What Happens When I Have A Hangover?

By Brian Lemay No comments

(calm music) – Hey, so have you ever been hungover? Are you hungover now? You don’t have to tell
me but today’s episode is all about how hangovers work. Now, we’re all familiar with the symptoms. Even if you don’t drink,
you’ve seen TV or film and we know that people
have horrible headaches. Some people have tremors. They’re all dehydrated. They have fatigue, restlessness, anxiety, trouble getting proper sleep. The list goes on. But what actually happens? What thing makes alcohol so dastardly that it would turn a
wonderful Saturday night into a horrible Sunday morning? Hangover is the street name for the more formal term, veisalgia. So what happens when your drink alcohol, one thing that occurs is
that your pituitary gland stops producing something
called vasopressin. Now, vasopressin is an
antidiuretic hormone. Think of it like if your body and the crazy party that
you’re at or a road trip. Vasopressin is like the
dad in the car who says no, nobody gets out to pee
until we hit Orlando but when you drink alcohol,
the vasopressin is gone. It’s a deadbeat dad. So what are the numbers exactly? Well, if you ingest 250
milliliters of alcohol, your body will expel 800 to
1000 milliliters of liquid. That’s one to four times more
liquid lost than you gained. One of the big symptoms of a
hangover is dehydration, right? Because there’s a massive
water shortage in your body, all your other organs sort
of start betraying each other and they become water
thieves like in Mad Max and they are stealing
water from your brain. What does this do? It makes your brain
shrink and when it shrinks then it starts pulling on the
membrane inside your skull that attaches your brain to your skull. So that headache is the
result of physical brain pain. During drinking, your body
produces something more toxic or more dangerous than alcohol. It’s a character called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is fortunately
only gonna be in your body for a small amount of time
if you’re drinking moderately and that’s because your
liver combines this toxin with an enzyme called
acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and a substance called glutathione. When you drink more booze,
when you drink heavily, your liver runs out of glutathione and this acetaldehyde is able to excrete and it causes these nasty symptoms and in my opinion some of the
worst symptoms of a hangover which would be nausea and vomiting. Additionally, alcohol
promotes the secretion of hydrochloric acid. What this means is that
your body’s producing more and more acid and at some point the cells in your body say, hey, this booze thing
that you’ve turned us into is out of control. Get these guys outta here and then boom, they get ejected out of the front door, the same way that a lush would get kicked out of a sleazy bar but the door’s your mouth
and the bar’s your stomach. You get it, it’s gross, it’s vomiting. You probably also heard the idea that not all booze is created
equally and that’s true and that applies to
hangover potential as well. This goes back to a
thing called congeners. See, congeners are a by-product
of the fermentation process of different kinds of alcohol and some sorts of alcohol
have many more impurities or congeners than other types. As a general rule, what you can tell is that a red wine or a darker liquor like brandy, whiskey, bourbon, tequila, these would tend to have more
impurities, more congeners and they’ll lead to an
increased likelihood of a more severe hangover. The ones that have fewer congeners are gonna be stuff like
white wine or vodka, these more clear, light liquors. So that’s it. So if you’re hungover right
now and you’re watching this, that’s what’s going on
inside of your body. Your next question is probably
how to cure a hangover. How do I stop this from
ever happening again? I never wanna see the sunlight. I get it. It turns out that hangovers
are easier to prevent than they are to remedy. Now, of course, the easiest
way to prevent a hangover is to drink in moderation
or not drink alcohol at all and you have to be conscious
of the various factors applying to you as an individual that will increase or decrease the likelihood of your hangover and the severity of it if you have one. These are factors like your body weight, your gender, your genetic
disposition and so on. Now, as for hangover remedies, we’ve been hearing a lot of things that might be old wives’ tales, a lot of things that might
have science behind them. You’ve heard of the stuff
like coffee and eggs or a greasy bacon sandwich. You’ve heard of weirder
stuff like gargling with some God forsaken concoction or the hair of the dog and stuff but which of those are actually real and which of those are bunk? We’d love to follow this
up in another episode and we’d also like to hear your ideas so go ahead and subscribe, click Like. Leave us your foolproof hangover
cure in the comments below. It might end up on our next
episode and we’ll see you then.

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