Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why do you get hangover?

1. Dehydration - Alcohol is a diuretic, ie a drug that increases urination and flushes fluids from the body. Drinking coffee the next morning may increase this problem as coffee is also a diuretic (however, caffeine has a possible advantage, which will be discussed later).

2. Mild poisons in the drink - A hangover may be a toxic reaction or even a mild form of alcohol poisoning. Complex organic molecules such as methanol and acetone are found in some drinks and are said to be responsible for hangovers rather than ethanol (alcohol). This view is supported by researcher Dr. Ian Calder of the National Hospital for Neurosurgery (London).

3. Too much alcohol depletes the body of necessary substances required to stay healthy, including blood sugar, vitamins and minerals.

4. “There’s good evidence emerging that the chief cause of hangover is acute withdrawal from alcohol,” says Mack Mitchell, M.D., vice president of the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation in Baltimore, and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. “The cells in your brain physically change in response to the alcohol’s presence; when the alcohol is gone, you go through withdrawal until those cells get used to doing without the alcohol.” Couple that with the effects alcohol has on the blood vessels in your head (they can swell significantly), and you end up living through a day after that you’d rather forget.


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