Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
2 Aug

Hangover Hacks You Can Hang Your Hat On

hangoverThe hangover is an interesting beast. Like Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and any other huge, hirsute crypto-hominid, nearly every culture and every nation has an extensive literature (whether it’s entombed in writing or not) on the subject of hangovers. After all, alcohol is the universal intoxicant, and hangovers are the inevitable consequence of overindulgence.

Or are they?

Mike, a reader, recently wrote to me with the tale of the missing hangover:

I have been following the Primal Blueprint for over 2 months now. My diet, fitness, etc – has been very strict with one exception – The occasional drink.

While I don’t particularly crave alcohol, when I am around it in social settings – I will indulge in 1 to several drinks, then walk home. This past week I have had 2 occasions where I have been under extreme duress while also finding myself in social settings with people buying me ‘drinks’ – mainly bourbons.  In the past if I went on a binge I might find myself worshiping the porcelain goddess or at the minimum wake up with a headache, disoriented, and bubbly guts. I would then feel crappy for the most part of the day, and not want to eat anything.  At 38, I would think that it would only get worse.

But something has changed.

I did a tally, 9 makers mark neat and 3 ‘lite’ beers over 5 hours.  I walked home, went to bed, and woke up in plenty of time to go to work.  Ate some breakfast, and never felt the worse for it. The following nite 7 beers and 3 wines over a 4 hour time period, I polished off the nite with some organic locally grown smoked ribs from one of the local farms that does ‘drunk food’ and walked home.  This morning, no headaches, no problems.  There was a minor loose stool movement and that was it.  It’s off to work and sharp as a tack.

I have no plans of continuing this drinking trend and plan on drying out over the next week, however I am perplexed by the ‘lack’ of effect.

Is it because I more efficiently rid myself of toxins?

Is it because I have an increased metabolic rate?

Perhaps it’s how my body is burning fuel?

It is not the walk, the glass of water I have before going to bed, or the late night meat.  These are all things I did before and when I would have that occasional binge, I would pay for it. I’m curious if others have had the same reaction or if they have insight as to why the ‘hangover’ has disappeared?

Mike

What is a hangover, exactly, why do they happen, and how can we prevent their occurrence or mitigate their severity?

Well, the obvious, absolutely foolproof way to prevent hangovers is to abstain from alcohol, but that’s not the focus of this post. We can avoid drink altogether and never get a hangover, sure, just like we can avoid any of the potentially negative consequences (unplanned pregnancy, disease) that accompany sexual intercourse by abstaining from any and all sex – but where’s the fun in that? People are going to drink, even healthy, Primal people, and it doesn’t help to simply say, “Don’t drink.” People drink. Let’s figure out how to manage this fact.

Your basic, garden variety hangover manifests in several classic symptoms: headaches, dry mouth, spacey-ness, fatigue, depressed mood, physical weakness, lack of concentration, sweating, anxiety, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, extreme thirst, extreme hunger, among others. Some only get the headache and the fatigue, while others are sidelined with the whole shebang. Either way, a hangover absolutely and unequivocally sucks. Its only benefit may lie in its capacity as negative reinforcement for the next time you decide to binge.

Diuresis and Dehydration

The presence of ethanol (alcohol) in the body induces diuresis, or an increase in urination. We’ve all noticed this. You’re having a few with friends and having to head off to the bathroom in between each drink, where you find yourself expelling more liquid than you’re taking in. What gives? Ethanol inhibits the secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH, or vasopressin) by the pituitary; this is the hormone that keeps you from wetting yourself, and without it, the kidneys send water straight to the bladder, bypassing absorption by the body. When you urinate from ethanol-induced diuresis, it’s mostly water (notice the color – it’s very light), along with electrolytes necessary for proper bodily function. This leads to dehydration, which in turn leads to headaches (the thirsty body draws water from the brain, constricting it), fatigue, dizziness (lack of potassium and sodium will do that to ya), and dry mouth. Sound familiar?

