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What Causes Hangovers, and How Can I Avoid Them?



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The New York Times
SOURCE: https://www.wired.com/story/know-it-alls-what-causes-hangovers-how-can-i-avoid-them/
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Summary

Adam Rogers No one really knows how drunkenness works, and hangovers are poorly understood, no matter what your friend tells you. From the GI tract the ethanol heads for the liver, where an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase begins the process of breaking it down.If you drink enough alcohol to outpace the liver’s processing capacity, the ethanol makes its way via the bloodstream to other organs. You feel good, then you feel sleepy, then you feel bad.Just as no one really knows how drunkenness works, no one’s really sure about the specifics of the hangover, either. Ethanol might contribute to a leaky gut; in a (very, very preliminary) study, three months of probiotic treatment seemed to reduce inflammation, reduce injury to the liver, and reduce overall alcohol consumption … which also cut down hangovers.The best idea going right now is that hangover is some kind of hyperactive immune response. As far as I can tell, no one has done rigorous tests.In 2012, hangover research experienced what felt at the time like a breakthrough. When you write about booze and science like I do, you get a lot of pitches on remedies—possibly because by one estimate the hangover cure market is worth $1 billion—and I’ve been in an email back-and-forth with one company for over a year, with various flacks insisting that their dihydromyricetin-and-vitamin formulation eases hangover symptoms, protects the liver, restores electrolytes, and so on. But if you drop some non-alcoholic drinks into the rotation, your night will go better, and so will your morning.Adam Rogers wrote the New York Times bestseller Proof: The Science of Booze.

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