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Handling Hangovers Healthily

Handling Hangovers Healthfully


In the course of social drinking, many of us accidentally overstep our limits at some point, to arrive at a pretty unpleasant morning after. The painful feeling of a hangover, however, is an indicator of something that actually happens every time alcohol is consumed, in excess or not. For those who have ever been curious about what exactly is behind hangovers and how they might be alleviated, here is an explanation of them, along with some suggestions for a solution.
The consumption of alcohol carries with it a negative impact on many organs, including the brain (which contributes to the foggy feeling that comes with a hangover) and the liver. Consuming excess alcohol, however, will also damage virtually all the other systems of the body. Alcohol’s dehydrating effect sometimes takes the blame for this—alcohol can trick the body into expelling up to four times the normal amount of fluids, eliminating vitamins and electrolytes in the process.
There is more to the story, however. As alcohol is metabolized by the liver, it transforms toacetaldehyde—a toxic substance of the same family as formaldehyde. While the liver can normally break down smaller quantities of this substance, more than one alcoholic drink per hour is likely to exceed the livers natural capacity. Additional support for the liver can be provided by milk thistle, a naturally occurring botanical extract which can enhance the body’s ability to purge toxins. It has become popular for this very reason in many detoxing-based wellness programs.
Also produced in mass quantities during alcohol metabolism are the dangerous, highly reactive molecules known as free radicals. Perhaps as much as the alcohol itself, these metabolic byproducts can contribute to hangovers through increased inflammation—something like sunburn, but occurring on the inside. Free radical damage, however, can be countered with antioxidants—among these are the vitamins A, C and E. Some botanicals display these properties as well; perhaps the best known among these is green tea.
On that morning after, therefore, the best way to begin a comeback is with rehydration, replenishment of vitamins (especially those with antioxidant potential) and possibly some green tea, which not only offers antioxidant protection but will deliver a mild dose of caffeine—all the better to get moving with. While the caffeine should help to clear mental fogginess as well, those seeking additional support would also benefit from ginkgo biloba, an extract shown to promote focus and attention with additional blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain.
Although we don’t always see these nights coming, it’s worth mentioning that hangovers can be avoided much easier if these same measures are taken ahead of time, as well as after the fact. Having your nights out surrounded with higher levels of antioxidants in the system and a liver that is primed and ready will likely mean less depletion during drinking, and less suffering afterward. In other words, for best results, plan around your party—your body will definitely thank you for it!
This entry was posted in Isotonix, Men's Health, Women's Health and tagged antioxidants, men's health,supplements, women's health.
Posted on March 5, 2012 by Sean Wells