Toxic Acetaldehyde Build-up

Another source of hangover woes comes from acetaldehyde, which is created when an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase breaks down ethanol in the liver. Acetaldehyde is far more toxic than ethanol itself, so the body then releases acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione to break down the acetaldehyde. If you stick to just a few drinks and space them out accordingly, your body’s natural enzyme production can keep up. If you start binging, though, glutathione stores become overwhelmed and the liver must produce more. Meanwhile, acetaldehyde, which is between 10-30 times more toxic than ethanol, accrues in your body. Certain groups are underequipped to deal with alcohol, however. Women, for example, produce smaller amounts of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione than men, making them more susceptible to hangovers. Many people of East Asian descent possess incredibly efficient alcohol dehydrogenase genes, thus increasing the amount of acetaldehyde produced from ethanol. Roughly half of those folks have inefficient acetaldehyde dehydrogenase genes, however, thus decreasing the amount of acetaldehyde that can be broken down. When these people drink, acetaldehyde accumulates faster and stays there longer, leading to an instant hangover.

Congeners

During fermentation and distillation, congeners – or byproducts of the processes – are produced. Congeners can include acetone, acetaldehyde, tannins, and even flavorants used to distinguish drinks. As a general rule, darker liquors contain higher levels of congeners, with brandy ranking highest. One study showed that whiskey drinkers suffered worse hangovers than vodka drinkers when both groups were given equal amounts of alcohol, with the higher levels of whiskey congeners taking the blame. Red wine, which tends to be high in tannins, is another famous hangover-inducer. The basic effect of ethanol-induced diuresis is enough to cause a hangover, but it seems that congeners can make things even worse.

Okay, so we’ve established why hangovers hurt as much as they do, but what can we do about them?

Basic Preventive Measures

There are some tried and trued methods of preventing hangovers from even occurring in the first place. Depending on your sensitivity to liquor (and, possibly, the congener levels in your drink of choice), you can usually avoid most hangover related problems by following some basic guidelines:.

  • Drink until you’re buzzed, then stop. Drink, but avoid drunkenness. Let your glutathione catch up with your acetaldehyde.
  • Drink water with your alcohol. Have a glass handy throughout the night. If you order a drink from the bartender, get a water with it and slam it down before your sip your liquor. This should help keep you hydrated. Even better – sprinkle a bit of mineral-rich sea salt in the water to provide electrolytes.
  • Eat before you drink. An empty stomach makes for a cheap drunk, yeah, but also a bad morning.
  • Eat while you drink. Something fatty, like a rich cheese, is perfect, especially with wine. An old trick in certain Mediterranean countries is to take a big spoonful of olive oil before a night of drinking.
  • Drink two large glasses of water immediately before bed. Again, add sea salt for the electrolytes. You can also drink Pedialyte or coconut water for added electrolytes. Even if you’ve overdone it with the drinks, slamming the fluids before bed can mitigate the worst of what’s to come.

More Advanced Preventive Measures

Mitigation

You can’t always avoid hangovers. For some, they are inevitable, along with death and taxes. If you’ve got a hangover, here are the basic ways to improve your situation, and I won’t mention the stuff annoying people always suggest, like “time” or “prevention” (however accurate they may be).

  • Take an aspirin. It’s a basic anti-inflammatory that’s safe and relatively effective.
  • Drink coffee, which can actually reduce the swelling of blood vessels in the head that may be causing your headache. It’s good for fatigue, too, and its reputation as a diuretic is highly exaggerated.
  • Drink bone broth, which provides electrolytes and minerals.
  • Drink something with electrolytes. Make the Primal electrolyte-enhanced beverage or drink the original: coconut water.
  • Exercise. It may be the furthest thing from your mind, but a healthy bout of sweaty, intense activity (it could be anything, really) always seemed to help me deal with the aftermath. Keep it brief and intense.
  • IV electrolyte drip. I’ve heard tales of nurses hooking themselves up to IV drips after a wild night and being right as rain after a few minutes. I’m sure it works, but how many of us have access to IV drips?
  • Eat eggs, which are high in cysteine – think NAC. Although NAC is far more effective as a preventive measure, it appears to have some efficacy after the hangover has been established, too. NAC supplementation may work here, too, but I’ve also heard that it makes the hangover worse for some people. Exercise caution and see what works for you.
  • Eat coconut, which is also high in potassium. If you’ve got a raging hangover, you’re probably low in potassium.

