A research group has been studying the effects of a hangover on Dutch and Canadian students and has discovered that the traditional wisdom of drinking water to combat dehydration or eating food to line the stomach has little or no effect. In fact, the best way to avoid a hangover is to drink less alcohol.
The study also confirmed that everyone who consumed alcohol to excess would experience a hangover, despite many people claiming that they have never experienced one. During a hangover, the most common symptoms to affect a person include nausea, headache, fatigue, dizziness, feeling thirsty and confusion. The symptoms often dissuade people from continuing to drink. The study suggests that those who do not experience hangovers, may continue to drink.
The researchers questioned 789 Canadian students on their alcohol consumption during the previous month. 79% of those who claimed that they had never experienced hangovers had very low blood alcohol concentration scores. This suggested that they did not drink as much as they thought that they did and that was the reason that a hangover was not experienced. The more alcohol the students consumed, the more likely they were to develop a hangover the next morning.
The study also examined whether consuming food or water directly after alcohol consumption would help to protect against developing a hangover. 826 Dutch students were asked about their most recent night of heavy drinking. They were asked whether they had eaten food or drank water after a night out drinking alcohol and how severe the hangover had been. Over 50% had eaten or drunk water after a drinking session, but the results did not show a definite statistical improvement of the severity of the hangover experienced.
The research is a first step towards examining hangovers and their causes. This questionnaire-based study is a good first step, but the researchers want to find why hangovers occur as a body response to too much alcohol. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach means that people can get drunk too quickly as alcohol blood levels rise, so eating before or while you drink is good advice. Similarly the symptoms of a hangover can mimic dehydration, so people drink water to try to minimise its effects. However other hangover symptoms which are not related to dehydration could continue. The researchers think that the immune system may be involved in the development of a hangover. Further research will help them to prove it.
Verster, J.C., et al.; The Alcohol Hangover Research Group consensus statement on best practice in alcohol hangover research; Available online, August 2015
These products are supplied by AnatomyStuff.co.uk to aid education on the safe use of alchol:
Experience the lack of control, visual distortion and lack of perception that drunk drivers experience in a safe way. No specific blood concentration of alcohol is represented.
This Alcohol Education Display kit includes an information card which can also act as a tray, an alcopop, beer glass, wine glass, whisky glass and cocktail glass which help students to add up the number of units in each drink. Excellent educational tool that illustrates how easy it can be to drink too much alcohol.
This illustrated poster is full of information on the dangers of drinking too much alcohol.
This poster is ideal for use by health professionals in health education.