How to get rid of a hangover headache? If it weren’t for the increasing severity of symptoms with age, some people would never stop partying. At first, after a drink or two or three, you feel enthusiastic, happy, and relaxed. By the end of the night, you’re three sheets to the wind and having a grand ole’ time. But the next morning, your insides are jittery. You have no energy and a headache that is threatening to crack your skull wide open.
There are some people who don’t have more than 3 alcoholic beverages in one sitting and don’t get drunk but may still experience hangover symptoms. The good news is that there are many natural hangover cures that you can easily try at home. And the hangover cures for these types of headaches are sometimes as strange as the stories that caused them.
What is a Hangover
Hangover is the body’s response to being overloaded with alcohol. The most noticeable symptom is headache. However, other symptoms of a hangover include shaking or trembling, diarrhea, anxiety, and fatigue. Factors that increase your chance of getting a hangover are exerting a lot of energy while drinking. Also, drinking when you should be eating, drinking when you are sleep deprived, and drinking in excess.
What Causes a Hangover
A hangover is caused by three main side effects of drinking in excess: dehydration, acetaldehyde toxin build up, and glutamine rebound.
It’s hard to believe that chugging beer after beer can cause dehydration, but it does. As soon as you begin drinking, the alcohol prohibits your body from producing vasopressin. Vasopressin is a hormone, produced by the pituitary gland, and it allows your body to retain moisture. An example of vasopressin in action is the way it slows down urine product in the bladder when you are thirsty.
Without the production of vasopressin, your body just drains all liquids through your bladder. Also known as breaking the seal, the first time you urinate after a long period of drinking, begins endless trips to the restroom. During this time, your body loses close to four times the amount of alcohol you drink. This is where the dehydration comes from. Your organs begin to take desperate measures, drawing water from your brain, which, in turn, causes shrinkage. This brain shrinkage puts a strain on the membranes connecting the brain and the skull, resulting in a hurricane of a headache.
Acetaldehyde Toxin Build Up
Another way that hangovers come about is acetaldehyde build up. Acetaldehyde is an incredibly toxic substance that your liver produces when you drink. As people, we are equipped enzymes that eat this particular toxin, and others. They go by the names of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione. What happens when you drink in excess is that these two enzymes can’t keep up with the amount of acetaldehyde that is being produced by the liver.
Side effects of acetaldehyde-toxin build up are blurred vision, mental confusion, sweating, breathing difficulty, anxiety, headache, flushed face, nausea, chest pain and vomiting. You may recognize some of these as symptoms of a hangover as well. The number of symptoms and the severity you experience depends on how much alcohol you drink, and how much acetaldehyde buildup is in your body. Not all of these symptoms will arise with every hangover. Even though the acetaldehyde-eating enzymes may be overwhelmed with your drinking habits, they still work to eat the toxins, dampening the more severe symptoms.
Most people are unaware that alcohol is actually a depressant. This comes from the way that alcohol consumption works to suppress the production of glutamine, a natural stimulant. Once you quit drinking for the night, your body goes into overdrive producing glutamine, also known as glutamine rebound. In more extreme cases, the side effects are high blood pressure, shaking, and anxiety. These are also hangover symptoms.
How Long Does a Hangover Last
According to HopkinsMedicine.org, a hangover can persist for up to 72 hours. Most hangovers don’t last this long, but there are factors that can determine how long will the symptoms last. Obviously, the more alcohol you drink, the more acetaldehyde is produced. The more acetaldehyde that’s produced, then the more likely that the acetaldehyde-eating enzymes are overwhelmed resulting in a buildup.
Gender, body weight and ethnicity also play a role in the severity of the hangover. Typically, it takes more alcohol for men to experience a hangover, 5-8 beverages on average. For average women, this number is 3-5. A lower body weight is also going to affect how severe the hangover symptoms are.
How to get rid of a hangover headache fast and naturally
Everything from weird food combinations to unlikely liquid combinations are fair game when you want to know how to get rid of a hangover headache. The headache, nausea, and the trembling body aches are waiting for you. Some people suggest drinking pickle juice. It doesn’t sound very thirst quenching, but it does have a lot of the salty electrolytes that your body craves when you have a hangover. Here are a list of hangover remedies you can try to relieve the symptoms.
