What are the available solutions to help you get over a hangover fast? What are the best quick cures & fixes? How effective are natural home remedies such as milk thistle, banana, hair of the dog, water, coffee, sprite, coke and green tea? Read on to find out. In addition, find tips on how not to get a hangover and other prevention measures
Why get over a Hangover? Possible Side Effects Brain & Body
- Why get over a Hangover? Possible Side Effects Brain & Body
- How to get over, Rid, Fix or Stop a Hangover-Home Remedies for Hangovers
- Natural Cures for Hangover-Milk Thistle & Other Herbal Remedies
- Green Tea Hangover Remedy
- Ginger Ale for Hangover
- Raw Garlic for Hangover
- Turmeric (Ukon No Chikara ) Hangover Cure
- Red Ginseng
- Hair of the Dog that bit you Hangover Fix
- Sprite, Coke & Coffee Hangover Remedies
- Exercise Hangover-Does working out cure a Hangover?
- Sleep Hangover Cure-Can Sleep help you get over a Hangover?
- The Best cure for Hangover-Fast, Quick & Instant Remedy
- How not get a Hangover-Tips to prevent/avoid a Hangover
There are number of good reasons as to why you would want to get over a hangover. In fact, the reasons are tied to bad effects which include;
- Upset stomach,
- Poor Sleep
- Low Blood Sugar
So how will getting rid of a hangover help?
Getting over a Hangover will help Low blood sugar
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 1994, alcohol alters the metabolic state of the liver. The liver is physiologically responsible for the regulation of blood sugar. Since alcohol leads to a fatty liver, glucose synthesis is inhibited. Hypoglycemia in most occasions follows drinking heavily without having observed proper diet in the past few hours or days. Hypoglycemia itself causes symptoms resembling that of diabetics.
Circadian rhythm disturbance- Getting over a Hangover will improve Sleep
Alcohol has dual effects on the brain function. It has both sedating and stimulatory effects depending on the extent of drinking. During the first few hours of drinking, it is stimulatory, due to the triggered release of dopamine which is a ‘happy hormone’. However, with continued drinking, it causes stimulation of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) which is a central nervous system neuro-inhibitor. This causes sedation. Sleep patter is disrupted when the dopamine neurons fire again after sedation. Hormones balance themselves out to an equilibrium. There is normally rebound excitation when the BAC falls. Insomnia kicks in. alcohol also interferes with the regulation of cortisol the stress hormone that interferes with the circadian rhythm. (Gauvin et al. 1997)[i]
Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
Alcohol acts as a diuretic promoting excessive urination. This, it does, by inhibiting the antidiuretic hormone. This hormone is released from the pituitary gland in the mid-brain and is released for its reabsorption stimulation. Reabsorption of water and other electrolytes preserves water and prevents dehydration. During the drinking spree when the BAC is at its peak, frequent urination will occur but with decrease in BAC, the hormone increases to its normal. 20% w/v alcohol causes elimination of 600 to 1000 mL of water in a few hours. (Eisenhofer et al. 1985)[ii].
How to get over, Rid, Fix or Stop a Hangover-Home Remedies for Hangovers
Read on to find how hangover remedies such banana smoothie, drinking water, tomato juice, honey, yogurt and sleeping will help.
How to fix a Hangover with Banana Hangover Smoothie Recipe
Bananas will help greatly with your digestion. They contain various principle components such as fiber with a whole 3 grams of total fiber in them. Its unique fiber, pectin, enables formation of solid poop and diarrhea reduced. In aspect digestion, bananas act as prokinetics speeding the rate of digestion. They regulate the digestion of carbohydrates to simple sugars that are well absorbed into circulation. Its sugar content will be helpful in a hangover mood with it acting to refuel the body and tackle fatigue and muscle pains due to cramps. Another carbohydrate in bananas is fructose-containing and is however not broken down along the gut. This is the fructooligosaccharides (FOS). It moves along the gut into the intestines where they are metabolized by bacteria. This is a process of correcting a case of dysbiosis whereby you have an imbalance of ‘good’ bacteria. One such, Bifidobacteria is well balanced.