What Not to Do

  • Drink more. The hair of the dog is a popular treatment (even Hemingway subscribed to it), but it’s just delaying the inevitable. As soon as the alcohol has been metabolized, you’re likely to descend back into hangover hell.
  • Load up on acetaminophen, which is a painkiller than can put a ton of stress on the liver. Your liver has already experienced enough for one day. Give it a break.

To sum up, hangovers are incredibly easy to prevent, provided you plan ahead. I suspect that most people will get by just fine by leading an anti-inflammatory Primal lifestyle (diet, exercise, rest, stress, sleep, etc), keeping hydrated, eating something, and keeping the alcohol intake moderate. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that eating Primal or paleo improves alcohol tolerance (or at least reduces hangover incidence and severity), although some folks have had different results. If you’re more sensitive to the negative effects of liquor, and the basic preventive measures aren’t working, it’s probably worth checking out the more advanced strategies (or, you know, you could drink less).

As for Mike’s query, my best guess is that his way of eating, living, and exercising provides ample amounts of nutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and anti-inflammatory signaling, all of which contribute to his fortified hangover resistance.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Let me know what your experiences have been, drinking and leading a Primal lifestyle.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. “organic locally grown smoked ribs from one of the local farms that does ‘drunk food’ ”

    That is the sweetest drunk food I’ve ever heard of! I’m used to nasty tacos from a grease truck, White Castle burgers, or something equally nasty. Color me jealous.

    Dan wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • I usually have a fatty steak before I go out plus a couple of milk thistle tabs. I also leave a another couple of tabs next to my bed with a litre of water, which I come home to and try to down before passing out -works for me!

      Jason wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • I notice I do not get hangover on a primal diet. Especially if I am eating mostly raw salads and veggies.

      evan wrote on August 23rd, 2011
  2. Before the end of a heavy night of drinking I always down an ibuprofen and any where from 32 to 64 oz of water. Always does the trick.

    jus wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • Yes, I generally match water content with each cocktail or beer (as was mentioned, usually in social situations) and walk home too (about an hour walk) and always feel just fine in the morning as well…the walk is nice up here in the mountains of Appalachia and it’s a great relief to walk past all those police gauntlets tucked away in hidden traps all over town pulling over all those last call bar flies.

      Flying Burrito wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  3. I wrote a post about coconut water a couple of weeks ago and someone left a comment saying that coconut water makes for an excellent cocktail.

    I don’t drink much at all. I prefer red wine if I have alcohol. But, the occasional cocktail is always a nice treat. When someone said coconut water makes for an awesome cocktail I was all over this idea. I have not made one yet but will definitely do so soon and will ask bartenders if coconut water is available for a nice cocktail.

    Then I read this post and at the end Mark mentions that coconut will help the hangover effect because of its potassium content. Well, coconut water is LOADED with potassium! Just another reason to enjoy a coconut water cocktail!

    Has anyone here tried a coconut water cocktail? If so, do you have a recipe to recommend?

    Primal Toad wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • Yes, actually!

      My husband, great cocktail experimenter, bought whole coconuts for a party. He put a couple of nail holes in them, and using a flask funnel added rum and creme de cacao to the water in the coconut. It was delightful and refreshing – and the coconut meat was extra tasty after the drinking was done. :)

      Ely wrote on August 2nd, 2010
      • That sounds awesome! You inspired me even more to try a coconut water cocktail, lol.

        Primal Toad wrote on August 2nd, 2010
      • Not to mention there is a great drink called a “coconut toddy” which is the sap from a coconut palm that ferments in about 4 hours. :-)

        Michael wrote on August 2nd, 2010
        • That sounds awesome! And since my real name is Todd I think its calling me!

          Primal Toad wrote on August 2nd, 2010
        • lol, might as well be pink, I keep it simple at bars and at home, a little red wine, a little scotch, maybe a dark beer. I rarely mix drinks in an evening, garenteed to be sick the next day.

          Oh and Toad, I’m pretty sure that toddy will come loaded with artifical flavorings and sugars, best to make your own at home if you can.

          Mike wrote on August 3rd, 2010
        • LOL! You can’t buy a coconut toddy. You literally have to have a palm tree tapped of its sap. Only a few places you can do that in the US, and then you have to find someone willing to do it. :-)

          Michael wrote on August 3rd, 2010
        • wow… really?! That sounds much cooler than what I was imagining.

