This month’s Leadership blog series is brought to you by the NUNM Chapter President, Brittany Long! She takes us through some of the methods available when we have a little bit too much fun. Read below for a comical serving unique to her style.
St. Patrick’s day…the day for some people that means celebrating a piece of their heritage with usually a little too much to drink (on purpose or on accident because you got caught up in all that jigging, who’s to say?). Either way, that next day, or perhaps next two days may have left you feeling a little rough. There are many purported ‘cures’ and ‘remedies’ on the market that tote the wonderful promise of “no hangovers!” so I scoured the net to find the best items that seem to be praised by more than one person to help either prevent or at least soothe even the nastiest of hangovers.
Does anyone actually like to deal with the aftermath of one too many gimlets in one night? No, goodness gracious no, so let’s first talk about how to actually prevent hangovers:
- Make sure you drink LOTS of water with all those alcoholic beverages you’re having, and some even say that alkaline water will help even more as alcohol makes your body more acidic (little bit of a balancing effect anyone?).
- Take at least 200 milligrams of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), 30 minutes before drinking to lessen the effects alcohol may reek on your body. NAC is known to help increase glutathione in your body which can then act against the dreaded acetaldehyde that builds up in your body as a by-product of the breakdown of alcohol.
- Take a B complex – though not proven to help lessen symptoms the idea behind taking a B complex is from the proven effect of alcohol on B vitamins in someone who enjoys drinking just a little too much…we commonly see B vitamin deficiency in alcoholics, so it is therefore assumed part of the hangover problem is from a lack of B vitamins.
- Take 300-500 mg of Vitamin C as it acts as an anti-oxidant and will help reduce the oxidative stress-related load that happens in your liver after a wild and rambunctious night.
- Eat some magnesium rich foods or take a magnesium rich supplement. Some magnesium rich foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, yogurt, dried fruit and dark chocolate. Interestingly enough, a lot of these foods are also high in Vitamins B and C so you can just get the whole gamut by making sure to eat a very well balanced meal before going out drinking.
- Speaking of eating – as your elders in the drinking world have always told you – make sure you eat a meal before you start drinking anything!
In regards to instead, treating hangovers there are many routes we could go – we could go with simple herbs or we could steer away from herbs all together and go more the supplemental process. Herbs that have been purported to heal even the most churning stomach are ginger and peppermint. Both herbs are known to decrease nausea and soothe an upset stomach. If nausea is not usually your problem with a hangover then you can always go more for Turmeric or Milk Thistle. Turmeric is a powerful, and possibly one of the most utilized, anti-oxidant herbal/food supplements we know of and can help decrease the inflammatory aspect that can come with a hangover. Or you could try the Milk Thistle route which helps to decrease inflammation and help support the liver in it’s detoxification process of the breakdown product of alcohol, acetaldehyde.
If a straight-up vitamin, mineral and antioxidant supplement is more your route, the big four to focus on are: N-acetyl cysteine, B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium. Though as was discussed prior, these are the big four to take before drinking, there may still be positive effects associated with them if you are to take them afterwards.
Remember to also stay hydrated during this abysmal time; water or something with electrolytes in it like coconut water may help to also give your body what it needs to get over the worse of the symptoms. And while there are always rumors of eating greasy foods to help “soak up the alcohol” try these foods options instead:
- Bone broths – full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and other goodies, it can soothe your stomach AND supply you with all the building blocks to get your body back.
- Hangover smoothie – ½ cup of chamomile tea, a de-seeded and peeled lemon, 1 apple, 1 banana, ½ an inch of peeled ginger root, ½ teaspoon of slippery elm bark, ½ teaspoon of lavender flowers
- While this may not be the tastiest thing you’ve ever consumed the chamomile and lavender will help calm your over-excited nerves while the lemon, ginger and slippery elm will calm that tumultuous sea that is your digestive tract (the apple and banana, full of goodies as well, will help with the taste!).
If you find that hangovers don’t target your stomach but instead go directly to your head try, instead of aspirin, willow bark. You can purchase it at most health food stores and steep it in water and drink it liberally. And for the love of all that is good, NEVER combine alcohol or a post-alcohol state with acetaminophen! Acetaminophen + acetaldehyde = liver damage: when you combine these two items you produce a product called N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine which is a severe hepatotoxin and can lead to fulminant liver failure. So please – no more acetaminophen and alcohol right? Ok, great.
Interesting enough during this research I also came across something new I had not heard of that can actually help curb the desire to drink and it is called Kudzu root. This root, when consumed before or while drinking alcohol, can actually cause you to have hangover symptoms while you’re drinking! While no one wants to feel crappy during drinking this method may actually help you not drink as much, which means no hangover tomorrow – yay!
While this post may seem a little like “here’s how to party without any side-effects” I hope that what you really got out of it was, “hm, I hate hangovers and while I now have ways to deal with one if I should drink too much, I really just never want to experience one again!” Drinking, while possibly a fun part of post-21 years-old-life, isn’t necessary and unfortunately alcohol is actually a neurotoxin and hepatotoxin (eek!) so practice moderation, if not for your mental well-being then for two of your most important organ’s well-being. And not to play the nagging mom card but, remember, drinking isn’t required at a party or social event and drinking in excess definitely isn’t either, but hopefully these tips are useful so that if an ugly hangover rears its head, you know not only how to cope with the symptoms but how to repair the damage done!
Resources utilized for this blog post include:
Holistic Health Herbalist
Disclaimer: Content of this article is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your medical provider.