With the weather warming up and many of us are going to outside events, it’s possible that you may experience a hangover if you’re drinking too much. Generally, the more you weigh, the more you can drink without getting a hangover. Also, if you drink regularly, your production of the enzymes that metabolize alcohol increases and so does your tolerance.
This doesn’t mean that consuming high quantities of alcohol is good for you—it simply means that if you don’t drink regularly, you’re more likely to feel ill effects from those occasional nights on the town, as unfair as that seems.
When you drink, the alcohol is metabolized in your liver. There, it forms toxic byproducts, which then circulate through the body, causing the pain that you feel as a hangover. The kidneys filter these waste products of alcohol out of the blood, but they must remove water while they’re doing it. That causes dehydration, one of the major hangover symptoms.
Your body also uses many vitamins and nutrients to break down alcohol, especially the B vitamins. This results in a slight state of malnutrition that can worsen if your occasions for indulging occur every weekend—a good reason to make extra sure to take your vitamins during or before partying. Eating lots of sugar can make a hangover worse, as can mixing different types of alcohol; both of these actions make the liver work harder.
Generally speaking, light-colored alcoholic beverages, such as white wine or vodka, are less likely to produce a hangover than, say, red wine or scotch.
If you are planning a night out or a celebration where you know you will be drinking:
- Eat a well-balanced wholesome meal beforehand
- Make sure you drink plenty of water
- After the celebration, drink a large glass of water before going to bed
- Take a B-complex supplement that supplies at least 50 milligrams of niacin
- Take a liquid bitters preparation (look for products that contain dandelion, gentian, mugwort or Angostura bitters) in water with a little honey. (This may lessen the pain of the hangover you’ll feel the next day).