Ho-Ho-Hangovers and How to Avoid Them

Oh the weather outside is frightful, and the, uh, um… fire is, um… uh…. …more ‘nog, please! The holidays are a time to celebrate and relax, and merriment often involves alcohol. Indulgence, though, especially as one ages, typically means a ho-ho-hangover! Anywhere in the world, you’ll discover a new food or drink as hangover symptom relief (this author’s mom insists on a double tequila caesar, extra spicy, as hair-of-the-dog). There are countless “remedies” to overindulgence, sure, but the only guaranteed hangover cure is a lack of indulgence altogether.

…but where’s the holiday spirit in that?

The effects of alcohol overindulgence include fatigue, extreme thirst, headaches, poor sleep, the “shakes,” weakness, lack of focus, and a rapid heart rate. And how many among us have experienced the dreaded “hangxiety”?

This author absolutely could advise you to avoid alcohol altogether this season, you know, “for your health,” but this author is also writing this with an extra-festive triple cherry bourbon old-fashioned on her left, and a hot rum cake on the way (the perks of late night work from home!) So, such advice would be uncouth.

If you’ve never experienced a hangover, what’s your secret?

Short of abstinence, how can you cure hangovers, and shed the risks that come with it? If you know the golden answer, please let us know, because together we could be billionaires.

Firstly, limit your consumption.

Alcohol, especially sugar-heavy cocktails, increases dehydration levels and invokes feelings of thirst, dizziness, and that pesky headache first thing in the morning. A good rule of thumb is to take 1 glass of water for every 1-1.5oz (3-4cl) of alcohol you consume. Drinking too much may also trigger inflammation, which may lead to moodiness and lack of focus, which is the opposite of “holiday spirit”. It may irritate your stomach, causing nausea, and deeply offending poor Aunt Cynthia when you vomit her fruitcake onto the rug. So if (or when) you get too carried away with the mulled wine, just remember to take care of yourself.

Avoid taking acetaminophen if you can help it.

That means Tylenol, Nyquil, Midol, and others. Acetaminophen, while a remarkable tool for pain management when used properly, is a painkiller that strains our liver. When paired with alcohol consumption, the burden on our liver is furthered. Take it from John, founder of Optimum Health, who has written a much more scientifically-informative article on this subject. [See: Be Kind to Your Liver During and After the Holidays].


Instead of painkillers, consider N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC).

NAC is a precursor in the body for an antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione is a detoxifying molecule in the body. Alcohol metabolism uses up glutathione stores, so when you drink, these detoxifying molecules are lower in the body. When you drink, and then take acetaminophen painkillers on top of that, the liver is taking on extra stress. So, stay aware of how much liquor you’re taking and be mindful if you decide to take acetaminophen painkillers.

Consider supplementing with protective liver supplements.

Find supplements that raise, spare, or assist glutathione levels. This includes NAC, Milk Thistle, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Schisandra, and Selenium. Optimum Health’s unique formula, Opti-Liv Extra, contains ingredients that naturally assist glutathione levels. [Learn more here: Opti-Liv Extra].

Don’t eat greasy food when you’re hung over.

Yes, I know, greasy food when you’re drunk and still drunk the next morning is the best thing ever. This author is a professional at breaking this rule. But don’t do it! Try a healthy protein and carbohydrates to nourish your body and quell a queasy stomach. Or at least add some broccoli or greens to your leftover buck-a-slice pizza, come on! You know your body better than anyone else, and there’s no reason you can’t kick back and enjoy a few this celebratory season.

Just for goodness sake, stay hydrated.

With water.

No, a margarita is not water.

Okay, time for this author to grab a refill. What are you slinging back this holiday season? Have any hangover cures to share?

Happy Holidays!

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