          Mike wrote on August 4th, 2010
    • Coconut Water and rum or gin is very popular in the Carribean. I prefer vodka and coconut water but its tasty with rum too. Enjoy!

      Jess wrote on August 4th, 2010
  4. As always, full of solid information, common sense, humor, and tolerance for regular human beings living in the real world.

    Harry wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  5. I was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) about 25 years ago, and was treated with CPAP. One of the first things that I noticed after starting CPAP treatment was that I no longer had “hangovers” (and I did not drink at all), which were occasionally so severe that I was unable to work. Alcohol is known to induce OSA in susceptible persons. I suspect that alcohol causes sleep apnea even in people who don’t normally experience it — and that this the primary cause of “hangover”.

    Things that help sleep apnea are weight loss and improved overall muscle tone. That could mean that a paleo lifestyle could reduce or prevent apnea even under the influence. In my case, even substantial weight loss (110 lbs so far) has not been enough, although my CPAP pressure is about half what it was back at my peak weight. I have about 40 lbs left to lose, so there is some hope.

    TXCHLInstructor wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • Keep up the great work 110 lbs that’s awesome. Your observations are really interesting; I’m finding all kinds of unexpected benefits of Primal beyond the obvious.

      Kelda wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  6. oh drat, this is a couple days late…

    Peggy wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • agreed :(

      Sam wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • Your tellin me… This should have been a Friday post, not Monday! :)

      Chris wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  7. Loved the article, thanks.

    andy wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  8. be careful with the IV drip idea. A friend of mine is a paramedic and swore by this as a perfect hangover cure. Until that is he fell asleep on one particular ‘refuelling’, knocked over the drip onto the floor and awoke with a even more raging hangover and a pint of his own blood back filled into the IV bag..

    matt wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  9. Listen carefully people. Mark i respect you but this hang over remedias are nothing but a symptom relief not the cure. The cure is by not abusign alcohol which this person has been doing. His body adapted to the high level of alcohol consumtion and that is why he does not feel the same hangover symtopms as before. If you drink until you feel the buzz is too late. The liver takes onver 1 hours to metabolized the full effects of alcohol in our system. I can tell you how damaging your organs and your bodies will be with these remedies. The cells dehydrate which means anda BAC highers that .25 can kill a cell. No matter how much water or pre hangover pills you take you will damaged your body even more. I am not against drinking but there is enough research that shows that even 1 drink for a girl and 2 drinks for a guy kills brain cells and damages your body. you may nto drink and drive but you are impaired. more pedestrians are dying now because they are drunk.

    Marcela wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • sigh…

      Rip City wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • Isnt there research stating that people who moderately drink outlive people who do not drink? I know this guy is pounding it hard but i have billions of brain cells and the fact that i only use a percentage of it… :) you get my point. I’d rather live longer and enjoy life than live shorter in a cave by myself…

      Ali wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • Smells like reefer madness all over again to me!

      nathan wrote on August 2nd, 2010
      • Just smoke mj instead!! :)

        Paul wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • “a BAC higher than .25 can kill a cell”?

      I don’t know what you’re basing this off of, but a .25 BAC is what I (and most) consider quite high. In the state of Arizona that’s considered a Super-Extreme DUI if you’re caught driving. Here the legal limit is .08 BAC, (and even below that you can still get a ticket for reckless driving, AZ is a zero-tolerance state) after which is a DUI up to .1499, and at .15 BAC it becomes a Extreme DUI, and at .20 BAC and above it becomes a Super-Extreme DUI.

      So think of what you’re saying here. This guy doesn’t sound like he’s getting “plowed into the dirt” every single night, he sounds like he’s having a good time on occasion and maybe having 1 too many on accident (hey, life is about balance, right?)