1. Burnt Toast
The carbon in the burnt parts of the bread helps to filter out impurities. For instance, when someone gets alcohol poisoning, as in their toxin-eating enzymes can no longer keep up with the production of toxins, they are taken to a hospital. There, the patient’s stomach is loaded with a potent carbon filled solution. In the same way that activated carbon is used for filtering water, the carbon in the stomach holds onto the impurities, filtering out the toxins and giving the body a chance to catch up.
2. Eat Bland Foods
Foods like toast and crackers are bland enough foods that won’t worsen any side effects while offering carbohydrates. This is exactly what the body needs after a night of drinking, your body is low in blood sugar. This accounts for the lethargy that comes with a hangover. The carbs are converted into sugar, helping to give your body a nice little boost.
3. Bouillon Soup
It can be vegetable, beef, or chicken soup. The important thing is that it contains salt and potassium which your body is seriously lacking in. The soup has many other nutrients that your body could use as well. Eating this soup alongside a sports drink will help replace those nutrients and get you feeling better faster.
4. Foods and Drinks containing Fructose
They may help stabilize your body and reduce the shaking and trembling due to low blood sugar. Eating carbohydrates will also help because the body breaks them down into sugar for the body to use. Your body may be operating in the negative zone the morning after a night of hard drinking, so you may try antacids for your upset stomach before you go loading it with pancakes and other sweets or carbs.
5. Bacon Sandwich
Food doesn’t do anything in the way of soaking up alcohol that has already been consumed to help prevent hangovers. It’s a common misconception. But, food does kick the digestive system into high gear, speeding up the metabolism. This means that your body is able to process the food, and the alcohol, faster. A bacon sandwich can speed up your metabolism with extra benefits. The bread is all carbs which the body will turn into sugar. This is a good thing, because if you have a hangover, then your body is lacking it. Secondly, the bacon has the protein. Your body will take this protein and turn it into amino acids that will help balance out the body.
6. Chew Ginger
Ginger is a wonder-plant in science. It has significant advantages in the medicinal realm from antimicrobial to fighting ovarian cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, to being anti-inflammatory, to healing frostbite, clearing sinuses, relieving gas, strengthening immunity, and it protects against nuclear radiation. But what benefits the most is ginger’s ability to balance the glucose in the body when you have a hangover.
Try this drink to help stabilize blood sugar. Brew up some ginger tea. Add the juice of 1 fresh squeezed orange and ½ a lemon. Sweeten the tea with honey.
7. Peppermint Tea
It helps with dehydration, and can ease upset stomach and reduce nausea.
It’s no secret that the body does most of its healing while you sleep. But when you have drunk enough alcohol to suffer a hangover, the body doesn’t get adequate sleep. Part of the reason for this is because once you stop drinking, your body resumes the production of a stimulant called glutamine. Since your body is now operating on a deficit, it kicks into high gear over-producing glutamine. So even if you are able to fall asleep or if you have passed out, the sleep you are getting is compromised by the glutamine rebound that your body is experiencing. One of the best things you can do when you wake up is drink lots of fluids, ginger or peppermint tea, water or sports drinks. Eat some food like bananas, eggs and burnt toast. Take a multi-vitamin and go back to sleep.
When you experience a hangover, the body is drained of nutrients that need to be replaced. Bananas are packed with potassium, making them a favorite among athletes and hung-over people everywhere. If bananas are not appealing to you, try making a fruit blend with bananas and adding honey. If you can remember to eat a banana before passing out, start the process in them morning.
Honey is truly a mystery. It has antibacterial properties and soothing properties. And to the benefit of anyone experiencing a hangover, honey is packed with the fructose and potassium.
Asparagus contains amino acids that actually lend a boost how the body breaks down alcohol. By speeding up the cells that actually do the breaking down process, these amino acids can help shield the body from some of the ugly by-products of alcohol. Not only does it relieve a hangover headache but it also helps to shield the liver from toxins.
It’s sweet and it’s caffeine-free. When consumed, sprite has been shown to increase the rate at which the body metabolizes the alcohol. By speeding up this process, the acetaldehyde is processed and removed quicker, shortening the length of your hangover headache.
13. Ginger Ale
Warm and flat, it helps to soothe your stomach. The sugar within the beverage will help to replace some of the blood sugar that your body has lost.
Hydration is key to beating a hangover. When you drink to the point of needing to urinate frequently, the body has already begun siphoning fluids from your body down the drain. Any water you drink prevents the hangover from worsening. But the morning after a night of drinking, staying hydrated will help your body to start functioning normally. Not all fluids are made equal though. Drinking coffee will help you see results from any painkiller medication you’ve taken, but coffee is also a diuretic. Meaning, it increases the urine production in your body. Instead, you might consider energy drinks, teas, and water.
