(Image credit: www.ccvresources.com)
Your Hangover-Proof Game Plan
Yup, hangovers suck. People find a lot of reasons to argue with me about hangovers. But I've never had anyone tell me that they actually enjoy the dreaded hangover. So, what exactly is a hangover?
If you ask 10 people, you'll get 15 different answers, all of which are generally lacking. The fact of the matter is that most people really don't know. Even medical professionals fall short on the subject because the science of hangovers has not been studied as thoroughly as it should be, especially considering the undeniable truth that people love drinking alcohol.
The negative after effects of drinking involve a number of physiological factors including dehydration, inflammation, poor sleep, irregular blood sugar and toxins from alcohol. Oddly enough, most people single-handedly attribute the suffering to dehydration. While dehydration is a factor, it is only a minor one; and it's one of the easiest ones to fix. Yet almost nobody gets it right.
1. Hydrate Before During and After
Pedialyte and sports drinks are not miracle beverages. The best way to hydrate is plain old H2O water. And don't forget that healthy food is also a great source of the water, vitamins and minerals needed to recover from dehydration. A beverage with added electrolyte minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous) can also be helpful before bed and upon waking the next morning. We like Ultima, which is a sugar-free natural powder stick that you can mix with water to help replace the electrolytes.
2. A Pre-Game Meal
There's a reason why it's a tradition in the Mediterranean to chug a shot of olive oil before going out drinking. Gross as it may sound, the healthy fats slow down alcohol absorption, giving your liver more time to cope.
Think of this pre-game meal as a chance to load up on healthy fats, greens, veggies and other detoxifying nutrients. I highly recommend a steak salad with spinach, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, avocado, hard-boiled egg, tomato and carrots. Avocado in particular packs a punch with a lot of potassium, B vitamins, healthy fats and detoxifying nutrients like L-Glutathione (the body's "Master Antioxidant").
Also, consider a multi-vitamin and/or B complex to make sure your body is pre-loaded with all the things it needs to detox as quickly as possible. Snacking on carbs also seems to help a lot too.
3. Choose Drinks Wisely
Any alcoholic drink can give you a hangover. Particularly darker spirits like whiskey, rum and red wine. Congeners like methanol from darker choices put extra stress on your liver and increase your chances of feeling under the weather tomorrow. Stick to vodka, gin and/or light spirits.
Avoid excess sugars, which make hangovers worse for a number of reasons, including messing up blood sugar levels and increasing inflammation. Wine in general seems to be problematic for many, which could be attributed to the sugar levels, sulfites, tanins and nitrites. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that you know makes you feel bad. For example, I can drink whiskey all night long with no problems; meanwhile one glass of champagne often gives me a pounding headache before it's even gone. We all have our cryptonite, so be smart and avoid yours.
Stick to one or two kinds of drinks per night. If you started with vodka, stick with it. Or downshift to a light beer for the rest of the night. Some really bad hangovers can come from starting with red wine, jumping to tequila and then changing yet again to IPA. The worst transition you can make is from beer to liquor. That old adage is spot on. The carbonation from the beer causes the hard stuff to intoxicate you much faster. Liquor before beer and you're in the clear.
4. Flame Off
If anything hurts, it will always hurt more after a night out drinking. All pain in the human body is related to an inflammatory response. Alcohol exasperates that inflammation. Many folks recommend taking an NSAID painkiller before bed. While this can be highly effective, you should also be careful. Never take acetaminophen (Tylenol) because it puts increased stress on your liver. In fact, all of the OTC painkillers can be problematic. You have to decide for yourself what's right for your body. All-natural herbal anti-inflammatories can also be a great option. Some examples include ginger extract, turmeric, boswellia, white willow bark and omega-3. Take with a light meal or snack before bed and again upon waking as needed.
5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Aldehyde
Of all the factors mentioned above, managing the toxic overload on the liver is the most challenging. Specifically, the "Hangover Toxin" Acetaldehyde is the primary toxin from drinking ethanol (beer, wine and/or spirits is all ethanol when it hits the liver). Side effects of Acetaldehyde toxicity include nausea, headache, vomiting and death in the most extreme of circumstances.
Ding, ding ding! If that sounds a lot like the symptoms of a hangover, that's because it is. Ever wondered why it takes so long to feel better when you have a crushing hangover...? Acetaldehyde is the reason. Unfortunately our livers only have a limited amount of the enzymes needed to break down this toxin. So, we suffer until our body can make enough of these important co-factors to eliminate all of the toxin.
If only there were all-natural substances that help to speed up liver function, so that we can get rid of the nasty aldehydes as we go and wake up feeling better the next morning.
Good news! Products containing a clinical dosage of Japanese Raisin Extract have been proven to do just that. This Traditional Chinese Medicinal herb contains a compound known as DHM, which is proven to be safe and effective for helping the body increase the number and/or activity of the specific liver enzymes that break down the toxins from alcohol.
Intox-Detox contains the exact amount of Japanese Raisin proven effective in some very impressive research studies. In addition, it contains Setria L-Glutathione, which is a source of the Master Antioxidant needed to help neutralize Acetaldehyde and protect the body from damage. Support ingredients Green Tea and Panax Ginseng provide more antioxidants to help Detox, Recover and Protect from the damaging effects of alcohol.
Review of the Hangover-Free Game Plan
1. Hydrate before, during and after, replacing electrolytes when possible with healthy food and hydration formulas like Ultima.
2. Pre-game with a meal loaded with natural detoxifiers, B vitamins, electrolytes and healthy fats.
3. Stick to one kind of drink for the night (or 2 at most). Lighter drinks are better. Liquor before beer. Avoid your "cryptonite".
4. Battle inflammation with OTC pain meds or natural herbal solutions.
5. Take Japanese Raisin and Setria L-Glutathione in the clinically studies dosages. The market has become flooded with these products, however few of them use the correct dosage like Intox-Detox has been doing for almost 5 years.
Bonus tip: Take 1 pack of Intox-Detox for every 4 to 6 drinks or 4 to 6 hours, whichever comes first.
No one is recommending binge-drinking or having a marathon session. However, open-bar weddings and all-inclusive Mexican beach vacations happen.
Remember to drink responsibly and always get a sober ride.