Pastime as Old as Passing Time
Let's face it: Drinking alcohol is fun. People love it. They always have. Forever. Well, at the very least for about 5,000 years. Some of the earliest Sumerian writing ever found contained popular beer recipes from that time. You think Craft Beer is popular now? They didn't have internet, Netflix or any of our modern conveniences. Humans love drinking alcohol. That will never change. There's only one problem...
Hangovers Suck Big Time
As long as there has been alcohol, there has been hangovers. It's literally one of the civilized world's oldest problems. Is it purely human nature that we always tend to linger too long, consume a few drinks too many or wish for just a little more of anything that's good? Maybe. It's also just a matter of science. Our bodies were made to metabolize alcohol, but not every body is created equally when it comes to this feat. And, it goes without saying that our livers were not made for crippling amounts of alcohol.
So, if we are going to find solutions, we have to dig a little deeper into the problem. What is a hangover? How do our livers metabolize alcohol? And what can we do (or take) to help our poor livers do it better, faster and with less damage?
The answers will probably shock you. Fact is that most medical professionals still don't really understand hangovers, their causes or what can be done to help.
What is a Hangover?
The most characteristic thing about a hangover is that it DOES NOT FEEL GOOD. Hangovers are characterized by headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, low energy, blood sugar imbalance and even feelings of depression, regret and remorse. Hangovers are basically just full body internal, external and emotional/psychological pain.
But what are the specific reasons for this? If we have any hope of solving the problem, we have to understand the causes. Then we can help mitigate the negative effects of alcohol to feel better after a few drinks.
Most people think that hangovers are just dehydration, but this view is very flawed. Correlation does not mean causation. Yes, dehydration is a side effect of drinking alcohol, which is a diuretic, meaning that it forces the body to expel more water than it retains. However, dehydration is very mild, easily solved and not the root cause of all the pain and suffering, as you will soon see.
There's a lot more going on with hangovers. The easiest way to take a closer look is to consider a Problem-Solution approach. What are the biggest issues causing the pain, ranked by priority and severity? And what are the obvious and not-so-obvious solutions?
PROBLEM #1- TOXINS: ETHANOL & ACETALDEHYDE
Alcohol is a poison. It's other name is ethanol, a mild poison that is best consumed in moderation. The problem is that "moderation" means different things to different people. And, ethics aside, it's not so easy to prescribe what is the right amount for another person to consume. It's personal. And much more so than you probably know. In fact, studies claim that almost 50% of hangover is determined by your genes. With different genetics, physiology and liver sensitivity, there truly is no one size fits all for responsible alcohol consumption.
Of course, everyone who drinks alcohol should be over the age of 21, they should always get a sober ride and avoid binge drinking at all cost. Aside from that, there is a wide range of what can be considered moderate or responsible. Age, gender, body-weight and overall health are all determining factors. Each person responds differently to the specific toxins from popular alcoholic beverages like liquor, beer and wine. What are those toxins exactly?
Ethanol itself is a mild toxin, as are other irritants like sulfates, sulfites, nitrites, nitrates and other impurities. Some are naturally occurring, while others are added as preservatives or merely form as products of fermentation. In general, cheap booze typically has far more of these additional toxins and irritants.
However, the most prevalent toxin and the #1 root cause of the suffering is alcohol's evil cousin Acetaldehyde, which is said to be as much as 30 times more toxic than the alcohol that you drank in the first place! Acetaldehyde is present in some drinks; it's considered an impurity in beer, but also forms as a natural product of fermentation, especially in fruit-fermented drinks like cider and wine.
The biggest source of Acetaldehyde comes from the liver itself. Et tu, Brute? Yes, your own liver is making the nasty poison that makes you suffer the morning after drinking. To truly understand Acetaldehyde (ALD) for short, you need a very quick lesson in Alcohol Metabolism. Don't worry, it's relatively painless, far more so than the side effects of ALD in the body, which include nausea, headache, vomiting and in extreme cases death. Sounding like a hangover to you yet?
