A hangover refers to a group of symptoms that people may experience following excessive alcohol consumption. While there is currently no absolute cure, drinking certain beverages may help to relieve many hangover symptoms.
Researchers have studied hangovers for decades but have found no conclusive data proving what causes them. Research suggests that biological factors, such as the combination of dehydration, hormonal alterations, dysregulated cytokine pathways, and the toxic effects of alcohol, likely contribute to the issue.
As alcohol is a
While drinking certain beverages may help, the only way to prevent a hangover is to avoid drinking alcohol or drink it in moderation.
In this article, we discuss beverages that people may want to consider drinking or avoiding to alleviate hangover symptoms.
Some older research suggests that dehydration occurs independent to hangovers and markers of dehydration do not necessarily result in a more severe hangover. However, a 2016 study notes that dehydration is a contributing factor to the symptoms of a hangover.
Regardless, no evidence suggests that hydration makes hangovers worse and most information suggests that it is beneficial for the body. Therefore, people wanting to avoid a hangover may want to consider hydrating beverages. Some options include:
Water is the safest and most accessible option for most people. People can try to drink water between alcoholic beverages, before they go to bed, and throughout the day after drinking.
Drinking sufficient amounts of water is
People who do not enjoy plain water can try drinking coconut water, aloe vera water, or adding squash or diluted fruit syrups or juices to their water to provide some flavor.
Drinking beverages containing electrolytes, such as sports drinks or broths, may help relieve some symptoms of a hangover.
Non-caffeinated teas are primarily water, so they may help a person hydrate. Some
However, it is also worth noting that some teas contain caffeine, which is a diuretic and may further dehydrate the body.
Fruit, vegetable, herb, vitamin, and mineral drinks
People may find relief from hangover symptoms after drinking certain fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, or other beverages containing herbs, vitamins, and minerals.
However, people should try to avoid juices or beverages with excessive sugars, as this may result in dehydration.
Not all drinks are good treatments for hangovers. It is advisable for people to avoid the following beverages:
Alcohol dehydrates the body, so it will make any symptoms of dehydration worse.
Some people may suggest the “hair of the dog” to offer temporary relief, but drinking more alcohol will only prolong the symptoms of a hangover. Regularly using this method also may lead to alcohol use disorder.
Caffeine is a diuretic, so it will further dehydrate the body and may prolong certain symptoms of a hangover. While a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea may help with some symptoms, it is unlikely to provide much relief.
Drinks with added sugar
Consuming sugar at high doses, such as that found in sodas and some fruit drinks, can be dehydrating. A
While drinks with trace amounts of salt can restore electrolytes, very salty drinks, such as high-sodium vegetable juices, Bloody Mary drinks (even without alcohol), and salt water, can pull water out of a person’s cells and cause the kidneys to produce excessive urine.
This can cause dehydration and other possible complications.
Doctors do not fully understand hangovers, but some research suggests the following factors may play a role in hangovers:
- Type and amount of drink: Some beverages have more congeners than others. These trace compounds may intensify hangovers. Vodka, for example, has almost no congeners, while bourbon has many. According to a 2010 paper, hangover rates are higher when people drink alcohol that contains more congeners. Another group of chemicals, called sulfites, might cause hangovers after drinking wine.
- Other drugs: Other drugs may intensify the effects of alcohol or change how the body responds to drinking.
- Overall health: Various health conditions may increase the risk of a hangover. For example, some research shows that hangovers cause inflammation. Diseases that also cause inflammation, such as diabetes, might affect a person’s chances of getting a hangover.
- Sleep disruption: Some people who drink stay up late doing so. This fatigue may cause a hangover or intensify its effects.
- Biological factors: Sex, age, and body type may affect how people experience hangovers. Some people
may evenhave a genetic disposition for worse hangovers than others.
Scientists have not found a surefire hangover preventative or cure. However, people can try the following strategies to reduce hangover symptoms:
- Moderation: Avoiding alcohol or reducing the total amount a person drinks can help prevent a hangover. Heavy drinking may cause more severe hangovers and other side effects. Some
researchalso notes that hangovers become worse when people experience them more often.
- Eating: Drinking on an empty stomach intensifies the effects of alcohol. Eating certain foods before alcohol consumption may help to slow alcohol absorption in the body.
- Avoid congeners: Drinks with high congener content, such as whiskey, cognac, and tequila, are more likely to cause a hangover. Vodka, rum, and gin are low-congener drinks and may slightly reduce the risk of a hangover.
- Rest: Alcohol can affect sleep quality and sleep may help reduce the fatigue and other symptoms of a hangover. A person concerned about a potential hangover can try drinking a big glass of water and then going to bed.
The amount of alcohol that causes a hangover will vary from person to person. It can help to be aware of alcohol guidelines set by the government.
A hangover may result in undesirable symptoms. Currently, there is no surefire method for preventing one other than avoiding alcohol.
However, if people still desire to consume alcohol, maintaining sufficient hydration by drinking beverages such as water may help reduce any hangover symptoms.