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. So what was your worst hangover?

    Mine: high school
    stolen bottle of red wine + near a quart of tequila = pink projectile sickness the next day… oh man. Just the thought….

    Mike wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  2. Has anyone heard of Activated Charcoal for a hangover? I am not even sure what it is, but a friend of mine said that if you take it before and after you drink it will ward off the symptoms?

    Kira wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  3. Thanks Mark for addressing my question!

    I’d like to add a few tiny things bases on some things people said. I don’t binge drink all the time, weekly, or even monthly. I did 2 nites in a row, but it was probably the first time all year. I do consume alcoholic beverages regulary but in moderation for the most part sticking to wine, sake, and bourbon. The circumstances described above was the first of 2 nites of ‘over saturation’ because an old friend was in from out of town and one thing lead to another and well .. I was really perplexed and surprised.

    As to the local organic pork ribs/sausages at 2:30am – What can I say, I live in a special place – here is a link to the farm – http://www.ecofarmnc.com/

    Mike Wootini wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  4. Awesome article! Anytime I have a nasty hangover I always drink a Gatorade and it fixes me up pretty fast!

    StayFitNutrition wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  5. NAC supplements? Never heard of them. Is there an example of one of these?

    Kurt wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  6. Whoa! I think you want to say, “DON’T load up on acetaminophen.” (Which is paracetamol in some parts of the world.) Alcohol and acetaminophen are, as you say, very liver toxic.

    I used to like vitamin C for these problems. The Emergen-C packets have C and electrolytes and a little of some other minerals and vitamins.

    slacker wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Woops! My mistake. Missed the DON’T in the heading. . (Duh)

      slacker wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  7. Let’s face facts…go back and read this man’s letter…he has a SERIOUS drinking problem…the promise to “dry out” next week is the typical, hollow promise that people with serious drinking problems always make…I was married to an alcoholic…an airline pilot…alcohol is a wall…put up to keep one from being authentic and honest with others around you. Period. Get help, buddy…now.

    Cj wrote on August 4th, 2010
  8. yeah – help would be good. Someone who is so dedicated to health as to do PB, but can’t get the drinking under control – alarm bells are ringing. You don’t have to do it alone. Getting help doesn’t mean you are helpless, it means you are serious about change and a human being.

    tbird wrote on August 4th, 2010
  9. I got drunk — once — when I was 21, to see what it was like. It was indescribably awful. I do not understand why anyone would want to do that deliberately more than once. I guess I live in a different world than some of the other posters here.

    It would seem that I’m not susceptible to alcoholism, which is a good thing. Too bad I can’t say the same thing about sugar addiction.

    TXCHLInstructor wrote on August 4th, 2010
  10. or you can just drink Guinness. No wheat. Low alcohol. Low calories. Lots of iron, you’ll notice your nails become hard. really.

    Patrick wrote on August 4th, 2010
  11. It’s actually amusing to read the comments that insist that the letter-writer has a “drinking problem” when his point was that alcohol consumption is *not* adversely affecting his ability to function.

    I’ve noticed similar effects to the original writer now that I’ve been otherwise primal for three months. In a twelve-hour period on a weekend last month, I went through nineteen or twenty beers, showed and felt little signs of drunkenness, and woke up perfectly fine for a hearty breakfast the next day – and have gone without alcohol for almost three weeks since then except for one bottle of dark beer I thought would pair well with a steak I grilled the other night.

    Am I going to be accused of having a “serious drinking problem” as well? Because it sure doesn’t feel like it. I have no cravings, I’ve got a few bottles of beer in my fridge that I have certainly not been staring at wistfully, and I’ve had no gnawing urges to head down to the local bar.

    Seems to me that some people are falling into the “conventional wisdom” trap: “Consuming more than X drinks in Y hours is PROOF of alcoholism!” Actually I remember somewhere reading an article about animals and their attraction to alcohol-containing fermented fruits: the writer observed that often the animals who would consume the most of this fruit were the healthy and fit ones, speculating their bodies were best equipped to enjoy the pleasureable effects while minimizing the negative effects.