STEP 1: Ethanol + Alcohol Dehydrogenase (ADH) = Acetaldehyde (ALD)
Alcohol/Ethanol is the beer, wine or liquor that you drank. After entering the blood stream and making you feel all warm and fuzzy, it eventually ends up in your liver, which is where all of the action happens. Some alcohol is metabolized in the brain and a few other minor places, but the majority happens in the liver. There, Ethanol meets the liver enzyme Alcohol Dehydrogenase, converting into Acetaldehyde. Think of your liver like a filter for your blood. It removes toxins 24/7 to keep you alive. The filter works by using liver enzymes to turn deadly toxins into safer chemicals that can be removed from the body in the bile as waste products. Essentially, your body is kind of dumb because it takes the mildly toxic Ethanol and turns it into the extremely toxic and nauseating Acetaldehyde. Not cool, Liver. Not cool. However, if it did not do this, you might drop dead from one drink. So keep that in mind.
STEP 2: Acetaldehyde (ALD) + ALDH2 (Aldehyde Dehydrogenase) + Glutathione (GSH) = Acetic Acid
Now we are stuck with Acetaldehyde, a major toxin that roams your body causing damage to your cells and internal organs. It's the main cause of the suffering, resulting in nausea, headache, vomiting and general feelings of awfulness. If you were wondering about the DHM from the diagram, we will get to that soon. There's also the matter of Glutathione or GSH, which is not in the graphic above, but is an important co-factor for metabolizing alcohol. GSH is the blood form of this amino acid and it basically acts like a "Master Antioxidant" to neutralize the damaging effects of the free radical Acetaldehyde. We like to think of Glutathione as a Bouncer, rounding up the bad guys who are ruining the party and dragging them toward the exit. Once in your liver the Acetaldehyde meets up with the liver enzyme Aldehyde Dehydrogenase and it converts into Acetic Acid, which is basically just an inert, harmless vinegar-like substance. It's eliminated from the body or recycled for energy production. For those who argue with me about Acetaldehyde being the root cause of feeling terrible, see the two proofs below.
PROOF 1: ALCOHOL FLUSHING
Many people, especially medical professionals who should know better, believe and perpetuate the misinformation that hangovers are just dehydration. And therefore, a simple IV will alleviate all of the problems. While cleaning out your system and replacing fluids are critical (and help with the toxins to some extent), it does not address all of the leftover Acetaldehyde hanging around your body and causing misery. Individuals who suffer from Alcohol Flushing make a great case study for how toxic Acetaldehyde can be. These folks have a deficient liver enzyme that does not allow them to break down the ALD toxin. Side effects of this vary and can include low alcohol tolerance, headache, mild flushing, vomiting and/or extremely painful hangovers. Since their livers are not breaking down the toxin properly, they basically experience an almost instantaneous hangover. The body attempts to flush out the toxin by other means, since the liver is not an option. Remember that the skin is a detoxifying organ and can eliminate some of the toxic stuff through sweat. Acetaldehyde is so irritating and inflammatory to our cells that it literally makes them turn bright red. The result is that Alcohol Flush sufferers get a rash or a bright red face from just a few drinks. In mild cases, it's just an embarrassing inconvenience, but it also reveals a deeper issue: damage being done to the body's cells, both inside and out. Oddly, even though this is a genetic issue, natural substances containing DHM have shown to be very effective in helping to avoid the problem.
