As a Naturopathic 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.
Tips for Your Night Out:
Eat Well. 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.
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.
Stay Hydrated. 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:
Exercise. 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 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.
Coconut Water. Speaking of stay hydrated, this is where it is at with fluids and electrolytes.
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!