08 January 2011

Hangover Myths

As usual, I am a day late and a dollar short.  I should have seen this a week ago:


Myth: Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, never fear.

    * Bottom line is it isn't which order you consume your drinks in that matters, it's the total amount of alcohol that you consume.

    * With any alcohol, your inhibition decreases, which often leads to drinking more — so if you start with a beverage that has a higher alcohol content, your inhibition goes down more quickly and you tend to drink more.

Myth: I can match my husband drink for drink.

    * No way! Women will always get more intoxicated on a smaller dose than men even if you weigh the same.

    * That's because men have a higher percentage of water in their bodies, which dilutes the alcohol.

    * Men also have higher levels of the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol, so they break it down better than women.

Myth: Eating before bed will absorb the alcohol in your stomach and ease a hangover.

    * Not true. Food has to be in your stomach BEFORE you drink to help a hangover.

    * That's because the alcohol is delivered to your bloodstream more slowly, giving it less of a chance to reach high levels.

    * All food slows digestion but fatty meals work best, so eat a steak or pizza, for example.

    * Instead of eating before bed, you should drink a full glass of water before bedtime.

Myth: Take acetaminophen before bedtime to relieve your hangover in the morning.

    * Taking acetaminophen is actually potentially very dangerous.

    * Normally when you take it your liver metabolizes it by converting it into harmless compounds, but when you've been drinking the liver is busy metabolizing the alcohol so it shunts the acetaminophen to a separate pathway that metabolizes it into toxic compounds that can cause liver inflammation and possibly liver failure.

    * Instead, you should stick to ibuprofen: It not only helps with the headache but treats inflammation. You should take two before bed and two in the morning.

Myth: Alcohol helps you sleep well

    * Many people have a glass of wine to help them sleep, but actually alcohol disrupts sleep.

    * While a nightcap may help you fall asleep more quickly, it interferes with the quality of your sleep. You don't spend enough time in the deepest cycle of sleep call the REM cycle, and since you sleep more lightly you wake up earlier.

Myth: Drinking coffee is a good cure the next morning

    * Alcohol dehydrates you by stopping the production of a hormone that allows you to retain water.

    * Coffee is a diuretic, which causes you to lose more fluids and could make your hangover worse.

    * After a night of drinking you should avoid all caffeine and instead drink water and sports drinks with electrolytes to counter dehydration and replace lost electrolytes.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:19

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