PROOF 2: THE CURIOUS CASE OF ANTABUSE
Sure, the premise of our whole discussion is that "Alcohol can be fun". However, what's not fun is alcoholism and the many health, personal and social problems it can cause. That's why we always recommend drinking in moderation. There are some people that simply cannot do this because of addiction. Our philosophy is that it's important to maintain balance in all things. One treatment for alcoholics is a drug called Antabuse, which is taken to help persuade alcohol addicts to avoid drinking. How does it do this? It literally blocks the ALDH2 liver enzyme, so that when he or she takes a drink it causes an instantaneous and often violent hangover. One pill and the biggest, toughest man or woman will be doubled over in pain and likely severe nausea and vomiting from drinking only a beer or two. It's a brutal treatment, but highly effective. Again, hangovers suck and nobody wants to feel that way. This makes another perfect proof for the theory that Acetaldehye is the primary cause of the suffering. And, it is similar to the Alcohol Flushing example, only here the deficient liver enzyme is being induced by a pharmaceutical intervention.
SOLUTION #1- ENZYMES & LIVER SPECIFIC ANTIOXIDANTS
The mutant freaks who never get hangovers (we all know one or two of them) probably have genes for very strong livers (though they may not feel or notice the damage they are doing to their bodies). They are basically the total opposite of the Alcohol Flushing folks, who have deficient liver enzymes. Yes, those who flush from alcohol are genetically "lily livered". In a perfect world, we would all have plentiful liver enzymes that are super active in breaking down Acetaldehyde to prevent the misery of the next morning.
That's where the DHM comes in. It stands for Dihydromyricetin and there are interesting studies that show it may help fortify liver enzymes to better break down Ethanol into Acetaldehyde and then Acetaldehyde into Acetic Acid. The faster that process occurs, the better you will feel and the less damage will be done to your body.
The plant in the picture is called Japanese Raisin Extract (Hovenia dulcis) and it naturally contains DHM and other potent healthful compounds. Additionally, antioxidants can help battle the free radical damage, which can cause DNA mutation and speed the signs of aging. However, not just any antioxidants will do. We want liver and alcohol-specific antioxidants, such as Glutathione.
Remember that Glutathione is the "Master Antioxidant" that acts as a bouncer for toxins in the body. It helps drag them kicking and screaming to the liver and acts as an important co-factor in alcohol metabolism. Setria L-Glutathione is a natural supplement that may increase Glutathione levels by as much as 30% in the body.
In summary, one of the best solutions is to increase liver enzyme levels, activity and efficiency, which DHM appears to do. A secondary solution is increasing the body's levels of Glutathione to help protect from the damage and remove toxic Acetaldehyde faster.
PROBLEM #2 - INFLAMMATION - LITERALLY A PAIN IN THE ASS
Inflammation in our bodies is literally pain. It's an important part of cell signaling that tells our brain something is wrong. Without this "panic" signal, the brain could not perform many of its important duties. Alcohol causes inflammation (and often pain) in the brain, stomach, intestines and pretty much every cell in the body. In fact, chronic inflammation is associated with almost every major disease known to man.
Not all inflammation is created equally. For example, a minor injury or aches and pains can cause localized inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs work because they help to alleviate the inflammation and pain. However, since inflammation is a signal to the brain that repairs or attention is needed, there is a trade-off. You may put off the pain with these drugs, but you may also slow down the healing process. Other short-term inflammation can be quite beneficial, for example that which is caused by exercise, resulting in muscles repairing themselves to be bigger and stronger.
The inflammation caused by alcohol is an issue, but it's a short-term problem that time, rest and recovery and a few other tricks can knock out pretty quickly.
SOLUTION #2 - ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SUBSTANCES
It's obvious that the most common treatment for inflammation is Over-the-Counter drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and they are highly effective. Many people claim they are very effective when taken before bed, after alcohol consumption. However, they can also cause further damage to critical organs such as the liver. Natural alternatives like Turmeric, Boswellia, Ginger, White Willow Bark and Tart Cherry Extract have potent anti-inflammatory effects with almost zero side effects. Always check with your physician, but they are worth a try. The faster you alleviate the inflammation from alcohol, the better you will feel.
