by Kym Byrnes
Oftentimes, New Year’s Eve comes with a party and friends, good food and festive spirits. But those spirits that can often lead to a woozy feeling on Jan. 1, which — not coincidentally — is also recognized as National Hangover Day. But there is help for the overindulgent: Keep these tips in mind to help ease that hangover and get the new year off to a better start.
When alcohol is metabolized in the liver, it is broken down to another substance called acetaldehyde, which is more toxic than alcohol. The acetaldehyde can bind to proteins in the liver and interfere with its function. Alcohol itself is a diuretic, which means it causes increased urine output — leading to dehydration and dilation of blood vessels, causing dry mouth, nausea and headache.
Dr. Wendy Miller of Carroll Health Group Primary Care said that the type of alcohol one chooses to drink may play a role in how severe the hangover is. She also said heeding some of the following advice may help get rid of the hangover.
Fermentation is the chemical reaction that produces alcohol, and that process produces congeners, which are also toxic and cause the nausea of a hangover. The severity of a hangover is intensified by congeners. In general, dark liquors have a higher concentration of congeners, whereas a light liquor such as vodka has virtually none.
Drink water to help relieve thirst, dizziness, dry mouth and headache. A good rule of thumb is to alternate a glass of water with drinks when drinking and then continue to rehydrate the next day.
Taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (aspirin or ibuprofen) may help ease a headache.
Although low blood sugar levels are not the cause of a hangover, they’re often associated with it. Excessive drinking can throw off the balance of chemicals in the body and cause an increase of acidity in the blood. In addition reducing hangover symptoms, eating a healthy breakfast offers the body important vitamins and minerals which may become depleted when drinking alcohol.
There are some supplements that have been researched for hangover relief. Some evidence suggests that prickly pear extract decreases hangover symptoms and severity. Red ginseng and ginger have also been known to help with symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
These are general tips. Speak to your personal physician for individual health advice.