Entries in Hangover (5)


New Year, New Headache? Hangover Cures and Myths

Steve Mason/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After the Times Square ball drops on New Year’s Eve and copious amounts of champagne get toasted and drunk, many might find themselves forgetting more ”auld acquaintances” than they intended and waking up to 2013 with a vicious hangover.

A hangover is essentially a build-up of acetaldehyde, a toxin in the liver.  When one overdoes it on the booze, the liver can’t produce enough glutathione, a compound that contains the amino acid L-cysteine, to combat it.  Cysteine breaks down acetaldehyde into water and carbon dioxide, which is then flushed out of the body as urine.

While nothing has been shown scientifically to “cure” a hangover, Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief medical editor, offered these tips to help nurse the pain:

  • Drink plenty of water.  Alcohol is quite dehydrating.
  • If you have a headache, take aspirin or ibuprofen the next morning, not acetaminophen (Tylenol).  Acetaminophen is processed by your liver that has just taken a hit from your overdrinking.
  • Go to bed.  Most hangovers are over after eight to 24 hours.

Other suggestions from past contributors to ABC News include how to avoid a hangover while still slugging back the brewskies, and what to do if the hangover arrives anyway:

While You’re Boozing:

1. Sip Slowly

If you drink your alcohol slowly instead of guzzling it down, doctors say it helps give the stomach a fighting chance to absorb the toxins so your body isn’t assaulted with booze.

2. Eat Fatty Foods

Food products with a lot of fat in them, such as chips, can help slow down the absorption of alcohol.

3. Avoid Carbonated Drinks

Doctors say carbonation can increase the absorption of alcohol, so put down the rum and Coke.

The Morning After:

1. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

Time will heal all wounds.

2. Flush Your System

When you are dehydrated, your body is depleted of potassium and sodium, which is why you have that achy “hit by a dump truck” feeling the next morning.  Doctors say try to replenish your body with lots of fluids.  Drink water or drinks that are heavy in electrolytes, such as sports drinks or coconut water.

3. Be Leery of Caffeine

Caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic, which can further dehydrate your body after drinking, making the headache much worse, so doctors recommend extra water if you’re going to reach for a cup of coffee, tea or an energy drink.

But people who regularly drink minimal amounts of caffeine might find it helps soothe their headache.  While the causes of a hangover aren’t completely understood, a leading theory for the pounding headache is that alcohol dilates blood vessels in the brain and caffeine constricts the blood vessels, which might bring relief to some people.

4. Avoid the ‘Hair of the Dog’

While that Bloody Mary or extra pint of beer with breakfast the next morning sounds like a rallying move, doctors say more alcohol means more dehydration, meaning more hangover hurting.  Even if you don’t feel the pain now, you will later.

5. Have a Snack

According to the Mayo Clinic, bland foods, such as toast and crackers, can help boost blood sugar and settle your stomach.  Eating chicken noodle or bouillon soups, which are loaded with sodium and potassium, can help make you feel better.

Foods and drinks that contain fructose, such as honey, apples, berries or fruit juice, as well as vitamin C and B can also help burn off alcohol.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Experts Weigh in on How to Prevent a Hangover

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Maybe you overdid it New Year's Eve, and maybe this advice is too late for you, but here are some tips to avoid a hangover.

There's really only one thing that helps: water. Experts suggest you drink water while you're drinking alcohol to prevent a nasty hangover.

Jamie Hirsch of Consumer Reports suggests alternating a glass of alcohol with a glass of water or seltzer.

As for potions and powders that claim to cure, they're probably not the best idea since there is no conclusive evidence any of them work!

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Can You Cure a Hangover?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ringing in the New Year with too much bubbly might lead to a rough start to 2012.  But a new wave of hangover-fighting pills and patches, plus a handful of old standbys, claim to spare you the headache, fatigue and upset stomach brought on by booze.

The latest concoction, “Blowfish,” combines aspirin, caffeine and an antacid into an Alka-Seltzer-like effervescent tablet.  When dropped into a glass of water, it fizzes up a lemony brew that packs the hangover-fighting power of two extra-strength aspirins, three espressos and a greasy breakfast.

“It’s the only over-the-counter drug that’s specifically hangover-related,” Blowfish creator Brenna Haysom told ABC News. “The [Food and Drug Administration] has specifically said our formula is effective for treating hangover symptoms.”

A hangover is a collection of symptoms that emerge as alcohol’s intoxicating effects wear off.  Alcohol is thought to trigger an inflammatory response -- a process blocked by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.  The inflammatory response is similar to the body’s defense against the flu, and is linked to lethargy -- an energy lull boosted by caffeine.  Finally, the chemicals produced by the body to break alcohol down are hard on the stomach -- collateral damage tempered by an antacid.