PROBLEM #3 - POOR SLEEP & GLUTAMINE REBOUND
When we enjoy some drinks, we tend to stay up too late. That's one part of the problem, but it's not really the root cause of feeling exhausted the morning after. Have you ever slept 10 or even 12 hours after drinking alcohol, yet you wake up feeling like you barely slept a wink? Then maybe you sleep the rest of the day or take a nap after work and you still can't seem to feel rested. You are not alone; it's very common. And, if we are being honest, you are lucky to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep when you are getting after it with your good friends.
A huge part of the problem is something called Glutamine Rebound, which prevents deep sleep. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that comes from food and is also made in the body. It's considered conditionally essential, but it is very stimulating to the brain. With Glutamine Rebound your body responds to the alcohol by over-producing L-Glutamine, which excites your brain and keeps it from reaching those deeper sleep cycles where most of the rest, recovery and repair happens. That's why no matter how much you sleep, you can't seem to achieve a truly restful state and recovery remains so elusive.
SOLUTION #3 - DHM TO THE RESCUE AGAIN
It's not fully understood why, but DHM from Japanese Raisin Extract seems to positively affect the GABA receptors in your brain to help fight Glutamine Rebound. GABA is another amino acid that acts like a neurotransmitter in the brain. It's a relaxation and sleepy time chemical. And normalizing its balance somehow offsets the Glutamine levels in the brain so that you can achieve deeper and more restful sleep. The more quality sleep you get, the better you will feel tomorrow.
PROBLEM #4 - DEHYDRATION IS A FACTOR
Yes, we downplay dehydration a lot around here, but only because there is so much misinformation surrounding this "problem". The fact is that dehydration can make you feel sick, and some people are far more susceptible than others to its effects. Even mild dehydration can cause a slight headache or nausea. Our bodies are made mostly of water, so it's obvious that replacing lost water is a huge priority.
Our only issue is with those people who say it is the "cause" of hangovers, which is very misleading. Even if you hydrate perfectly, you can still end up very hungover, due to a buildup of toxins, more specifically the "Hangover Toxin" we mentioned called Acetaldehyde. And yes, hydrating well does help remove this toxin, but not nearly as much as the other solutions suggested. Why not do both well?
A small thought experiment reveals the truth. Do you get dehydrated when you spend all day at the beach or go for a jog in the hot summer sun? The answer is clearly "Yes". Do you feel hungover? No. Anyone who has had a bad hangover knows that there's no other feeling quite like it. In fact, if you feel that sick due to dehydration, you should probably see a doctor or take extreme measures because you are most likely dealing with heat stroke or severe dehydration, both of which can lead to death.
Alcohol usually causes only mild dehydration, which is a very easy problem to remedy.
SOLUTION #4 - WATER, ELECTROLYTES AND FOOD
Most of us understand that drinking water before, during and after drinking alcohol is the best way to stay hydrated and offset the diuretic (water-loss) effects. What might not be as clear is that many of the "solutions" and products on the market are not miracle beverages. Yes, Pedialyte, Gatorade or other sports drinks can be convenient and helpful ways to consume water and electrolytes. However, Mother Nature's medicine cabinet has some pretty strong contenders too. Coconut water, bananas, avocados and pretty much all fruits and vegetables contain the needed electrolyte minerals. Drinking a few glasses of water and eating healthful foods is just as good as any product on the market. That being said, we are huge fans of the Ultima product, which is convenient, all-natural and sugar-free.
PROBLEM #5 - LIVER HEALTH & ANTI-AGING
The liver is a bad ass organ. It takes a lot to truly knock the little guy out. Nothing proves this more than the fact that any of us are healthy in this severely toxic world we live in, constantly surrounded by automobile exhaust, household cleaning chemicals and even the free radicals naturally produced by our body when we exercise and make energy.
We all die in the end, no matter what we do. The truth is that you may never touch a drop of alcohol in your life and still die an early death from cancer or another unexpected cause. This is not intended to say that you should not care for your body and just throw caution to the wind, quite the opposite. However, we also must focus on our quality of life. If only we could both remain healthy and live life to the fullest.