A study that confirmed the significance of bananas on this strain of bacteria involved female subjects eating two bananas daily for two months. The result showed that there was reduced gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea.
Bananas also contain potassium that replenishes lost potassium through diarrhea and vomiting. This also reduces the tremors experienced
So how do you make a banana smoothie?
You’ll need 2 whole bananas, 3 cups of ice and 1 cup of milk or yoghurt. With these ingredient ready, pour them into a blender with the ice last. Blend for about 30 – 60 seconds on high speed until you have a thick smoothie.
Is Water a Quick Hangover Cure Drink?
Is water a fast hangover home remedy? Does it work? What do studies/experts say?
Alcohol causes the body to increase urinary output (i.e., it is a diuretic). The consumption of 50 g of alcohol in 250 milliliters (mL) of water (i.e. approximately 4 drinks) causes the elimination of 600 to 1,000 mL (or up to 1 quart) of water over several hours (Montastruc 1986).
Alcohol promotes urine production by inhibiting the release of a hormone (i.e., antidiuretic hormone, or vasopressin) from the pituitary gland. In turn, reduced levels of antidiuretic hormone prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing (i.e., conserving) water and thereby increase urine production. Additional mechanisms must be at work to increase urine production, however, because antidiuretic hormone levels increase as BAC levels decline to zero during hangover (Eisenhofer et al. 1985). Sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea also commonly occur during a hangover, and these conditions can result in additional fluid loss and electrolyte imbalances. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include thirst, weakness, dryness of mucous membranes, dizziness, and lightheadedness— all commonly observed during a hangover.
Tomato juice hangover Cure-Does it work?
It is interesting to learn about the debunked ‘toxicity’ of this member of the nightshade family. This fruit, for a long time, was thought to cause appendicitis and brain fever not mentioning cancer. People however found that it has the opposite effect. Until the 1800s, tomatoes were not eaten and would have remained so if it were not for a gentleman, Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson. He displayed an admirable level of courage to demonstrate that this was not so in 1820 September 26.
Now tomatoes are thought to be a very effective remedy in hangover. In fact, according to a study done by the companies of Asahi and Kagome in Asia, tomato juice was discovered to be more effective than water. Subjects were examined drinking 100 mL of alcohol then with 480 mL of tomato juice. A repeat was done with a follow-up of 48 mL of water. The results found that with tomato juice, the blood alcohol concentration was 3 times lower than in subjects who took water. In addition, the subjects who took tomato juice became sober 50 minutes earlier.
Wondering how this happens?
- Tomatoes contain lycopene which is a vital anti-oxidant. It helps fight reactive oxygen species produced from damaged cells upon high consumption of alcohol. It flashes out free radicals too reducing oxidative stress and inflammation promoting cell healing instead[iii].
- Tomatoes detoxify the body. The presence of chlorine and sulfur in their red richness may be the reason. Tomatoes contain 51 mg of chlorine and 11 mg of sulfur and according to physicochemical properties of each of these elements, chlorine stimulates the liver to detoxify the body. The liver is further protected from occurrence of cirrhosis meaning that weeks of drinking alcohol will not have as much adverse effects on your liver as expected. Hangovers thereafter, will not be that bad.
- Tomatoes are also good for dyspepsia and diarrhea.
- Vitamin C is also present in tomatoes and is an anti-oxidant. It has also been implicated in the proper functioning of the brain with it influence on the production of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine. This neurotransmitter is one whose deficiency causes depression hence hangover depression will be combatted.
Honey Hangover Remedy
Honey is a super food that is widely recognized for its vast nutritional content. These nutrients are beneficial to your health and moreso when you are lacking some such as happens in a hangover. It is supersaturated with sugar and approximately 17.1% water. The predominant sugar in honey is fructose 38.5% then glucose comes second with 31.0%. This simple sugars may polymerized into oligosaccharides and gives chance to the formation of fructooligosaccharides (FOS).