    And aren’t we presuming all along that going primal makes us more healthy and fit than the rest of the population?

    Ed wrote on August 4th, 2010
    • People who don’t have a problem with alcohol don’t count “3 weeks without booze – except for that one beer” among their accomplishments. I’m just saying! Da’ Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt. ;)

      fixed gear wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • Who says I’m claiming it as an “accomplishment”? It was simply to point out that I consume alcohol when and where *I* feel like it and when it is appropriate, not due to some biological or psychological need.

        Seems to me that despite not knowing me or my situation, you’ve already made your conclusion, and will simply label me “in denial” if I disagree. Sorry, but that’s passive-aggressive crap.

        Ed wrote on August 6th, 2010
        • You’re so right!! Drinking nazis are even worse than smoking nazis! If I go 30 days without sugar, and I’m keeping track of the days, does that mean I’m a diabetic? Fixedgear sounds like a puritan and you know what the definition of “puritan” is, dontcha? – a person with the haunting fear that somebody somewhere is having fun.

          pat johnson wrote on November 26th, 2012
  12. Good article, I used to subscribe to the chug as much water as possible + a multi vitamin which does help a ton.

    But the other day I had an interesting experience. It was a weeknight, got some bad news and decided to get bombed, this was after a really intense workout.

    I used to be a supplement junkie so had a couple bins of taurine and glutamine and creatine lying around. I took this before boozing for post workout benefits. Proceeded to drink 12 bud heavy’s and then made my favorite concoction of bacon, ground beef fried in the fat and then egg fried in that fat. Topped with premium real cheese, some philly cream cheese, mustard and hot sauce. All in a lettuce wrap.

    The next day was the best I felt all week and on only 6 hours of sleep. I’m thinking it was the taurine mostly but maybe some stuff in my awesome (mostly) primal meal.

    Mark wrote on August 4th, 2010
    • That sounds like a totally awesome meal. I’m gonna have to try it out real soon now. (Well, the food at least. I’ll skip the 12 beers.)

      Ed wrote on August 4th, 2010
      • Ya, I eat that meal at least twice a week, i’m more addicted to that than I used to be to doritos =)

        Mark wrote on August 4th, 2010
  13. Hit submit accidentally before I meant to,

    That was last week.

    Just last night we had a work happy hour, it was an IF day for me, so at 5pm the fast was over.

    All I had were some almonds at my desk before going to the happy hour, so I had a handful to help soak up some booze.

    I had a total of six beers last night, same kind – half of what I had the previous week. With the impaired judgement I proceeded to eat 4 slices of thin crust pizza before bed, got 7.5 hours of sleep.

    Woke up this morning feeling like absolute hell, couldn’t get out of bed, headache, and groggy, tired and cranky all day

    Kind of crazy

    Mark wrote on August 4th, 2010
  14. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

    2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
    Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

    Kerry wrote on August 4th, 2010
  15. This post makes me curious for a post on marijuana use and the effects of THC on immune function and other things. However, based on the fact that some readers are up in arms over a post on alcohol use, I can only imagine the reaction to a post on pot smoking…

    Emily wrote on August 4th, 2010
  16. Hi Emily, I would also find such a post interesting. Unfortunately, the stuff is totally illegal where I am, so even if there were any benefits I would not be able to try it. I am very interested in knowing exactly why marijuana is supposed to be so bad for us when there are medical articles on the internet talking about its benefits. I am also pro-hemp items and and do not understand why our country (OZ) is so negative on people growing hemp crops for clothes, ropes etc (and the fibres are so useful for so many things) when hemp contains very little or no THC.

    Angelina wrote on August 4th, 2010
  17. This Pretoxx supplement Mark mentions, which is made in Newport Beach, according to its website…any affiliation with MDA? Just asking.

    Stephen wrote on August 4th, 2010
  18. Eveneing Primrose Oil – take 8 capsules prior to drinking – works a charm everytime.

    Mark wrote on August 5th, 2010
  19. B Complex. You’re liver needs vitamin B to metabolize alcohol. Just like a lack of vitamin B alone can cause headaches, when your liver runs out of the stuff, guess what?