      I think claiming this guy needs to get to a .25 BAC just to feel a buzz is more than pushing it here

      ThugLife wrote on August 8th, 2013
  10. you can eat healthy and excercise but if you abuse alcohol you are only damaging your body. You have the risk of becoming addicted even if you are only a ‘casual drinker”. I meet people every week struggling with addiction, killing innocent people and then sayign :we were just havign fun and drunk until we black out”.
    Alcohol is a drug and even those hangover pills do leave a stain in the liver which leads to possible chirrocis of the liver. If you are going to drink consider only 4 drinks at most per night. Here are your standard drinks 12oz beer at 5% alcohol p/vol. Winde 5 ox at 12%, and any liquor 1.5 oz at 80% proof.

    Marcela wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • what Rip City said…

      Ely wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • I find it difficult to take seriously anyone who can’t use correct grammar while professing to be an expert in a subject matter.

      Batt wrote on August 6th, 2010
      • HAHAHA ditto!

        xjennabennax416 wrote on April 11th, 2014
  11. Mark

    The saturated fat content in the primal diet is more than likely a significant contributor. And to kill a dead dog further, guess which supplement brings it again? You guesed it ALA (Lipoic version)! It turns out it is a potent saturated fat, that also helps to prevent damage from smoking.

    I got this from Dr Mercola off LRC. I really like this guy (too):

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/mercola44.1.html

    So eating some beef before retiring might help too? Certainly beforehand…

    Iluvatar wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  12. I use to preach the gallon of water before bed method. I’m not so big on that now as I get a terrible nights sleep getting up and going to the bathroom every hour, then still be hung-over come morning time.

    I will be trying the coconut water though.

    C. Rauth wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  13. Bunch of drunks!!!!!!

    ;)

    Oliver wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  14. How about a Prairie Oyster?

    It’s an old-school hangover cure, not exactly Primal, but much better than Gatorade:

    1 egg
    1 t worcestershire sauce
    3 dashes Tabasco sauce
    salt and pepper

    Add the ingredients in that order into a glass, making sure not to break the egg yolk. Take it all down in one gulp.

    Darrin wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • Not to going to lie. I gagged a little just thinking about it.

      thehova wrote on August 2nd, 2010
      • Ha, yeah I was thinking maybe just the yolk. :-)

        Michael wrote on August 4th, 2010
  15. that’s neat to hear some hangover reliefs–i always thought too late was too late.
    i have a great hangover preventer to add: take a shower. if you feel like you can’t stomach anything else, even water, just hop in the shower and stand there. it helps to rehydrate you, the available change in temperature can perk you up, and–if you’re anything like me–you’re likely to drink a bunch of water anyway.

    Primalrob wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  16. Primal Blueprint Rule #9: AVOID POISONOUS THINGS. Alcohol is a toxin and if you’re in need of a primal hangover cure, you’re not living primal in the first place.

    Mr. Joshua wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • Oh come on now! I like black and white just as much as the next Primal person, but sometimes there’s gray.

      80/20. Or better still 90/10, but if all your friends are out sharing a bottle of wine or a couple of pints, and you’re the one spouting Primal abstinence, I reckon life isn’t going to be the fun-fun-fun-time it’s supposed to be. And you’ll be a crappy advert for Grok, too.

      Kate wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  17. I enjoyed this post. I used to feel hungover after my one glass of red wine, but have found that’s not always the case after being more primal. Cocoanut water is great for dehydration, whether alcohol, heat or exercise induced — very handy to have it around. My husband heard it’s great for Mojitos, though we haven’t tried it yet.

    Page wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  18. I cured my hangovers forever 30 years ago…I woke up in bed with the ugliest woman I have ever seen. Haven’t had a drink since…True story.

    Dusty wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • I am not sure whether to be extremely scared or to giggle w/o constraint, I’ll opt for the 2nd, Hahahahahahahaha

      (I believe you btw)

      Iluvatar wrote on August 2nd, 2010
      • Hilarious…..coyote ugly……been there my friend.

        Aaron Curl wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Quits never win…ya big sissy, man up

      C. Rauth wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I believe you too! I threw away my beer goggles after a similar night such as this–she wasn’t ugly but when I woke up, instead of Farrah Brigitte Fawcett Bardot lying there next to me, would’nt you know it, there was Sondra Locke looking back at me and that somehow gave me the creeps.

      Flying Burrito wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  19. Great info! As usual there were a few self-righteous folks who had to take this subject to a dark, lectury (new word) place. But, that’s ok.
    For those of us who enjoy a Primal life that includes some alcohol, we learned some good info.
    I’d love to meet some people in my area who were not only Primal, but like to have a drink. Can you imagine the great conversations we could have??