Aspirin and caffeine are already FDA-approved, so Blowfish can be sold over-the-counter without being itself FDA-approved.

Because hangovers are so poorly understood, the jury’s still out on how best to treat them.  And it’s unclear whether Blowfish, which contains acetylsalicylic acid and citric acid at doses likely to cancel out its stomach-soothing effects, is better than the age-old hangover remedy: aspirin and a cup of coffee.

“Almost no research at all has been done on the hangover state,” said Dr. Timothy Collins, associate professor of medicine and neurology at Duke University Medical Center’s Pain and Palliative Care Clinic.  “Without any clinical trial data, it’s hard to really talk about how well any treatment’s going to work.”

Personal anecdotes, however, support Blowfish and a host of other hangover remedies -- from banana smoothies to pickle juice -- in preventing or at least minimizing hangovers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thanksgiving Food Truths and Myths We Just Can't Shake

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Will your Thanksgiving turkey put you to sleep?  Can the stuffing give you salmonella poisoning?

Here's the straight story on health myths and facts surrounding your Thanksgiving feast:

Turkey Dinner Makes You Sleepy

Turkey does contain a protein called tryptophan which can act like a natural sedative.  But a large amount -- meaning more than just a few slices of turkey -- would have to be consumed alone on an empty stomach to make you feel sleepy.

"A more likely scenario is the huge number of calories that people consume rather than the turkey meat," said Dr. Lou Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

A large number of calories consumed from the whole meal produce intestinal hormones which can make you sleepy, said Aronne.

Canned Foods Contain Cancer Causing BPA

A recent report released by the Breast Cancer fund suggests that canned foods may contain traces of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in the lining of cans, which has been implicated as a potential carcinogen.  Still, many experts said that not all cans contain BPA, and the levels in the cans that do have it are too small to ruin your Thanksgiving meal.

"There are more anti-cancer properties in having vegetables than not eating because of the can," said Aronne.

Drinking More Can Cure that Holiday Hangover

"Most hangover cures are by and large not effective besides sleeping and hydrating with water," said Arrone.

Drinking more will only help you get drunk again, which is only a temporary cure for what's sure to be a stronger hangover, he said.  Worse, drinking alcohol to cure a hangover could lead to more dehydration, which can lead to serious health problems.

Holiday Desserts Can Cause Acne

Acne is due to hormone changes in the body and not by consuming sweet or fried food, experts said.

"The problem is that high-fat finger foods gets greasy and you put those fingers up to your face," said Keith Ayoob, Director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.  "If you don't wash carefully and often, this may clog pores."

Salmonella from Turkey Stuffing

Stuffing a turkey while raw or not fully cooked can contaminate the stuffing with bacteria like salmonella.  Heat can kill some of the bacteria, but because the stuffing is hidden inside the turkey, some of it may not reach the 160 degrees needed to kill off the bacteria.

"If it does reach that temperature then the bird could be overdone," said Ayoob.

While the salmonella risk can be staved off if the stuffing is warm when added to the turkey, you may end up having another problem on your hands.

"But all the turkey fat drips into the stuffing," said Ayoob.  "Do we really need another source of fat in a Thanksgiving meal side dish?"

Cook the stuffing and turkey separately, marry them later, and the problem will be solved, he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ring in the New Year with Cheer, Not a Hangover

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Most people who consume alcohol have had a hangover at least once in their lives.  And some of those people raising their glasses on New Year's Eve may be clutching their heads and bellies on Jan. 1.

Key symptoms of a hangover include a usually throbbing headache, nausea, diarrhea, excessive fatigue, and extreme thirst and dehydration.  The liver breaks down alcohol into a byproduct called acetaldehyde, which is more toxic to the body than the alcohol itself, and is the reason for the post-drinking side effects.

But, as many people have noticed, every person reacts differently to alcohol.  Some people have a few sips of alcohol and feel terrible the next day, while others can consume drink after drink into the wee hours of the morning and feel great.

That's because it's not just the amount of alcohol that goes into the body that influences the hangover.  Age, genetics, medications, diet, immune systems, weight, and gender all can come into play.

If you want to avoid a hangover, doctors say, don't drink.  But, if the booze already is flowing, here are a few things drinkers can do to help make the morning after more tolerable:

-- Drink slowly and eat foods high in fat to help slow the absorption of alcohol.

-- Avoid carbonation, which can increase the absorption of alcohol.

-- Drink water or juice in between drinks.

If the hangover has already arrived, doctors advise people to sleep it off.  Otherwise, doctors say to replenish the body by drinking a lot of fluids and be sure to eat fructose-containing foods like tomatoes, oranges, honey, and bananas.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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