    Home brewers know of the advantage of a natural alcohol beverage that already has the anecdote in the form of B-rich brewers yeast already in the beverage.

    Was Grok a homebrewer? Maybe so…… :D

    Kenny wrote on August 5th, 2010
  20. We’ve all been lied to thinking you HAVE TO drink to have a good time in social situations. It’s total BS. What about children?? You ever watch kids at a birthday party? Like 8 or 10 year olds… They all show up nervous and inhibited at first. But after a half hour or so they start to loosen up and enjoy socializing. And all without ever having a drink. Or what about the 8th grade dance?? An age that most teens weren’t drinking yet. At first everyone shows up socially inhibited, boys staying on one side of the room, girls on the other. But sure enough after an hour or so everyone is socializing and dancing, boys are mustering up the courage to talk to girls, etc. And all WITHOUT alcohol.

    You’re believing a LIE if you think you need booze to “have fun”. It’s so SAD that 90% of the adult population believes this. If NEEDING drink was the only consequence it would be bad enough. But do you not see the INSANITY of a post on a “healthy diet and lifestyle” blog telling you how to avoid hangovers that isn’t just – don’t drink?? I mean come on! It’s ridiculous isn’t it?? It’s the most unhealthy, un-primal UNNATURAL thing. There’s no ‘alcohol tree’ in nature. I mean if you’re going to abstain from grains because they are unfit for your body then SURELY you would abstain from booze, right?? “People drink. Let’s figure out how to manage this fact.” Bullshit. You’ve given up. By that logic then “People eat processed carbs. Let’s figure out how to manage this fact.” Know what I’m saying”?! This post is insanity.

    The “conventional wisdom” is wrong on this one. You DON’T need to drink to have a good time. You really don’t. I don’t say that as a bible-thumping goody-2-shoes who doesn’t have a good time. I say that as someone who was a former HEAVY drinker who now has a BETTER time “going out” but doing it all sober. I still go to bars, socialize with my friends, I meet girls, I dance I act like a fool! And I do it all sober. You don’t need it. Don’t believe the lie.

    If what I’m saying rings true read Allen Carr’s book “The easy way to stop drinking”. It’s not AA or rehab, it’s ENLIGHTENMENT. You won’t WANT to keep getting drunk after you finish the book. Even if that thought seems IMPOSSIBLE to you now. I’m telling you I went from 4 nights a week sloppy, near blackout drunk to totally sober. I’m not a teetotaler telling you you don’t need it, I’m a former believer of the lie who sees things differently now and KNOWS you don’t need it. At one point you thought you NEEDED “healthy whole grains” right?? It’s the same incorrect BELIEF that keeps you drinking. Change that belief and you won’t drink anymore. Read that book.

    fixed gear wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Fixedgear, more power to you for battling alcohol and winning, but speak for yourself when you say people don’t need booze to have fun. Have you ever been to a Baptist wedding (i.e., no booze)? Horrible! Awkward! Boring! etc. etc. The ugly truth is – alcohol greases the skids and makes even the most objectionable bore tolerable. I quit drinking years ago (for various reasons), but I still miss it terribly. I no longer go to bars, parties, etc because it is NOT enjoyable without alcohol. As for the 8th grade dances – don’t know where you went to school, but when I was in 8th grade, somebody always had a flask, even at that age. There’s a REASON why alcohol is served at social gatherings. Millions of people agree with me that alcohol DOES greatly enhance social gatherings – which is why it’s such a huge industry.

      pat johnson wrote on November 26th, 2012
  21. fixed gear: I don’t see anyone claiming that they “HAVE TO” drink. Some people choose to drink, whether for the enjoyable effects, or for the taste (alcohol is known in culinary circles as a “flavor facilitator”). By constantly repeating “need to drink”, you are buying in to another lie, that everyone who consumes alcohol considers it a “need”.

    One of my hobbies is homebrewing. I enjoy the craft of creating a beer just as some people enjoy creating a delicious meal. Am I simply perpetuating my and my friends’ “need” for alcohol? Doesn’t seem like it to me.