FOS helps in digestion and balance of Bifidobacteria as seen in bananas. Besides these, honey has both enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, catalase and ascorbic acid. These aim to reduce oxidative stress caused by alcohol in the body systems[iv]. Fructose is osmotically active and will help correct imbalance in osmotic pressure in various body fluid compartments as seen in hypoglycemic symptom of hangovers.
So how do you use honey to fix a hangover?
Take 2-6 teaspoonful of honey when you wake up. Do this for every 30 minutes while taking a self-check on the progress of your recovery. If you will take breakfast, have another 4 teaspoons.
Is yogurt good for a hangover?
Understanding what yoghurt contains will be essential for the understanding of the positive effect it has on a hangover feel. Yoghurt is simply cultured milk prepared by adding Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The cultured bacteria aid in the coagulation of the protein in milk by producing lactic acid. The lactic acid also add to its characteristic sour flavor. These strain of bacteria in yoghurt are responsible for its probiotic use in treating gastrointestinal disturbances. These include alcohol-induced diarrhea that is caused by an imbalance of the ‘good’ bacteria in the lower intestines.
Being a component of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, it corrects high blood pressure apart from reducing its prevalence.
With differences in various types of yoghurt, you may find some with high vitamin content which are beneficial in tackling hangover symptoms. It all depends on the method of preparation of yoghurt. Some of the commonest vitamins in yoghurt is vitamin B especially riboflavin and thiamin. With riboflavin being necessary for the release of energy from foods, it may help in hypoglycemic episodes of hangover. It is also essential for the maintenance of integrity of membranes in the body including the membrane in the gut; the mucosa membrane.
In detail, a 150g serving of whole milk plain yoghurt will provide 31% of an adult’s daily riboflavin
Natural Cures for Hangover-Milk Thistle & Other Herbal Remedies
Milk Thistle Hangover Remedy-Tablets, Pill & Extract
Milk thistle is a renowned and popular remedy for a hangover. It has rich history with it being cytoprotective to the liver cells.
For over 2000 years, Silibum marianum, the milk thistle, has been an important component of many people’s diet. Although it has been used as food longer, it is also known for its medicinal significance.
Milk thistle can be taken in varied forms such as tablets. It is advisable that you take the milk thistle tablets before and after a night of drinking. It is indicated as a cure for hangover by the Schwabepharma.
According to Jane Clarke, a nutritionist she says that she takes a 350 mg before going to bed and another 350 mg in the morning[v].
The form in which milk thistle can also be taken is determined by the setting. For instance, in cultural and traditional settings, you may not be looking at the conventional dosage forms. When considering the use of herbal supplements, you will need to consult a health care professional who has had training in the field of herbal medicine. In the traditional settings, you are likely to find decoctions or concoctions prepared from the crude milk thistle plant and dosages in form of tinctures.
The oral form of milk thistle has been standardized to 70% – 80% silymarin and 420 mg per day of divided doses. Milk thistle of this dosage is considered safe for 41 months if you drank every night and therefore forced to have it daily. This is based on clinical data. However, make sure that if it milk thistle you want to take, follow the instructions as provided on the label. Take the tablets with plenty of water.
If you have any dosage form other than tablets, use a measuring apparatus as stated such as the required size of spoon and cup or a syringe. This will ensure that you have taken the correct dose.
It is also interesting to note that some dosage forms can be brewed in tea for drinking.
Though there are many forms of milk thistle that you can choose, take care not to mix different dosage forms. Do not go for a tincture then swallow a pill of milk thistle. It is advisable to take conventional and traditional medications on their own and not making a cocktail of them. Having such a mix can result in an overdose of milk thistle. You really don’t want this, do you?
Does it work? What does Dr Oz and science say about it?
There isn’t quite extensive clinical data on milk thistle but studies suggest that there are significant medicinal applications of milk thistle in hangovers. These studies have focused on silymarin which is its flavonoid extract. This compound is important in the treatment of alcohol-induced hepatitis. In hangover, silymarin protects hepatic cells from destruction. This happens through its antioxidant activity, toxin blockade, antifibrotic activity, anti-inflammatory effect and its promotion of protein synthesis.
