Humanity has been trying to find a “cure” for hangovers for as long as we’ve had alcohol, but a new study has found that one may not exist.
Headache, nausea, fatigue – all symptoms no one wants to feel in the morning, but all symptoms that everyone feels after spending a night celebrating with alcoholic beverages. The general advice passed down from generation to generation is that eating something or drinking water will help you manage or avoid hangovers.
But an international team of researchers from Canada and the Netherlands have conducted research that revealed this type of advice is absolutely pointless as following it will not help you after a night of drinking. Also, if you believe that you’re immune to hangovers, or that your friend is immune to hangovers, you’re wrong. There’s no such thing as hangover immunity.
For their study, the team asked hundreds of students about their drinking habits and the state that they have after a night of drinking. The researchers wanted to know everything from how many drinks a subject consumed in the month prior to the survey, to what time of day they usually drank at, to how severe their hangovers were.
They used these answers, as well as the gender and weight of the subjects, to deduce the blood alcohol concentration of subjects who reported experiencing hangovers and of subjects who reported not experiencing hangovers.
After looking at the results, the researcher team concluded that the blood alcohol concentration of four fifths of the subjects who did not experience hangovers was less than 0.10 percent (0.10%).
Joris Verster, lead author and assistant professor of pharmacology from the Utrecht University (the Netherlands), gave a statement informing that “In general, we found a pretty straight relationship: the more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover”.
He went on to add that “The majority of those who in fact reported never having a hangover tended to drink less”, and theorized that these subjects might have been drinking “less than they themselves thought would lead to” hangovers.
The next step for professor Verster and his team was to investigate whether or not eating something or drinking water had any direct effect on alcohol consumption or the likelihood of experiencing a hangover.
The results? The subjects who had this habit did in fact show a slight improvement, statistically speaking, however it was not enough to make a difference. Professor Verster stressed that, according to the findings, the only way to avoid experiencing a hangover “is to drink less alcohol”.
The myth that water helps with hangovers came from the theory that the unpleasant state may be caused by dehydration. But professor Verster explained that that’s just one of the elements that leads to hangovers. Excessive alcohol consumption may affect the immune system.
And Dr. Howard Forman, Addiction Consultation Services medical director from the Montefiore Medical Center (New York), gave a statement of his own saying that in his opinion water can’t possibly help with hangovers, however eating high-fat foods while drinking is a good thing.
They slow down the rate of digestion, meaning that alcohol will be absorbed into the system a slower rate. Basically, it allows people to drink more alcohol but avoid reaching a blood alcohol concentration that causes hangovers.
The findings were presented this weekend, at the Amsterdam conference of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP).
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