    As for there being “no ‘alcohol tree’ in nature”, you’re wrong. There is ample evidence that fallen fruit combined with yeast in the wild yields fermented fruits (with alcohol!) which animals readily consume. Did you read my comment about that at all?

    And as for “healthy diet and lifestyle”, I’ll quote another blog: “Moderate alcohol consumption improves insulin sensitivity, lowers triglyceride concentrations and improves glycemic control. Not only in healthy folks, but also in type 2 diabetics….
    studies have consistently shown that moderate drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. This can be mainly attributed to a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. However, alcohol also contributes to a healthier and disease-free life by protecting against Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, the common cold, different types of cancers, depression and many other Western diseases.”

    It’s often said that the most loud and annoying anti-smoking people are former smokers; apparently former drinkers have an equivalent.

    Ed wrote on August 5th, 2010
  22. Hi fixed gear. I have no “need” to drink as you put it. In fact, I only have about 1/2 glass of red wine on the odd occasion. I do it because I enjoy it. Because I enjoy it I can also find it relaxing. I also, like Ed, believe there are certain health benefits to a little red wine occasionally.
    My theory is that whether or not someone is prone to becoming dependent upon alcohol depends on the individual. Some people seem more susceptible to dependency than others. Almost like a dependency gene. I have also observed that it appears to be slightly genetic. I know people who have this problem whose one or more parents also had this problem. Not everyone has this problem. So not everyone who chooses to have a drink of alcohol actually feels “a need to drink alcohol”. Only a few people do.

    Angelina wrote on August 5th, 2010
  23. Avoid sugar while drinking. Anything like coke as a mixer is lethal. Jack Daniels and Coke may be popular but way too much sugar.

    Henry barth wrote on August 5th, 2010
  24. why didnt he mention barfing???

    Taras wrote on August 5th, 2010
  25. I haven’t had a hangover in over a decade. I stopped drinking in Y2K. Best decision I ever made.

    Doug wrote on August 6th, 2010
  26. I can

    Kevin wrote on August 7th, 2010
  27. Oops..

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned saunas! In college we would take a gallon of water into a really hot sauna and not come out until it was gone. Worked perfectly every time.

    I also used to drink a lot of water and a big glass of pickle juice with a multivitamin and some aspirin right before going to bed, and that seemed to work wonders as well.

    Kevin wrote on August 7th, 2010
    • …I don’t wanna pickle, I just wanna ride on my motorsickle…

      I couldn’t imagine punishing myself in a sauna the next day. I think that when I was younger it was the dancing that used to help. When I went out I used to dance all night. I must have sweat all the alcohol out that way before I even went home to sleep. In those days I never had a hangover the next morning.

      Angelina wrote on August 8th, 2010
  28. Is anyone else having the OPPOSITE effect? I am in my mid-/late-20s now and, okay, did a TON of drinking and eating poorly in my early 20s. Now, with a super-cleaned up, I can enjoy a couple drinks, but I get buzzed much faster, like after two drinks (I’m a female, but not with a particularly low BMI or anything). Also, if I have more than two or three over the span of the occasional long night, I get a terrible hangover, worse than I used to get. I wonder if it’s diet/lifestyle-related — now I just feel the effects of junk more — or age?

    Anonymous wrote on August 27th, 2010
  29. Speaking of ‘prickly pear,’ what’s the verdict there? Opuntia is being billed as a weight loss aid, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Is there anything in that?

    Mari wrote on August 6th, 2011
  30. Very cool comments and anecdotes.

    Mark E wrote on June 27th, 2012
  31. this reminds me of a hangover potion i have; Faust’s potions. among the ingredients are N-Acetyl Cystine, Milk Thistle Extract, Griffonia Seed Extract, KCl, CaCl, Thiamine Hydrochloride,Cyanacobalamin, Pyroxidine Hydrochloride

    Familiar,no?

    dill wrote on August 5th, 2012
  32. Great information, especially as I prepare to attend a Thanksgiving day feast, my first since my own primal diet switch. I’ve also found that I don’t get hangovers the way I used to and have wondered how much I can attribute to a healthier liver. I don’t drink daily anymore but only socially. I drink a lot of homemade kombucha and make sure I get a big glass before and after an evening when I intend to be consuming alcohol. I was told it helps. Seems to.

