Along with being addictive, alcohol is highly toxic for your body. It negatively impacts the vital organs such as the liver, heart, and brain. It leads to a vicious cycle of anxiety and depression and adds numerous calories to your body. Besides, it acts as a causative factor for a variety of diseases.
Alongside the multitude of risks and side effects drinking bears for you, the first one to manifest is a hangover. Thirst, headache, light-headedness, loss of gait, nausea, and lost appetite are the characteristic symptoms that pave their way due to unplanned overindulgence.
There are multiple remedies people resort to prevent a hangover. These include drinking plenty of water, consuming drinks low in congeners (toxic chemicals), getting enough sleep, etc. However, considering supplements is the most effective way to keep hangovers at bay.
Here are some of the most effective supplements that can save you from the hangover menace.
1. Milk thistle
Silybum Marianum, as is its generic name, is one of the traditional herbal remedies suitable for conditions of liver damage due to alcohol and overindulgence.
How Does It Work?
It works by preventing the depletion of glutathione, an essential compound involved in the liver’s detoxification process. Alcohol causes a lack of glutathione, which negatively affects the liver. Milk thistle thus protects the liver by reducing its depletion. It is also thought to act as an antioxidant decreasing free radical production.
How Should I Take It?
Milk thistle is available in capsule form, tablets, tea, and tinctures. It should be taken before consuming alcohol. It would help if you also drank plenty of water before going to bed.
The maximum recommended dose is 420 mg per day orally.
Avoid using during pregnancy | Source: Pixabay.com
Milk thistle does not have any significant side effects other than the mild allergic skin reaction, nausea, and upset stomach due to its laxative effect. However, it is contraindicated in children under 18, pregnant, and breastfeeding moms if you have an allergy to its components. Talk to your doctor before taking milk thistle.
L-orthinine is a partially essential amino acid that is synthesized in the body and available in food. Research has shown that L-orthinine reduces fatigue and stress if consumed after drinking, and thus, it acts as a potentially useful supplement to prevent the morning-after hangover.
How Does it Work?
L-orthinine plays its role in the urea cycle contributing to the production of urea by breaking down ammonia. It helps against a hangover by providing good quality sleep due to its sedative effects.
How Should I Take it?
Rich in clams, cheese, tuna, etc., L-orthinine is effective in preventing a hangover. It is available as capsules in doses of 250 to 2500 mg. It can have positive results for a hangover if 400 to 800 mg is taken orally after alcohol consumption, but remember to start low.
The use of L-ornithine is not recommended if you are:
- Allergic to it
Dihydromyricetin (DHM), found in Hovenia Dulcis, is a scientifically formulated remedy for hangover prevention extracted from Oriental Raisin Tree and Rattan tea. It has been used for decades in China and other regions of Asia. It’s famous for its traditional medicinal use for strengthening liver and alcohol detoxification.
How does it work?
DHM increases the activity of enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism, namely alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and acetal dehydrogenase (ALDH) inside the liver. That enables the liver to get rid of alcohol and its derivative toxins faster. As a result, you don’t feel sluggish and foggy the morning after.
Research on rats has found that DHM interacts with the GABA receptors in the brain, preventing withdrawal symptoms. However, the effect of DHM is diminished with the use of flumazenil (used for benzodiazepine reversal after surgeries or overdose), which also acts on the GABA receptors.
On the other hand, DHM works in synergy with liver-supporting agents like milk thistle, amino acids such as L-ornithine, and vitamin B & C complexes. Thus, DHM taken in combination with these agents can produce even more effective results.
How should I take it?
It is recommended to take 300 mg DHM during or just after drinking to prevent a hangover. Whereas for reducing intoxication, it is advised to take 2000-4000 mg DHM before drinking.
4. Activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is used in emergency rooms of healthcare centers to deal with poisoning and overdosage cases. That’s why it’s considered helpful in eliminating the toxic effects of alcohol.
How does it work?
According to experts, activated charcoal binds with the toxins within the stomach if taken within one hour of toxin intake. That prevents the absorption of toxins from the stomach.
People share their experience of feeling better the next morning after drinking alcohol if they’ve taken activated charcoal tablets just before drinking. However, there’s a lack of evidence that confirms its antagonistic effect on a hangover.
How should I take it?
To show its effects, you need to take activated charcoal in capsule, tablet, or slurry form right at the time of drinking. If you delay it till the next morning, then the alcohol in the stomach would already be absorbed, and you will still experience the hangover.
Over the counter tablet and capsule form is available for general use. In hospitals, it is used as a slurry. The recommended dose for poisoning is 25-100g for adults.
It should not be taken with any medicine as it decreases its absorbability from the stomach. Activated charcoal should not be taken a minimum of an hour after taking the medication.
People having respiratory compromise and heart diseases should also avoid it.
Evidence of its safety during pregnancy and lactation is lacking, so it should also be avoided in such cases.
Bonus video: The Scientific Hangover Cure
What can I take the night before to prevent a hangover?
Eating a hearty, protein-rich meal before a night of drinking can significantly reduce the chance of a hangover. A fatty meal slows the absorption of alcohol into your system.
How does NAC prevent hangovers?
It’s best to take NAC (at least 200 milligrams) as a “pre-tox” about 30 minutes before drinking to lessen alcohol’s toxic effects, which in turn, reduces your hangover the next day.
Does b12 prevent hangovers?
Taking a B vitamin supplement before and after drinking alcohol will replenish the amount of B vitamin in your body and allow it to function and recover properly from a night out on the town. Developing this ritual before a night of drinking can save you from those horrible hangovers the next day.
What helps settle a hangover stomach?
Bouillon soup (a thin, vegetable-based broth) is a good source of vitamins and minerals, top-up depleted resources. It’s also easy for a weak stomach to digest. You can replace lost fluids by drinking bland liquids that are gentle on your digestive systems, such as water, soda water, and isotonic drinks.
What is the best hangover pill?
Does magnesium help with a hangover?
The magnesium, in particular, will relax your blood flow to ease a pounding headache, and bananas have a natural antacid that can settle your stomach. It’s also smart to down another glass of water before nodding off for the night.
What vitamins should you take before drinking alcohol?
The most important of which are vitamins B and C. Those people that use a vitamin B complex — a pill that includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), folic acid, B6, and B12, among others — to combat hangovers swear by their effectiveness.