    Clint White wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  20. I too have experienced far fewer after effects of an evening of overindulgence on alcohol. Managed to get drunk off my gourd on Saturday night, and didnt have even the slightest headache Sunday morning in spite of only getting a couple hours’ sleep. I didn’t even think of the possibility that it could be eating Primally that made the difference.

    Rebecca wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  21. Hey wait a minute?

    Aren’t there some anti-oxidant properties in light use of alcohol as well (in the arteries)?

    I think 60 minutes did a special about 7 yrs ago citing the 3 reasons the French did not have the CHD problems we have:
    1) they drink wine with dinner,
    2) they eat very little milk but cheese instead (lower digestive mobility rate in the lymph system in mice)
    3) they eat much less processed foods (to wit raw vegetables for enzymes in the gut)

    Anyone confirm?

    Iluvatar wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  22. This post has me thinking about research into the area of alcohol consumption in paleolithic communities/current H-G tribes. I wonder if there is any evidence of alcohol production/consumption in pre-agricultural communities. Some fiction writers have ventured into speculation on this front, but I have never ventured into reading any of the anthropological data on the subject. I am now curious, and will begin to do some digging.

    Excellent post. Just like 21st century primal living doesn’t (necessarily) mean wearing fur garments, going naked all summer long (I wish), spearing my own meat with stone arrowheads (I have to settle for metal for now), gathering all of my produce from my immediate environment, or eschewing make-up (love lipgloss) or computers, we have to find balance in our human interactions, which might mean drinking alcohol or even GASP! eating a dish of pasta so as not to offend well-meaning friends or family.

    If one is going to drink, as with any other behavior that can lead to bad health, just remember moderation and mitigation. Mistakes happen, but knowing how to fix them is better than letting further damage occur due to inaction.

    Madbiker wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • I saw a series on a very primal tribe that lives in trees with some guy named Ollie on Nat. Geo channel. They made alcoholic beverages with some sort of fruit or vegetable they had there and their own spit. The women sat around spitting into this mixture all day. The saliva caused the fermentation.
      Now THAT is going the extra mile to get your drink on!

      Clint White wrote on August 2nd, 2010
      • No, that doesn’t ferment it, it replaces the breakdown of starches into sugars that is done with malting for beer, an earlier stage. The fermenting is done after that in the usual way, by yeast acting on the sugars.

        P.M.Lawrence wrote on August 6th, 2010
  23. That’s bizarre, I think the same thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago! I didn’t even think about it being my change in diet. I drank way more than I would usually and way more than would usually result in me suffering, and I was just slightly dizzy for an hour or so the next morning. No hangover. I found it very strange!!

    Sara wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  24. Mike, I have found the exact same experience! Prior to primal living, a few drinks would surely put me out of commission the next morning. But now, if I have a night similar to what you described, I’ll wake up 5 hours later ready to go. My theory is the increased fat intake helps with more efficient toxin removal.

    Scott wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  25. Good post. :)
    Have seen this thing on you tube where animals eat fermented fruit and get drunk and stumble around…have a search, its so funny.
    Just thought that maybe grok would have eaten similar ‘rotten’ fruit at times and may have experienced a slightly similar thing????? just a thought?

    emma wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • I’m sure Grok liked finding those fruits too! I can see it now… gather a bunch of fermenting fruit, gather some gals around the campfire, tell some wild stores, and bow-chicka-bow-bow!

      CJ wrote on August 2nd, 2010
      • now THAT is funny.

        …. and probably true.

        Clint White wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • I’ve seen that on TV! It’s an oasis in the Sahara, and at a certain time each year (when the fruit is fermented) they all get together and get drunk, lions and wildebeests, predator and prey. For a while it’s like they’re all off work and getting really drunk together.

      Lazy Caveman wrote on August 3rd, 2010
      • When I was visiting Sweden one year there was an issue of several drunken “moose” who had eaten rotting apples and stopped traffic. :)

        Anonymous wrote on August 27th, 2010
  26. The exercise recommendation worked very well for me in college. It really is the last thing you’d want to do when hungover. But I immediately felt better.