In two trials with alcoholic and non-alcoholic cirrhosis, milk thistle elicited a trend of improved survival in one trial. This further proves its hepatoprotective activity. Protecting these cells enables the liver to function properly without exertion of oxidative stress imposed on them.
Milk thistle boosts appetite and helps digestion.
There may exist studies done on the potential of milk thistle but due to diversity and heterogeneity in etiology, duration of therapy and variability in formulation, the clinical efficiency cannot be clearly established. (C. Mulrow and colleagues)[vi]
Benefits of using milk thistle to get over a hangover
The use of milk thistle is important for your liver. Since you will be needing a revamped function of the liver, you will need to rejuvenate it. You need to take a food, drink of medication that will boost the function of the liver. Silymarin in milk thistle helps in doing this and comes with benefits such as:
- Proper function of the liver
- Increased blood glucose level
- Reduced muscle cramping
- Relieved fatigue
- Improved mental alertness
- Reduced dizziness and confusion
What is the dosage?
Take 140 mg of silymarin as in Livergol® taken orally three times daily for antioxidant effects.
Take 160 – 800 mg of silymarin as in Legalon® in three divided doses. This helps prevent liver damage.
Hangovers do not call long dosages of these drugs and they can be taken for a shorter duration. This is because when you are in a hangover, you are experiencing a short-lived alcohol toxicity.
Green Tea Hangover Remedy
Studies have shown that green tea is great for your liver by preventing its damage. In one such study, rats were intoxicated with alcohol for a period of 4 weeks. Green tea prevented extensive damage to their livers. In yet another study, epigallocatechin gallate, which is an antioxidant was noticed to have cytoprotective activity on the liver. It flashes radicals away from the liver and awakens [vii]it.
In as much as green tea is beneficial in this hard times, it is worth noting that you should avoid taking it immediately after you have had your alcoholic beverages. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, having green tea and alcohol in one seating is nephrotoxic and also causes constipation and even gonadal problems. Therefore, have your green tea the day after.
Ginger Ale for Hangover
Ginger ale is also an ace in fighting hangover. With its active ingredient of gingerol, it relieves you of your digestive complications. This, it does by reducing intestinal spasms that are also a result of alcohol.
Another compound which is clinically recognized, is zingibain. This has antimicrobial properties. It is therefore important for bacteria that scavenge upon your alcohol – induced diminished immunity and the dysbiosis of bacteria in the small intestines.
Ginger ale is also being used to relieve nausea and abdominal pain which too, occur in hangover.
Raw Garlic for Hangover
The reason why chicken soup and eggs work well for hangover is due to their richness in cysteine. Cysteine helps jumpstart the liver by neutralizing the lethal dose of the alcohol metabolite acetaldehyde. This was well demonstrated in rats where cysteine reduced the level of this metabolite (Sprince et al 1974 and Salaspuro 2007). Any of this metabolite that may be left in the body due to a suboptimal liver function that may prolong a hangover, is lowered. Another source of this protein is garlic.
Also quite interesting is the fact that garlic is recognized as one of the earliest ‘performance enhancing’ food used years ago to combat fatigue and enhance laborers’ effectiveness at work. In ancient Greece, it was administered to athletes (Richard S. Rivlin)[viii]
Allicin, one of its compounds too helps in lowered immunity system and will fight off infections of the GIT.
Turmeric (Ukon No Chikara ) Hangover Cure
Turmeric has not been received with much curiosity in the world of hangovers but there are people who use it. It is especially used in preventing hangovers in Japan. It has anti-inflammatory activity and its benefits are imposed on all organs that receive alcohol during its circulation in blood.
Its antioxidant activity and its general support in detoxification also hasten the recovery process of hangover. This could be good for your headache.
According to a study done by the Department of Food and Nutrition, National Research Laboratory of Clinical Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics, Yonsei University, when the plasma metabolite acetaldehyde level increased with a subject having taken red ginseng, there were positive results on the hangover symptoms. It was then concluded that indeed red ginseng has anti-hanogover activity. Especially with regard to the Korean Red Panax ginseng, balance can be restored and body detoxified. The liver function is also boosted.
