That terrible feelings after you’ve had too much to drink may include dizziness, headache, nausea, dry mouth, diarrhea, impaired cognition, and exhaustion. Although experts aren’t quite sure what causes a hangover, some theorize it may come from dehydration (alcohol is a diuretic), toxic alcohol metabolites (such as acetaldehyde), impurities in distilled alcohol, or an inflammatory response to alcohol consumption.
How severe a hangover is depends on factors including your age, weight, sex, genetics, health status, type of alcohol consumed, and amount consumed. Surprisingly, light to moderate drinkers are more likely to get a hangover than heavier drinkers.
Alcoholic beverages naturally contain compounds called congeners that are contained in grains, grape skins, or the casks used in distilling. Congeners may also be added by the manufacturer to create different flavors. Beverages with a lot of congeners produce more hangover symptoms. The worst offenders? In decreasing order of congener content: brandy, red wine, rum, whisky, white wine, gin, vodka, and beer.
Unfortunately there is no miracle cure for a hangover and there is no drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of a hangover. It can take up to 24 hours for the symptoms of a hangover to disappear. Although time and sleep may be the best way to heal — in the mean time, to ease your pain, try these home remedies.
A study published in Scientific American has shown that taking 1,600 IU of prickly pear extract five hours before drinking alcohol reduced the risk of getting a severe hangover by 50%.