Our philosophy has always been that it's all about balance. That's why we named our company Intox-Detox. There's a natural cycle and a balance to life. Spend all your time detoxifying and you may miss out on some of the fun of life. Most of us just don't want to live our whole lives without a cheeseburger, glass of wine or ice cream sundae here and there. To each their own. On the other hand, if all you do is intoxicate your body, you threaten your long-term health and personal relationships, and you simply cannot contribute positively to the world.
That's why we created Intox-Detox to help responsible social drinkers maintain the delicate balance between staying healthy and living life to the fullest.
SOLUTION #5 - PROTECT THE LIVER
The obvious first step is to eat a healthy diet and manage lifestyle to make better choices. Always drink responsibly and choose your drinks wisely. We all have a "kryptonite" that just doesn't treat our bodies well. For some it's tequila, whiskey, red wine or champagne. Try not to drink it if it gives you a headache or makes you feel ill. Thankfully, there are also many natural herbs, Super Foods and nutraceuticals that can help you protect your liver from all of the nasty toxins around us, including alcohol.
By including certain potent antioxidants you can fight the free radical driven process of aging, which is where all the toxins in your body damage cells and age you at the cellular level. And specifically, try to include liver-specific antioxidants that help you detox and protect your body, even as you enjoy some drinks. For example, the "Master Antioxidant" Glutathione mentioned above, which boosts immunity, battles against toxins and supports anti-aging.
Remove the "Hangover Toxin" Acetaldehyde up to 65% faster
Patented & Clinically-Proven Super Foods to re-balance
Increase Master Antioxidant L-Glutathione up to 30% for a stronger immune system
Promote healthy aging with powerful restorative all-natural antioxidants
Decrease Glutamine Rebound from alcohol for deeper sleep
PROTECT THE BODY
Defend your liver and critical organs from alcohol's damaging toxins
BACKED BY SCIENCE
Clinically Proven & Clinically Dosed for Success
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Only the Best Ingredients on the Planet Make the Cut
All Ingredients are FDA "GRAS" - Generally Recognized as Safe
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MADE IN THE USA
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JAPANESE RAISIN EXTRACT (DHM) - Rock Star Super Food
ROCK STAR and Super Food main ingredient that fortifies liver enzymes, helps you sleep better and shields your liver from alcohol's toxins. Clinically proven to protect the liver against toxins from alcohol and speed up elimination of the "Hangover Toxin" Acetaldehyde. For social drinkers, this is the best herb you have never heard of on Planet Earth!
SETRIA® L-GLUTATHIONE - Alcohol Antidote & Liver Bouncer
Setria is a patented "Master Antioxidant" that acts like a BOUNCER to protect your body from toxins, enhance immunity & detox for anti-aging benefits. Clinically proven to increase detoxifying L-Glutathione levels by up to 30% in the body. L-Glutathione is required for alcohol metabolism in the liver.
GREEN TEA EXTRACT - Energy, Detox & Potent Antioxidants
Green Tea is well known for burning fat, energizing naturally and fighting free radical toxins. Did you know that it also specifically helps with the "Hangover Toxin" Acetaldehyde (from alcohol) to naturally detox and re-balance? Contains as much caffeine as a decaf cup of coffee, which is virtually none.
KOREAN RED PANAX GINSENG - Restorative & Balancing Adaptogen
Known as an "Adaptogen", Korean Red Panax Ginseng helps improve mental focus, kill stress, balance, revitalize and restore the body. Contains powerful antioxidants to fight the damaging toxins from alcohol, and may directly fortify the body against the "Hangover Toxin" Acetaldehyde.
ORIGINAL INTOX-DETOX BLEND - Traditional Chinese Medicine + Clinical Research
Japanese Raisin contains DHM, which enhances liver enzyme activity to eliminate the "Hangover Toxin" Acetaldehyde more effectively. Setria L-Glutathione boosts the "Master Antioxidant", enhances immune function and provides anti-aging support. Green Tea and Korean Red Panax Ginseng round out the formula to re-balance, restore and provide valuable antioxidants to protect the liver and vital organs.
