How to create a hangover the natural way
I live a pretty healthy life—most of the time. From time to time I indulge in shenanigans, that can involve moderate to elaborate amounts of alcohol. I pay dearly for a fun night. You see, my alcohol intake is not a weekly thing, so it doesn’t take much for me to suffer the next day. The alcohol intake can happen with friends in a restaurant or at someone’s house, but sometimes the party I attend takes place on the couch, with a bowl of guacamole with tortilla chips, a glass of Chardonnay and Netflix. This is a very special party that sometimes involves crying, dancing and calling friends in different time zones.
Now that the silly season is upon us, I decided to share with you what actually creates that horrible hang-over and how to prevent it.
Why you don’t sleep well after drinking
Alcohol inhibits glutamine, which is a natural stimulant and possibly the reason alcohol makes it easy to fall asleep at first. However, this depletion of glutamine comes back to bite you, because while you are sleeping your body is working overtime to increase the glutamine levels, which will make you wake up more frequently than normal and prevent you from going into a deep sleep. You are tired and drunk but keep waking up—the worst torture!
Rehydration; not just water
We all know that dehydration is part of the hangover, and many of us are wise enough to drink a glass of water with every glass of alcohol. However, alcohol makes the body excrete potassium and retain sodium, and water on its own is not able to correct this imbalance.
Coconut water can provide your body with plenty of electrolytes, especially potassium. You can either bring coconut water to the next party, or alternatively buy electrolyte tablets that can be dissolved in water and sip on this while drinking. Steer clear of sports drinks as most of them contain high amounts of sodium and sugar.
You could also bring a banana (high in potassium) to the party, but I am not sure that’s a good look….
Why you feel miserable the next day
Alcohol is broken down into acetaldehyde in the liver, this has to be broken down into acetate using enzyme acetaldehyde and glutathione. When you drink more than moderate amounts of alcohol, the glutathione is used up and acetaldehyde accumulates. Acetaldehyde is very toxic to the body and causes severe hangover symptoms.
Glutathione as a supplement is effective, especially liposomal glutathione as it is better absorbed. Alternatively, the herb Milk thistle which is known to increase glutathione and improve the liver’s detoxification processes is very effective in reducing the effects of alcohol.
Alcohol depletes your body of B vitamins, which are needed for energy production and act as cofactors in detoxing the alcohol.
Finally, alcohol causes an inflammatory response in the body and with that comes more hangover symptoms. Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory, and I would take this any day over aspirin or ibuprofen.
What to do: Hangover prevention
What to do while drinking:
- Drink electrolytes in the form of coconut water or a dissolvable electrolyte tablet.
- Eat food before and during alcohol consumption. Food slows down the uptake of the alcohol, giving the body time to process the alcohol. Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, but having food in your stomach can reduce the irritation. Fatty foods are great because they line the stomach and slow down the uptake of alcohol even further.
- Avoid the carbonated drinks such as beer and champagne. Carbonation speeds up the absorption of alcohol.
- The darker alcohols tend to cause more havoc so opt for the light ones such as vodka and gin.
- Try to slow down the drinking so your body has time to cope, one alcoholic drink per hour is sensible.
- Stop when you feel affected, have a break— or go home.
- Take B vitamins (multivitamin or a B-complex).
- Take the herb Milk Thistle or liposomal glutathione. I take milk thistle before and during drinking (2-3 tablets per party). Vitamin C can also be very effective as it accelerates your livers ability to detoxify any toxins, including alcohol.
Post-drinking: Before bed
- Drink coconut water before bed or a dissolvable electrolyte tablet
- Take some vitamin C, Milk Thistle or liposomal glutathione
- Take glutamine and turmeric. There are several powders available on the market, that are engineered to help your gut function and most of them contain turmeric and glutamine in combination.
- Avoid coffee and black tea as they are diuretics (promote the production of urine) and can irritate the stomach lining further
- Take your gut health powder containing turmeric and glutamine (Intestamine) on an empty stomach to help heel the stomach lining and increase those nutrients rapidly in your body. Turmeric and glutamine will both help with the hangover
- Eat breakfast. Alcohol causes your blood sugar levels to decrease so having a healthy breakfast will balance your blood sugar levels and provide the nutrients you need for recovery. Your stomach may be irritated from the alcohol so eat something soothing; I like to drink bone broth but if you don’t have that in your freezer, buy the gelatine and add one tablespoon into your smoothie (you won’t taste it). Then add some fruit high in vitamin C, a banana for the potassium and coconut water for electrolytes.
- Eat eggs as they are high in cysteine (will help break
- down acetaldehyde).
- Take a multivitamin high in B vitamins to help metabolise the alcohol effectively.
The supplements you need at hand:
- A multi vitamin/B-complex (Bioceuticals: Activated B complex)
- Liposomal glutathione or Milk Thistle and/or vitamin C (Metagenics: Glutathione powder, Bioceuticals: Ultrapotent-C)
- Gut formula containing turmeric and glutamine (Bioceuticals: Intestamine)
- Coconut water or electrolyte tablet
Come and see us at Health Space Mona Vale for your party supplementation and enjoy the silly season without a hangover while maintaining a healthy body that bounces back quickly.
Pernille Jensen is a Naturopath at Mona Vale Health Space. She specialises in female hormones (menopause, perimenopause, PMS, PCOS, Endometriosis, fertility), Thyroid and metabolic issues, Digestive issues (SIBO, food sensitivities and much more), Autoimmune diseases and prostate problems. Weight loss and detoxing are also very close to her heart. She is approachable and will get you back on track.