    Philogaia wrote on November 22nd, 2012
  33. Huh. And here I’ve always thought hangovers were part of the fun.

    A minor inconvenience as compared to the old where’s my shoe/car/wallet/teeth trick.

    hp wrote on November 24th, 2012
  34. DRINK COFFEE????? Man, if you can keep down a cup of coffee, then you do NOT have a hangover. And you’re WRONG about the “hair of the dog.” That is the ONLY thing that will actually work, but only if you’re not
    at the point where you can keep NOTHING down. The trick is to drink the hair of the dog very, very slowly and then when you’re starting to feel human again, stop drinking.

    pat johnson wrote on November 24th, 2012
  35. Interesting comments.

    I’ve been kind of primal for awhile now. Some days more than others.

    Somewhat recently I took a B12 before going to bed after drinking quite a bit. Downed with beer and sometimes water.

    So far, after numerous tries, no hang overs. [Funny thing is, Mrs. Paleo didn’t drink with me, yet she feels like she wakes with a hangover. Ha. Go figure?]

    Prior to this, while partially primal, if no B12, it was hangover city.

    The comments from some commentators about how alcohol was toxic and such were kind of funny. I mean, the former world’s oldest man (110?) said the secret to his longevity was due to cigarettes, wild wild women, and whiskey.

    I think he drank like a quart a day or something. So much for “toxic”, eh?

    I’ve heard lots of similar tales from very old People. You know, the ones who out lived the doctors that told them to cut down on drinking, smoking and eating cheese. I think of these People whenever some know-it-all-do-gooder on a high horse tries to browbeat me about drinking and smoking.

    Anyway, Thanks Mark, Primal is fantastic. If it wasn’t for you and Karen and Lew I’d never have avoided last Winter’s weight gain.

    Also, here’s a partially primal present for certain People who read this old post, seeing as how I can’t figure out how to make any money from it:
    Switching from drinking, to stinking socks, is a big stretch, but I’ll try not to gross anyone out. I’ve found that my skin reacts to the substances which make up the insoles of modern shoes and the result is a stand back and gag odor.

    Lots of People have this problem and try All kinds of gizmos, powders and other “replacement” insoles with no relief.

    A salesman convinced me (pre-primal) to try leather insoles,… it worked… for like three years now. Now my toes no longer repel People. Pulling my socks off is no different than taking off any other item of clothing.

    So until those finger toe shoes have leather insoles, I’m not trying them.

    I know there’s a ton of teenagers could use this advise as I was one once. And of course, adults too.

    I think a lot of People are picking up on this as I’ve seen a big uptick in the number of shoes offered for sale in my area which are all leather.

    Not to plug these guys or anything, but the insole that works for me is made by Ecco. I’d give about everything to have had these as a teenager. YMMV.

    One other thing, have you ever written about bad breath?

    I know someone with Perfect teeth, and even they get bad breath, even after brushing their teeth. What’s the best thing to eat to head that off?
    I wonder… when the Person with Perfect teeth tried the Atkins diet it was almost constant bad breath… there’s a connection? Again, I am so thankful for you all in the Primal movement. It really is like a breath of fresh air.

    IndividualAudienceMember wrote on November 24th, 2012
  36. Unfortunately I am in need of these remedies today.

    Mark wrote on February 24th, 2013
    • Dr. Mercola advises against taking NAC as it could interfere with mercury toxicity, esp. if you still have mercury fillings. But perhaps not a problem with occasional NAC…

      Barry wrote on September 9th, 2013
  37. I meant mercury detoxification!

    Barry wrote on September 9th, 2013
  38. I found it interesting that this article mentions the body’s inflammatory processes as the likely cause of hangover symptoms. I’d guess that since you’re primal, the lack of grain intake has reduced the baseline amount of inflammation that your body has to deal with, so it has an increased ability to deal with the inflammation caused by the process of breaking down ethanol.

    Nina wrote on March 18th, 2014

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