We try to explain what happens to the body during a hangover and some of the symptoms.
A lot of us have had them, no one likes them but a hangover was a hallmark of a good night out for us a while back. The dreaded hangover. The throbbing headache, dodgy stomach and the general feeling of death; welcome to the world of the hangover. Surprisingly after millennia of hangovers, from our cavemen days through the industrial revolution and to today's information at your fingertips society, scientists still can't say for sure what exactly causes a hangover but we'll explore some of the science here for you.After a heavy night of drinking, the toxic effects of alcohol roll into action and depending on the amount consumed will contribute to the symptoms of a hangover.
Alcohol acts as a diuretic, meaning it will make a trip to the toilet a lot more and ultimately lose water. Alcohol inhibits the production of the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin, which results in increased urination. Dehydration is credited with causing headaches, dizziness and thirst.
Alcohol or to be more scientific, ethanol, is broken down in the liver by several enzymes and one of the by-products is acetaldehyde, a toxin. A build-up of acetaldehyde causes some of the classic side effects of the hangover including nausea, sweating, increased heart rate and headaches.
Apart from the alcohol, some alcoholic drinks also contain other compounds called congeners. Brandy, rum and red wine have the most whilst some vodkas have little or none at all. Congeners have been linked to severe some of the hangovers most dreaded symptoms including nausea, fatigues and headaches.
Alcohol has been found to cause an imbalance to our immune systems, specifically by increasing the amount of proteins called cytokines. In normal concentrations, these proteins are vital for sending messages between our cells. Elevated cytokine levels can disrupt the normal memory-making process and can send the immune system into overdrive, resulting in inflammation, chills, headaches and an upset stomach.
Hangovers are the results of alcohols negative effects on our bodies. Surprisingly, science is yet to offer a cure, but we can. Keep the alcohol levels down to a minimum by swapping your regular alcohol drinks with some of our most favourite recommended alternatives. After all, that's what we are here for.