    The worst thing you can do is just lay around in bed. I always felt better when I started moving around and accomplishing a bit.

    Never smoke a cigar when buzzed or drunk!!!

    thehova wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  27. Great Post. Mark, do you have any advice for people who are living relatively primally, but are also heavy drinkers? I know I know it’s frowned upon, but I’m talking about measures that can be taken to perhaps help mitigate liver damage and other long term negative side effects of alcohol. I’ve heard suggestions such as milk thistle in the past, any thoughts?

    Mike wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • @ Mike
      Just a quik note:

      Taking ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) and a strong Vitmain B complex is what I just read in some medical blogs just recently while exploring my recent overdose on ALA (herniated disc).

      Eating a lot of saturated fats (hamburger) along with cheese appears to also help enormously (did Grok eat bun-less cheeseburgers – grilled -not fried?????)

      I came across this when looking for side effects for eating too much ALA (I started on 2400 mg/day – blew my sleep cycle away – then dropped to 1200 mg/day but my stomach hurt so bad that I thought I had stomach flu)

      I am now taking a week off to see where the stomach goes.

      But to answer your question (I saw this in the ALA side effects blog), if you drink heavily, boost your body w/ BOTH Vitamin B1 (thiamin) available in most Vit B complexes and Alpha Lipoic Acid.

      If you don’t want to take the serious stuff (which is real dangerous) – eat hamburger (80/20 style). Beef it up w/ saturated fats, and then restore w/ Vit B.

      That’s what I read at least.

      My latest jaunt w/ my ALA overdose has been somewhat unsuccessful. Then it (finally) dawned on me that I was NOT trying to recover from Type II diabetes; I was trying to recover from a herniated disc (I lost muscle function below my left knee). The issues ARE different. Treatments prob’ly need to be different as well.

      I will probably continue w/ ALA after I take week break, but then the dosing amount will more than likely be around ~300mg/day.

      But don’t give up on that wonderful saturated fat in beef. Check above (on this blog page) for the benefits of saturated fats from Dr. Mercola above. I posted a web site to review from a fairly well credentialed MD.

      Hamburger be good to Grok! (especially the high fat version – James Garner was not wrong after all!!).

      Iluvatar wrote on August 2nd, 2010
    • @ Mike

      That post won’t show up until tomorrow since I gave a web site address on it.

      It has to be approved first – which means someone from Mark’s staff has to review first – to ensure that it isn’t something really crazy or bad/

      Please be patient. The Mercola article is worth everyone’s time & it is short.

      It is what sold me on beef (hamburger) and saturated fats.

      I am an idiot savant – I found that I backed into a paleo diet ENTIRELY by accident –

      `Cause this is my favorite food to eat – duh! (What else would an idiot do anyways (LOL!!!)).

      It’s real simple – good foods: cooked beef (grilled/fried) (check on saturated fats & protein), raw vegetables (who likes them cooked after all – `cept peas & pearl onions in BUTTER in the mic!), tons of cheese, olives, garbanzo beans, black beans (w/ the Mexican foods), and refried beans, then nuts of all sorts & – oh yeh bananas when I can eat the sweet stuff.

      Yeh, I know, it ain’t total primal, but it’s gettin’ close. Just wish I could eat real cheese (like in France as a kid) that had all the GOOD bacteria in it! Good GUT = Good immune system!!!

      Dang it!!! You eat the cheese NOT for the fat, but for the BUGS!!! (+ it is delicious!)

      The French sure got one up on us – dude@! They have a natural Camembert that will literally BITE you back (grin).

      Iluvatar wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  28. I’ve only been on a “Primal” diet for a month and a half now but I too have not experience a hangover after the occasional “night out”. Similarly to the situations Mike described, over here in Japan there’s some social pressure to have a few drinks when out with friends. After turning 30, those social outings were becoming more and more difficult to recover from, regardless of what hangover remedy I tried. I just figured this was due to having recently bid farewell to my youthful 20’s. It appears I was wrong. Going Primal truly is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

    Douglas wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  29. I have not had a single hangover since I went primal/paleo.

    Not one.

    Shawn wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  30. Thanks, Mark, was discussing this with my husband on the weekend.

