iv].
Viridian Ginger – Organic: Ginger has been shown to improve certain hangover symptoms in an older study that used a ginger, brown sugar, and tangerine extract. Additionally, compounds found in ginger may have a protective effect against alcohol-induced liver damage, based on test-tube and animal studies[v].
Pure Encapsulations Borage Oil 60 Capsules: Borage oil, which is derived from the seeds of starflower, has also been found to reduce hangover symptoms in 88% of participants in a study that used a supplement containing both prickly pear and borage oil[vi].
A Vogel Siberian Ginseng Eleutherococcus Drops: Finally, supplementing with eleuthero extract, also known as Siberian ginseng, has been found to alleviate several hangover symptoms and decrease the overall severity, based on one study[vii].
Consider taking supplements: Some studies suggest that taking certain supplements, including vitamin B6, vitamin C, and magnesium, could help alleviate hangover symptoms.
Remember, moderation is key when it comes to drinking. While a healthy diet can certainly help, it's important to drink responsibly and in moderation to avoid hangovers and other negative health effects associated with alcohol consumption.
Pure Encapsulations Silymarin: Silymarin is a milk thistle seed extract standardized to the active phytonutrients silymarin. Silymarin is a unique flavonoid complex of silybin, silydianin, and silychrisin derived from the milk thistle plant[viii].
Pukka Cleanse Tea: Made with organic aloe vera, dandelion, fennel, liquorice, nettle[x] and peppermint. A tea to help restore your sparkle and glow. Dandelion helps in protecting the liver[xi] and nettle…
The Beauty Chef Cleanse Inner Beauty Powder: This advanced super-greens formula contains 45 Certified Organic and bio-fermented fruits[xii], vegetables, seeds, roots, algae, grasses, purifying herbs and digestive enzymes to help alkalise and detoxify your body from the inside out[xiii].
The Beauty Chef Hydration Inner Beauty Boost: A bio-fermented elixir to mix with water to optimise cellular hydration, help replenish lacklustre skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines from the inside out. With coconut water, aloe vera and lemon myrtle to cultivate healthy, radiant skin[xiv].
A Vogel Milk Thistle: The seeds (fruit) of Milk Thistle are combined with four other important herbs used in healthcare for centuries – fresh extracts of Dandelion, Artichoke, Peppermint and dried Boldo leaves. Artichoke has been seen to in a few small studies to improve liver function for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease[xvii].
Dr. Schulze's Superfood: The 14 botanical foods in Dr Schulze's Original Superfood Plus (four weeks supply) provides high levels of protein as well as high levels of vitamins B6 and B12, which makes it a nutritious food product for busy people wanting good health. B vitamins[xviii] and chlorophyll[xix] contribute to liver health and revitalising your energy.
Alcohol can cause sleep disturbances and may be associated with decreased sleep quality and duration for some people[xx]. Although a lack of sleep does not directly cause a hangover, it can exacerbate its symptoms. The effects of alcohol on the body can already cause fatigue, headaches, and irritability, and the added impact of sleep deprivation can intensify these symptoms. So, while not a cause, getting enough restful sleep can help alleviate the discomfort of a hangover.
Functional testing can be useful to figure out the source of bad hangovers because it can help identify any underlying health issues or imbalances that may be contributing to the symptoms. For example, functional testing can reveal if there are any nutrient deficiencies or liver dysfunction that may be exacerbating the effects of alcohol on the body. This information can be used to develop personalised treatment plans that address the root cause of the hangover, rather than just masking the symptoms. Functional testing can also help individuals identify any food sensitivities or allergies that may be contributing to their hangovers, as certain foods can worsen inflammation and digestive distress. By addressing these underlying issues, individuals may be able to prevent or reduce the severity of hangovers in the future.
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