We Asked A Doctor Whether These Hangover Cures Actually Work

Anna Lewis
Photo credit: The Hangover

From Delish

We all know that what comes after drinking alcohol is the inevitable pain of a hangover. We all know this, and yet time and time again, we make the same mistake.

Well, hopefully some of these hangover cures will help take the edge off next time you get carried away.

We scoured the internet and asked our friends and family for their hangover cures, then ran them past Dr Deborah Lee, of Dr Fox Online Pharmacy who clarified whether these really are the real deal.

Some could actually make a difference, and some are just a load of old baloney. So be sure to read this thoroughly before your next drinking sesh. Your hangover will thank you for it.

Before your night out...

1. Take milk thistle to avoid a hangover

Milk thistle is supposed to help protect your liver from the toxic effects of alcohol breakdown products, so a lot of people recommend taking a milk thistle tablet before you start drinking, and also the next day too. But, unfortunately there's a not a whole lot of medical proof to it, so maybe take this with a pinch of salt. Not literally, mind you…

Buy milk thistle now!

2. Don't go out on an empty stomach

This is a no-brainer, but eating beforehand can help you avoid a hangover. According to the NHS website, have a meal that includes carbohydrates (such as pasta or rice) or fats as this will help to slow down your body's absorption of alcohol.

During your night out...

3. Avoid drinks with congeners to avoid a hangover

Congeners are toxic chemical by-products, which are formed in small amounts when alcohol is made. A number of studies have shown that the more congeners in a drink, the worse your hangover will be. So, it’s worth keeping in mind that vodka, gin and rum are low in congeners (vodka contains hardly any). While tequila, whiskey and cognac are all high in congeners, with bourbon containing the highest amount.

Photo credit: Giphy

4. Choose non-fizzy drinks to avoid a hangover

The bubbles in fizzy drinks can speed up the absorption of alcohol into your body, so if you want to limit your drunkenness, and potential hangover, it might be worth switching tonic water and Coke for orange juice or cranberry juice. Same goes for fizzy booze like Prosecco and Champagne. Soz.

5. Drink plenty of water to avoid a hangover

Many hangover symptoms are due to your body being dehydrated, so it’s best to top up your water intake as much as possible – not only the morning after, but also during your booze sesh, too. Every so often, switch out an alcoholic drink for a pint of water.

After all, it’s mostly the dehydration making you feel dizzy, tired and thirsty during a hangover. Plus, it’s what has given you a headache that feels like your brain has tripled in size but your cranium hasn’t.

Photo credit: Giphy

The morning after the night before...

6. Eat a big breakfast to avoid a hangover

Some of the main symptoms of a hangover are nausea, weakness and simply being damn tired. These can all be attributed your low blood sugar. A good way to increase your blood sugar is by having a big ol’ plate of food when you finally manage to unpeel your dry eyelids from your dry eyeballs.

"Having too much alcohol on board also upsets the balance of the good and bad bacteria in your intestines," according to Dr Deborah Lee. "It really is true that alcohol can cause a ‘leaky gut’. Get on and put some healthy nourishing food inside you!"

May we recommend a healthy breakfast burrito, an English breakfast traybake or breakfast stuffed mushrooms?

7. Say no to caffeine to avoid a hangover

This might sound crazy, seeing as one of the worst things about being hungover is the outrageous tiredness, but avoiding caffeine will help you kick your hangover to the curb.

Yes, an enormous 50-shot coffee will momentarily make you feel better, but you have to remember that caffeine is a dehydrator, so you’ll basically just end up back at square one.

Maybe try a different hot drink instead...

8. Have a cup of ginger tea to avoid a hangover

For years, ginger has been used in Chinese medicine as an anti-nausea treatment. And a 2016 study concluded that the plant is “an effective and inexpensive treatment for nausea”.

And two published studies have reported that ginger is as effective as the drug Metoclopramide, which is regularly used for this, at preventing nausea and vomiting.

So, a cup of ginger tea is just the thing if you’re struggling to keep your Coco Pops down the morning after the night before.

Photo credit: Giphy

8. Rehydration sachets to cure a hangover

If simply drinking water isn’t hitting the spot, you can always try a rehydration sachet. These are usually taken when someone is dehydrated because of diarrhoea and/or sickness to get the salts you lose back in your system. When mixed with water, they can go a long way to replace lost fluids. Sports drinks like Lucozade also work in the same way.

"Don’t underestimate the importance of being adequately hydrated," says Dr Lee. "Severe dehydration can lead to more serious illnesses in the long run."

9. Drink fruit juice to cure a hangover

As well as drinking plenty of water to get your hydration levels back up, it’s also a good idea to drink fresh fruit juice or smoothies. These will give you back the vitamins you so desperately need to recover.

10. Take painkillers to avoid a hangover

Painkillers can help with headaches and muscle cramps gained from a hangover, says the NHS.

Paracetamol is your best bet, especially a soluble one as it will get into your bloodstream quicker, and we all know that speed is key in times of need like this.

But avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen together as these can irritate an already sensitive stomach.

Photo credit: Giphy

11. Try antacids to avoid a hangover

If you’re suffering from a funky belly as well as a splitting headache, give antacids a go. The likes of Rennie or Alka-Seltzer will help settle your stomach.

12. Sleep to avoid a hangover

The reason you feel so knackered after a night out is that, even though you think you got enough sleep, you didn’t.

There’s a good chance you went to bed late, and even the sleep you got will have been disturbed because of the alcohol in your system.

So, if you can, try and take a nap. If you’re at work, you may have to hide in the cleaner’s cupboard and do it, but trust us, it’s worth it.

Photo credit: Giphy

13. Do some exercise to cure a hangover

Look, no one wants to hear this, but doing some light exercise will really help if you’re feeling less-than-fresh.

Seeing as alcohol can depress your mood, exercise will bring back some of those endorphins; helping to automatically improve how you feel.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK:

Hair of the dog does not cure a hangover

Drinking more booze will not get rid of your hangover, it will simply postpone it. Yes, you may momentarily feel better while drinking that Bloody Mary, but it won’t last long.

Keri Peterson, M.D, said: “The infamous 'hair of the dog that bit you' cocktail doesn’t cure a hangover — It merely postpones it until later in the day.

“That's because hangovers set in when blood-alcohol levels start to fall. The worst symptoms begin when the levels drop to zero.

“If you keep drinking, it may buy you some time and help you make it through brunch, but once you stop, it's going to hit you hard. Now you're hungover from both a night and morning of drinking.”

Sadly, Dr Lee adds, "Despite extensive research, there is still no cure for a hangover! The only salient advice - sadly - is to limit alcohol intake."

As always, it's always important to be Drinkaware. Excessively drinking alcohol comes with a number of health risks. If you're a regular drinker it's important to remember:

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