    I love one or two glasses of red wine (esp with a steak – yum) but had stopped altogether because I would be awake all night – impossible to sleep after just 1 glass.

    Since ‘going primal’ (yay!!), I have not had this problem once. VERY happy to forget the grains and sugar if I get to keep the red wine :)

    grokette wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  31. I have the same experience that Mike has. My hangover is usually just dehydration which gives my abs great definition in the morning! A couple cups of coffee and a few glasses of water and I’m as good as I can be. Pre-paleo a hangover would keep me in my recliner all day in a horrible death like zombie state.

    Aaron Curl wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  32. Hi Mark. I am also experiencing this. I gave up my red wine for a while because I seemed to suffer from bigger hangovers the older I became. Since being on the primal diet I have been able to tolerate my red wine again. One interesting thing though is that I am still unable to tolerate white wine. It gives me a mild headache in the morning which usually goes away after a coffee. I wonder what it is in the red wine that stops this from happening? I thought perhaps something in the grape skins?

    Angelina wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  33. I have never been a drinker, but I have experience sugar hangovers so many times – never when I was younger, but since I was about 25, increasingly more so over the years … “headaches, dry mouth, spacey-ness, fatigue, depressed mood, physical weakness, lack of concentration, sweating, anxiety, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, extreme thirst, extreme hunger, among others” describes them exactly.

    I assumed all the symptoms were from the refined sugar. Is it possible alcohol hangover symptoms are, in part, from the natural (& unnatural, in cocktails) sugars?

    MamaGrok wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  34. Oops. Make that “experienced.” And to clarify, the sugar hangovers came from food, no alcohol involved in my case at all.

    MamaGrok wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  35. I had a similar experience on my birthday. I rarely drink, but that night I drank everyone under the table (with whiskey). This was my first time getting drunk since going Primal.

    I couldn’t figure out why all the more experienced drinkers were passing out and I was still going, until someone said “You must have an iron liver.” And I realized, yes, I do, thanks to Primal.

    Lazy Caveman wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  36. just this weekend i tried to convince some friends that i have a less severe hangover if i drink sugar-free red bull and vodka than i do when i drink just beer. yes, sugar-free red bull is basically liquid poison, but it soundds like the taurine might be mitigating some of my symptoms.

    interesting post.

    cenz wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • There was an episode of Myth Busters where they compared hangovers from just beer, to shots (I think that’s how it went..)
      anyhoo, worse hangovers from just beer was the conclusion.

      I have been primal for over a year & I have found that I want less alcohol than I used to & mostly just red wine. (is that why I had too much sangria last wknd?) Beer is too bloaty & grainy now.

      Peggy wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  37. Good article, thanks for the suggestions. Could have used some of this advice a few weeks ago before my bachelor party, haha.

    Dave T wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  38. I almost don’t drink at all (occasional beer here and there) and I never get drunk, but I read that coconut water is excellent for curing hangovers!

    Vita Coco wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  39. Coconut Water and 2 aspirins, best cure known to man.

    Shaggywillis wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • its great to have your own coconut tree if thats the case. lol. but yeah, coconut water is really effective. it rehydrates your body. i wasnt really familiar in giving cure to hangovers since i dont drink that much. but in case i will be drunk as hell, then i surely know what to do. i might plant a coconut tree in my yard, hahahaha.. kidding though

      eddiesilva71206 wrote on August 11th, 2010
  40. If I drink even 3 or 4 sips of wine my arms go numb, the top of my head feels dizzy and my balance goes all wonky. As a result I have never been drunk as I am only able to take a sip now and then.

    I count it as a gift because it probably has kept me out of who knows what kind of trouble. And no hangovers, another plus.

    My only question is…where is all the money I have saved being a non-drinker?

    Sharon wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Of course, you wouldn’t save much at fast food joints.

      But going out at nicer establishments, non-drinkers save a lot of money. The alcohol drinks is where the state/city/dining establishment rake in the money by overcharging patrons.

      I live in a state that doesn’t give out many alcohol licenses and as a result, many restaurants have a bring your own alcohol policy. I’ve noticed such places are more expensive. That suggests that alcoholic drinks subsidize the rest of the menu.

      thehova wrote on August 3rd, 2010

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