The hangover, that all too familiar feeling-like-ass condition the morning after you drank too much the previous evening. Headache, nausea, no energy and if you really over did it then throw chills, diarrhea and the shakes into the mix as well. Most of you will at some point in you life have experienced those symptoms and if i had to ask you what caused it then you will no doubt tell me it’s because you’re dehydrated or that the byproducts of alcohol breakdown in your body is toxic and making you feel kak or maybe low blood sugar is the cause hence you craving that Cream Soda. Well a bunch of really smart scientic research types have done some science stuff and come to the conclusion that pretty much everything you’ve been told about the cause of your hangover is wrong.
I’m one of the lucky few people who don’t ever get a hangover…doesn’t matter how much i drink. At first i thought i was special, but apparently 23% of people who drink don’t get hangovers.
So lets start with a few things the researcher types discovered about the causes of hangovers:
Dehydration: ‘Alcohol suppresses the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin, which ordinarily keeps you from peeing too much. But in dehydrated people with hangovers, levels of electrolytes don’t differ too much from baseline controls—and when they do, they don’t correlate with hangover severity’.
Breakdown of alcohol into toxins: ‘acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of ethanol breakdown in the body. Turns out that hangover symptoms are at their worst when acetaldehyde levels are low’.
Low blood sugar: ‘sugar doesn’t help the morning after’. So much for you Cream Soda remedy. A more likely cause ‘is actually high blood sugar’. Consuming ethanol with glucose turns out to elevate lactate levels, and one study shows that the presence of lactate makes hangovers worse’.
That’s your standard explanations out the way then.
So what do the researchers say is the actual cause of your hangover…well according to their recent studies it’s an inflammatory response.
“what really causes hangovers: namely, that they’re an inflammatory response, like what happens when we get an infection. A team in Korea noticed that hangovers are accompanied by elevated levels of molecules called cytokines, which are used as communication signals by the immune system. If you inject those into a healthy subject, that person will start to have all kinds of familiar-sounding symptoms, including nausea, gastrointestinal distress, headache, chills, and fatigue. Potentially even more interesting, higher-than-normal cytokine levels also interfere with memory formation—which might account for ethanol-related lapses in recall as well.”[Wired]
Best bit about their research is that if the cause is indeed cytokines then they will be able to block it and in future they will create synthetic compounds that can instantly restore sobriety. Imagine that a pill that makes you sober immediately.
Now you know.