15. Eggs with Salt
Eggs are loaded with protein which is exactly what your body needs. Cysteine is an amino acid, found in eggs, that acts to counter acetaldehyde. So to help you recover, eat a breakfast which includes eggs. The salt helps to replenish what your body lost when it was siphoning out all the fluid as you were drinking the night before.
When made hot, oatmeal contains many of the nutrients your body needs, like calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B. Oatmeal also boosts the blood sugar levels, and can balance the acids in your body, rendering them neutral.
17. Chocolate Milk and Coca Cola
This odd drink is nothing but all fizz, caffeine, fluids, and sugar, but at least it’s cold. Researchers are quick to point out that the fluids only rehydrate the body, but does not contain electrolytes. Experts also point out that while many people claim that the bubbles and the fizz calm their stomachs, there’s no research to support this. They also warn about the amount of sugar contained in the drink. While it can help the body balance out the glucose levels, all the sugar and caffeine isn’t the best route to go. At the end of the day, this concoction simply gives the appearance of improving the hangover symptoms. But maybe the magic of this drink simply eludes research. Many people feel better after this mixture and swear by its use after a night of hard drinking.
How to Prevent a Hangover
Hangovers are not so easily recuperated the older you get with age. Not only that, but the symptoms may worsen with age as well. Now that you know most of the hangover remedies, learn how to prevent one. And the only surefire way to prevent a hangover is not to over-drink or don’t drink at all. But just in case you find yourself on the brink of a night full of mischief, take these precautions to lessen your chances of waking up with a hangover.
18. Eat Before Drinking
Eating food before you start drinking alcohol will help the alcohol reach your bloodstream slower which means that you won’t get drunk as fast. The food absorbs the alcohol and this also helps to protect the lining in your stomach. Eat food like beans, pizza, or greasy food like burgers or chicken, to soak up the most alcohol. The longer it takes you to get drunk, the longer the acetaldehyde-toxin build up takes to poison you, and the longer it takes your body to start draining all liquids to your bladder.
19. Space Out Drinks with Water
Make sure you drink fluids when drinking alcohol. Having a glass of water between drinks will help replenish the fluids that your body loses. It will also give the body a chance to catch up with the production of acetaldehyde-eating enzymes.
Taking multivitamins before passing out for the night will help replenish the vitamins lost while drinking. It’s better to take these at night because the body can get started using them while you sleep.
21. Drink Smart
Not all alcohol is made equal. Dark liquors such as whiskey, bourbon, tequila and red wine, produce more congeners than light colored alcohol during the fermentation process. Congeners are the impurities that can worsen the hangover symptoms. Light colored alcohol includes vodka, rum, gin, and wine. Mixing light colored alcohol with dark liquors, provides for the worst of hangovers because of all the impurities. You can find a congener charter at MichaelRucker.
Also, carbonation leads to nasty hangover symptoms because it allows your blood to absorb more alcohol. For this reason, many people don’t recommend drinking beer first before switching over to hard liquor. Drinking alcohol in this order is setting your body up to absorb much more alcohol in a shorter period of time.
You may have heard it said before, “Beer before liquor, you’ve never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” Well, this age old saying is a warning against drinking carbonation before alcohol high in congeners, but it isn’t limited to beer. Carbonated alcoholic drinks such as rum and coke or whiskey and coke is bound to have the same effects.
Also, on the subject of drinking smart, it was discussed previously that alcohol is a depressant. This is due to the fact that alcohol has a way of shutting down the production of glutamine, your body’s natural stimulant. Avoid drinks such as vodka & red bull, jaeger bombs or any alcohol & an energy drink for that matter. These concoctions have been shown to lead to longer drinking periods of drinking and research has linked them to violence due to increased intoxication.
22. Olive Oil
Olive oil has been involved in medicine for hundreds of years, including Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s not surprising that it even has something to add for hangover headaches. Eating a spoonful or two of olive oil coats the stomach, helping to protect it from the worst of toxin build up and the hangover symptoms. It is believed that the reason olive oil appears to be effective is because it contains fat.
23. Orange Juice
Having a glass of orange juice before bed and in the morning will help the body process the alcohol faster. Other nutrients in orange juice will also help lessen the blow of the hangover.
Again, there is no one definite immediate cure for hangover headaches but there are steps you can take to help yourself recuperate from and prevent their occurrence and at the same time, take care of your own body.