Print Edition: April 11, 2012
There’s an old line that goes something like this: “there aint no cure for a hangover.” Or was it love? But either way Leonard Cohen hit the nail right on the head with that one.
There is no information on Health Canada’s website. Like Canadians don’t drink or something. The only tip they have is “no documents were found to match you query” when I search ‘hangover cures.’ That’s not very helpful. Lousy Canadian government.
The only advice I can think of is this: prevention is the only cure. Don’t drink. And with finals being so close to being over, with hot summer nights, camping trips and bonfires coming, that advice is completely moot.
So what are some ways to get out of being hungover? From personal experience, I know that it doesn’t take a binge-drinker to get that headache and nausea. If you’re lightweight, or the beer-gods just don’t like you, more than a couple of drinks can be pretty toxic for your body, resulting in a hangover.
In an article published in Better Nutrition, Kimberly Retzlaff wrote about curing hangovers the natural way. Her advice is to take preventative steps before, during and after. Before drinking, take vitamin B6. If you don’t have the pill form, there are many foods that are rich in this vitamin. Retzlaff says vitamin B6 will reduce hangover symptoms in half, proven in a small study published in the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol. Such foods include bran (rice and wheat), pistashios, tuna, and raw garlic. In addition to cutting the hangover symptoms in half, your breath will smell great.
Another cure we’ve all heard is this: drink water. Alcohol is a diuretic. That’s why you have to pee so much the night before. Now, drinking lots of water will flush the alcohol out of your system, and rehydrate your body. It’s a good idea to start drinking water in between drinks, just to get started.
What to do the morning after? Vitamin C – 1000mg of it. “Animal research has shown that vitamin C prevents an alcohol-induced rise in cholesterol and, through antioxidant mechanisms, can prevent liver damage,” Retzlaff writes. Also, standardized milk thistle extract has similar effects. “Milk thistle has been used for centuries for its liver-cleansing effects and is believed to work—at least partially—through antioxidant benefits.” 140mg of milk thistle extract, and the vitamin C, will ease the toxic effects of your bender. Take 1000mg of vitamin C plus 140mg of a standardized milk thistle extract. These supplements can ease the toxic effects of over-indulging.
In an article in AskMen, the author Jeff Bayer noted that eating before a night of heavy drinking will help a lot. “The main idea here is to put volume in your stomach, which will dilute the effects of alcohol.” Milk and olive oil will line the stomach well. It’s true that greasy foods help – but again, only before the drinks, to line the stomach.
I’m not going to lie: there’s no sure cure for a hangover. So if you’re going to whine, I’ll tell you to stop drinking to much. Otherwise, give these tricks a try, and feel better!