Hair of the Dog that bit you Hangover Fix
The hair of the dog involves taking a little of the alcohol beverage you took the night before in the morning. People do this to ease their hangover symptoms which they successfully do. However, the big problem is that this method does not provide a long lasting solution to the hangover. Instead, you end up prolonging the time taken for all the alcohol to get eliminated from your body.
Hangover occurs when the Blood Alcohol Concentration is zero and the moment you add some alcohol to your circulatory system, you are doing zero work. In fact the implication of this is there is a chance that your hangover may get even worse.
The hair of the dog makes some biological sense but according to the Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Medicine, the downside is explained. The liver enzymes usually get used to ethanol as the main alcohol then methanol kicks in as a secondary metabolite and a congener of alcoholic beverages.
To add, methanol has a lower affinity for the alcohol liver enzymes and therefore its chance depends on the concentration of the ethanol. When the ethanol reduced in concentration, methanol now binds to the active sites of the enzymes and gets metabolized.
Degradation of methanol to formic acid results in even worse symptoms. If you take a little alcohol, it relieves these symptoms but finally, the methanol will still have its turn. Remember, you will also be increasing the level of methanol again. (G. L. S. Pawan)[ix]
In all forums and other professional medical sites, the hair of the dog technique is highly disputed. It is not recommended as a cure for your hangover.
Sprite, Coke & Coffee Hangover Remedies
Does coffee help Hangovers-How good is it?
Coffee does help with hangover but to a limited extent. It is a drug and too much of it will have negative effects instead. Coffee is a central nervous system stimulant and is therefore good for the improvement of your mental alertness and judgement. The caffeine in coffee is behind this effect. However, coffee is considered a diuretic acting like alcohol but to a lower extent increasing the level of dehydration. You wouldn’t want further dehydration. Have coffee but couple it with water afterwards.
Sprite Hangover Remedy-Does it work?
In a study conducted by Chinese researchers Hua-Bin Li and colleagues at Sun Yat-Sen University, sprite was found to be one of the drinks that can relieve hangover symptoms. During this study, 57 beverages were examined for their potential as anti-hangover drinks. They said that sprite is a drink that can alter the level of alcohol in the body.
Coke Hangover Cure-Does it work?
Coca-cola has 32 mg of caffeine and diet coke had 42 mg of caffeine. Caffeine, as stated earlier, has stimulatory effects on the central nervous system. It will help your mood get off the hangover depression.
Exercise Hangover-Does working out cure a Hangover?
You need to get this fact right. During a workout, you need fuel just like a motor vehicle. You need glucose that will be metabolized to provide energy for your muscles. Otherwise, you will get highly fatigued and wailing from muscle cramps. After a night of binge drinking, you have lost lots of energy in the early stimulated state of drunkenness. Furthermore, your liver will be working in an overdrive to ensure that you get the little energy it produces alongside metabolizing alcohol. When the liver becomes too occupied with alcohol, it experiences a backdrop on glucose production.
It would therefore be further deteriorating to work out in such hypoglycemic times. You risk experiencing more tremors, mental fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure both in the brain and other organs. Some people claim and swear by a 5 mile run in the morning which you should really doubt. Working out has also not been proven as a viable method of dealing with a hangover.
It is advisable to take enough rest and especially have enough sleep. Wont it be therefore contradicting to encourage that you spend enough time in your bed then at the same time whisper that you work out?
Sleep Hangover Cure-Can Sleep help you get over a Hangover?
It is particularly important that you have enough REM sleep. This is a stage of your sleep cycle when you are deep in your sleep. This stage is very essential for your mental and physical well-being and failure to get this stage right in bed will have adverse effects on your alertness and memory.
In 2009, American alongside French researchers showed that sharp wave ripples are produced during the REM sleep and are important for the consolidation of memory. These ripples transfer newly learnt information from a region of the brain called the hippocampus to the neocortex to store it as long-term memory.
It will be quite good if you retained your memory sharp after a night of fun and not the opposite as you are likely to have amnesia-induced depression.
