Wednesday, January 2, 2008


No magic remedy for hangovers, but some relief possible

A moment on the lips, a lifetime -- so it seems, anyway -- pounding away at your head or churning your stomach.

That's the unfortunate probability for some of you who'll be sipping, sloshing or flat-out getting trashed at New Year's Eve soirees Monday night. Ye with lots of faith may be looking for a way to party without any of the ensuing pain the following day.

But when it comes to preventing a hangover, "There's nothing you can do, short of not drinking," said Dr. Jeffrey Galles, a physician with Utica Park Clinic.

"No magic pill" either, said Michele Neil, an internal medicine- sports physician with Southcrest.

Still, there are several things you can do to minimize the hangover symptoms, both doctors said -- before you imbibe, during and after.

Before you drink . . .

Veisalgia is the medical term for hangover, said Neil, reiterating that there is no compelling evidence to suggest that any kind of intervention will stave off the nasty effects of a long night of drinking.

Abstinence aside, one of the best preventative measures is to stay hydrated, Galles said. Drink a full glass of water between every drink, whether it's beer, wine or liquor. Maintain a "one- to-one ratio," he advised.

Alcohol is a diuretic -- "it makes you pee more," Galles said. Drinking water can help minimize diuresis.

Also, try to eat before and during drinking. Never drink on an empty stomach, Neil said. Your pre-drinking meal should have complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats cause alcohol absorption to occur quicker.

To protect your liver, look for silymarin, or milk thistle, at health-food stores, Neil said. Taking some before drinking can help prevent toxins from entering liver cells.

Right after you drink . . .

Before heading to bed, try taking ibuprofen or naproxen sodium (i.e., over-thecounter names like Advil or Aleve), Galles said, preferably with food. However, if your stomach is already irritated by all the drinking you've done, pills may aggravate the situation.

In that case, consider popping a Zantac or Pepcid at bedtime to help settle your stomach, he said.

Think twice before taking acetaminophen, Neil suggested, as it could be toxic to the liver.

The day after

OK, so you woke up feeling hammered. Now what?

For the headache, once again, reach for that Advil or Aleve, Galles said. A cup of coffee is also good, as it contains caffeine, which helps constrict blood vessels, minimizing headaches.

"I like hydrating with the sports drinks, things like Gatorade," Galles said. In fact, sports drinks may be safer than drinking water because, with H2O, you're washing out sodium and potassium.

Nauseated? Take a Dramamine, the motion-sickness drug, Galles said. One of the quickest ways to combat a morning hangover is to make a banana milkshake with honey, Neil said. This will have electrolytes, magnesium and potassium, which you drank away the night before.

Look for mixes at health-food stores that contain vitamin C to put into your shake, Neil said. Vitamin C stimulates the liver to break down alcohol.

You also can take 2 to 6 teaspoons of honey every 20 minutes until the severity of the hangover wanes, Neil said. Honey helps stabilize blood sugars, and the fructose in it will help your body metabolize alcohol quicker.

Prickly pear cactus, which you can find in pill form at health- food stores, can relieve nausea, as well as reduce inflammation.

Sometimes, drinking alcohol the next day helps.

"The hair of the dog myth is really true," Galles said, adding that symptoms of alcohol withdrawal could be slightly eased the next day with a small, light alcoholic beverage. Perhaps a bloody mary with your breakfast? Maybe a little screwdriver?

Day-after shake

Dr. Michele Neil, an internal medicine-sports physician with Southcrest Family Health & Wellness, said drinking a banana milkshake with honey the morning after drinking may help ease a hangover.

We found a recipe on ( miracleshake) that looks similar to what she described. Bottoms up . . .

Banana Hangover Shake

the shake. 1 large, ripe banana

1 1/2 cups milk (soy or regular)

2 tablespoons honey

1. Blend all ingredients together. You can adjust the amount of milk to make shake thicker or thinner, depending on your preference.

2. Drink slowly, allowing your body to absorb

Note: While a room-temperature shake might be better on an upset stomach, you can make a frozen version by keeping handy frozen, unpeeled bananas wrapped in plastic. YOU CAN GET ALL THE HANGOVER NEWS HERE AS WELL AS FIND THE BEST CURES



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