VITAMIN B1 (THIAMINE) - The Alcohol Drinker's Most Important B Vitamin
Thiamine, known as Vitamin B1, is one of 8 essential B vitamins. Vitamin B1 is a critical antioxidant that improves energy production, mental alertness and memory. It's anti-aging effects include nerve protection and may help improve wrinkles and age spots. Alcohol consumption uses up Vitamin B1, so regular social drinkers require more to help fend off the negative effects of alcohol. Taking B1 before, during and after consumption has been reported to reduce negative after effects.
APRЀSFLEX® BOSWELLIA SERRATA - Powerful Clinically Proven Anti-Inflammatory
One of the world's best-selling patented health ingredients, this specific extract of the Boswellia Serrata plant (also known as Indian Frankincense) is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory exhibiting clinical efficacy with none of the side effects of over-the-counter medications. We based our natural anti-inflammatory blend on this patented ingredient to help battle inflammation from alcohol and to allow you to rest better and recover faster.
TURMERIC - Anti-Inflammation, Anti-Aging and Pro-Liver Super Food
Turmeric contains a powerful and versatile antioxidant called Curcumin, which may help in battling almost every disease, including Diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's and aging itself. It neutralizes free radicals from alcohol's toxins and is naturally antiviral. In clinical doses, it may even match the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs with none of the side effects. Truly a full body Super Food, turmeric has direct protective effects for the liver.
GINGER ROOT - Liver Protection, Better Digestion and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Ginger Root is a very dynamic addition to the formula, providing stomach soothing, anti-nausea effects, inhibiting pain and inflammation, aiding in digestion and directly protecting the liver from toxins. Delivering potent natural antioxidants, Ginger aids in circulation, exhibits natural anti-bacterial effects, may help with allergies and even enhances the bioavailability of other ingredients.
N-ACETYL L-CYSTEINE - Glutathione Precursor, Liver Defender and Toxin Destroyer
NAC or N-Acetyl L-Cysteine is a source of the amino acid L-Cysteine, which is found in many protein-rich foods, including eggs. It acts as a precursor to alcohol antidote and "Master Antioxidant" L-Glutathione,which is a co-factor required for alcohol metabolism. As a methylation agent, NAC provides antioxidants to neutralize many free radicals in the body. This makes it a powerful ally in the battle against alcohol's toxins and to protect the liver and vital organs.
RASPBERRY KETONE - Antioxidant and Powerful "Skinny Liver" Berry Extract
Raspberry Ketone is the natural compound that lends fresh raspberries their delicious sweet smell. In the fitness world, it is used for its purported fat-burning and fat cell growth inhibiting properties. Our formula includes it because of the antioxidant power and the potential to improve and/or protect against fatty liver disease. It's also soon to be the Superstar of a product currently in development called "Skinny Liver".
PEPPERMINT OIL EXTRACT - Stomach-Soothing Whole Body Refresher
The newest research is proving Peppermint to be good for almost every part of your body! For drinkers of alcohol, it can provide pain relief, decreased bloating, nausea and vomiting and it may also improve sleep. Peppermint is naturally calming, antibacterial and increases bile flow to help escort dangerous toxins and free radicals from the liver. Small doses do wonders with this fresh-smelling heavy hitter from Nature's medicine cabinet.
Purest All-Natural, Safe & Effective Ingredients, and Nothing Else
Carefully made to our highest standards, Intox-Detox contains only the finest clinically proven ingredients. Our team hand-selected the purest herbal extracts and we partnered with patented Setria L-Glutathione and Apres-Flex for your peace of mind
Traditional Chinese Medicine + Clinically Researched Nutraceuticals
Intox-Detox is proudly manufactured in the USA to be FDA-compliant, all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan. There are no additives, preservatives or colors. Only the very best liver health ingredients in clinically proven and clinically dosed amounts.