Those who have had a lot to drink and still don’t get enough sleep during a hangover are prone to poor judgement afterwards. You can’t afford to go to work on a brain functioning at below optimal judgement.
Studies have also shown that the mental alertness and performance have a downhill trend in sleep deprived individuals.
The Best cure for Hangover-Fast, Quick & Instant Remedy
Ingredients that make a hangover remedy effective lie upon the following activities;
- Their ability to rehydrate the body
- Anti-inflammatory activity
- Anti-oxidant activity
- Anti-emetic activity
- Cytoprotective ability
- Provide replenishment of lost electrolytes such as potassium
- Corrects hypoglycemia
- Stimulates the central nervous system
If you choose a hangover remedy with components that have the above activities, you will have the best remedy. Ask your doctor or nutritionist to help you with the decision so that when you have a hangover, you have a remedy an arm away.
Their speed of action is determined by various factors such as the target of the drug. For instance, if you want to tackle a GIT problem, an oral medication will help instantly such as Pepto-bismol but this won’t obviously treat your headache. For a headache treatment, the drug has to go through the systemic circulation and hence has to be absorbed in the stomach. Absorption in the GIT is relative depending on the ingredients of the drug and other techniques employed. Blowfish, for instance has a fizzy effect which helps in the absorption of the drug.
Tomato juice seems to target most of the systems affected by alcohol and would be the best of the remedies in this material. It has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, cytoprotective activity on the hepatocytes and detoxifies the body.
How not get a Hangover-Tips to prevent/avoid a Hangover
- Avoid alcohol or if this is not possible, know your limits. Know the ounces or number of bottles that will make you feeling sick for longer than 24 hours.
- Make sure you rehydrate enough before you consume alcohol to increase your total body water. Increased total body water dilutes the alcohol concentration in the body. Have a couple of non-alcoholic drinks in between the alcoholic drinks.
- When you are vomiting or are having diarrhea, treat as early as possible to avoid further dehydration.
- Keep note of the alcoholic beverages that you are intolerant to. Avoid them as much as possible.
- Avoid or have a few dark alcohol beverages. Don’t overdo them. Prefer the lighter ones to the darker.
- Maintain a healthy nutritional status to boost your immunity. This will help prevent infections.
- Avoid alcohol if you are pregnant or are in your menstrual period.
Recommended Further Reading
- What is a hangover? Meaning, Causes, without drinking & Help
- What does a hangover feel like? Signs & Symptoms of a Hangover
- How long do Hangovers last? 2-3 & 4 Day Hangover Symptoms & Causes
- Blowfish, Alka Seltzer, Berocca & Pepto Bismol Reviews, Ingredients & Side Effects-Best Hangover Medicine & Pills
- Best Food for Hangover, Drinks and other good foods for hangover recovery & Relief
- Hangover Headache-Cure & Relief
Sources and References
- [i] GAUVIN, D.V.; CHENG, E.Y.; AND HOLLOWAY, F.A. Biobehavioral correlates. In: Galanter, M., ed. Recent Developments in Alcoholism: Volume 11.
- [ii] EISENHOFER, G.; LAMBIE, D.G.; WHITESIDE, E.A.; AND JOHNSON, R.H. Vasopressin concentrations during alcohol withdrawal. British Journal of Addiction 80(2):195–199, 1985.
- [iii] Periago MJ, Jacob K, Boehm V. Influence of lycopene and vitamin C from tomato juice on biomarker of oxidative stress and inflammation. Br J Nutr 2008; 99:137‐146.
- [iv]Crane, E. 1976. “Honey: A Comprehensive Survey,” Corrected edition. International Bee Research Association/Heinemann, London; Berenbaum, M., Robinson, G. and Unnevehr, L. 1995-1996. Antioxidant properties of Illinois honeys. University of Illinois.
- [v] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
- [vi] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11896/
- [vii] www.amazing-green-tea.com
- [viii] Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY 1002
- [ix] G. L. S. Pawan, Proc. Nutr. Soc. 1973, 32, 15A