As a Naturopathic Medical Doctor I am not about encouraging patients to drink, but I do recognize that alcohol is part of enjoyment and celebration. Certainly, there are health conditions that dictate caution when consuming alcohol and from the multitude of research (yeah, there's a lot out there), we know that binge drinking results in many health consequences. All that said, here are some tips to help you recover and minimize the impact of alcohol on your body. I put together the natural hangover remedy list to help you take care of your body, even when there's been a bit of overindulgence.
Tips for Your Night Out:
Do not skip dinner and head into a night of drinking. Alcohol is absorbed through your stomach and an empty stomach makes for quick absorption. Plus, feeling hypoglycemic and intoxicated will result in a terrible morning after.
Avoid Caffeine Cocktails.
Walk away from the Jager and Red Bull mixes! Alcohol is one hit to the liver. Mix it with caffeine and your liver will let you know how displeased it is the next day…or sooner.
Up Your B Vitamins.
You need B vitamins to detox alcohol. B1 and B12 can both be impacted heavily by alcohol intake. And B6 has been shown to help lessen symptoms related to alcohol intake. Taking a high quality B complex the day of and after can help support your body's detoxification pathways.
I typically recommend a B-Active Plus in the morning and earlier in the day before you head out and then again the next morning with breakfast and lunch.
Thiamine (B1) is seriously depleted by alcohol. That's why having 200 mg the day of and after can be really helpful.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC).
This amino acid reduces acetaldehyde (that pesky molecule that makes you feel awful in the morning) toxicity. It also increase glutathione, which is one of the most awesome antioxidants ever…ever. The general recommendation is to take at least 200 mg 30-60 minutes before you drink, but as usual, always check with your doctor about your personal requirements.
Vitamin C Can Help.
Vitamin C helps the body detoxify. Not a bad idea to up your dietary vitamin C (bell peppers, oranges, strawberries) if you know you are heading to a special occasion involving alcohol in the future. Depending on your health status, you may want to consider supplementation.
Coconut Water Night Caps.
No seriously, have some coconut water ready to go when you get home. Replacing electrolytes is important if you want to avoid a morning of head pain.
Magnesium is a Must.
Magnesium bisyglycinate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that can help your liver do its job and support your body in avoiding unwanted headaches. Typically people benefit from 300 mg at night and then another 300 mg the next morning.
Aim to take 1 activated charcoal cap with each drink and then have a glass of water in between each beverage. If you find you're having more than 4 drinks then you'll want to stop at 4 caps. Charcoal will cause your stool to turn black the next day so don't be too alarmed when you see this. And you MUST drink water, otherwise you risk constipation.
Try this trick- for every one alcoholic beverage you have, drink 1 glass of water or electrolyte replacement beverage (no sugary drinks, they are the worst for hangovers).
The Buzz is a Sign.
Yep, it's a sign to back off. When you feel the buzz from alcohol, you are getting a sign that your detox pathways are working overtime. This is the time to grab a hydrating beverage and pace yourself.
I know this is a lot to remember before you hit the town, which is why I made a printable hangover guide that you can easily post on your fridge or tuck away in your pocket.
Uh, Oh! Too Late?
Maybe you didn't catch this post before. Maybe you are in pain and scrambling across the internet to make it stop. You won't find “I told you so's” here. Instead, try these:
You might hate me already. But seriously, if you can get moving you can get those endorphins kicking into action. It will also help you detox, but please stay hydrated.
Black or Bulletproof Coffee.
Ok, you could probably put something in it, but the point is CAFFEINE. It will reduce the blood vessels that are causing that pounding. But again, stay hydrated. Check out Bulletproof here.
Speaking of stay hydrated, this is where it is at with fluids and electrolytes.
Magnesium & B Vitamins!
See above for the magnesium and B vitamin guidance. These can help prevent a hangover and help you move through it quicker.
Consider a Hormone Detox Reset.
The awesome thing about joining my Hormone Revolution Detox, other than feeling great, is that you can go back to the materials over and over. So many of our participants use the principles in the program to help them throughout the year and definitely come January.
If you're not ready for a full program, check out my Paleo Detox or Plant-Based Detox Kits that provide all the goods for helping your liver do its job. That's one way to fast track your hormone healing!
And the Doctor Bit…
Alcohol is a neurotoxin and for many of my patients, it is driving their hormonal imbalances. These tips are fine for the occasional night out, but if you find yourself on this post more often than not, well…you probably need to take a break from your alcohol consumption. I totally get a fun night out, but please, be good to your body.
Stay safe and enjoy your life!