Sunday 24 February 2013

A nutritional guide to recovering from a festival hangover by David Stache of S1 Supplements - As featured in Exposed Magazine

A nutritional guide to recovering from a festival hangover by David Stache of S1 Supplements - As featured in Exposed Magazine

If there was a magi pill we could take that would instantly rid us of the monstrous hangover that precedes a full day and night’s drinking at a festival then I’m sure it would be pretty expensive, I also know I would have invested heavily over the years if such a thing existed! Unfortunately nothing quite so magical exists. However there are nutritional tips, tricks and strategies as well as supplements that you can use which will make the following day more bearable. Here’s your quick guide to making sure recovery is as painless as possible

A hangover is the end result of not only a good night but other physiological factors, here’s a look at the main one’s

Dehydration – the one everyone knows about and probably the most important. Once alcohol enters the bloodstream it stops the pituitary gland from creating vasopressin an anti diuretic hormone which tells your body it’s time to release fluid, resulting in all further liquid going directly to the bladder rather than being absorbed by the body thus leading to dehydration. Studies have shown that 250 millilitres of alcohol cause the body to expel four times as much liquid in waste. This dehydration is what leads to headaches the next day.

Electrolyte loss – as the consumed liquid goes straight to the bladder and your toilet visits become more regular you will literally be flushing electrolytes away, those being key salt and potassium. Ever woke up with muscle cramps the next day too, this is why.

Glycogen loss – stored within the liver and muscles this converted glucose (converted from carbohydrates) is converted back to glucose and sent out of the body in your urine, that not WKD you can smell, it’s your energy stores! This is why you feel fatigued, lack coordination and lack energy the next day.

Toxins – once alcohol is broken down in the liver it leaves behind the toxin acetaldehyde, as this is so toxic the body sends 2 compounds to attack this toxin (think angry doormen ejecting you from a club) known as acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (say that after a few Jaegers!) and glutathione. The problem arises in the fact the liver has only a limited amount of these compounds which leads to a build up of the toxins as you drink more which causes liver damage.

Glutamine loss – glutamine (an amino acid) is inhibited once alcohol enters the bloodstream and once you stop drinking the body tries to make up this loss and it is this which leads to the psychological side effects post alcohol consumption as Glutamine is a natural stimulant and source of energy for the brain and nervous system so the yo yo like effect leads to side effects such as anxiety, restlessness and tremors. This effect is also the reason you will not reach a deep enough sleep, which is vital for recovering.

What about vomiting? Well this effect comes from the stomach producing too much hydrochloric acid which tells the brain the stomach’s not happy, what happens after this a nauseous feeling and usually for most a couple of minutes praying at the porcelain altar.

So there you have the reasons for a hangover but what about the tips and tricks, well here’s my top supplement and nutritional tips to make the hangover a little more bearable

Food wise some people swear by a greasy full English breakfast which is not as crazy as it may first seem, the eggs contain cysteine which breaks down acetaldehyde in the liver’s depleted glutathione, plus you will get the benefits of the high calories resorting energy levels. A much better approach is to not drink on an empty stomach as with no food in the stomach the alcohol hits the bloodstream quicker, so a full English before you go out would be the better option.

To remedy the loss of electrolytes especially potassium then bananas should be your go to food, however a bottle of sports drink will also replenish stores very quickly.

With dehydration being key you simply must consume water to rehydrate the body, a pint of water before you go to bed might be too late and will almost certainly have you up using the toilet in the middle of the night but does help to fight against dehydration once your body has broken the alcohol down so either drink plenty of water between alcoholic drinks which acts to slow down your drinking and limit alcohol consumption or have a glass ready for when you wake up, getting rehydrated as quick as possible is the best way to ease a hangover.

Fruit/orange juice contains fructose and many vitamins and minerals, which were depleted the night before and are very quickly absorbed by the body, so are always a good option, as are quickly absorbed forms of Vitamin B and C.

Most people simply reach for some form of painkillers and wash down with their coffee but that is not an advisable way of dealing with a hangover, for a start coffee is a diuretic which will make you pass more fluid than you are taking on and many of the pain killers will have further effect on the liver, however ibuprofen and aspirin inhibit prostaglandins which are associated with increased hangover severity.

Supplements wise there are 3 which are key, however one which is the most common, that being Milk Thistle is really not needed or of any use to the weekend drinker as it does not work as a quick fix and is therefore best used by those who have long term liver damage.

The second and probably the most acute one is L-Methionine which works by bonding with the alcohol in the liver and producing citric acid thus removing the toxins, if you only give one supplement a try to ease your hangover it should be this one, it’s backed by science and really works, taking 1000-2000mg either towards the end of your night or before bed is the best method, just don’t get caught popping innocent pills in a club!

To complement this Vitamin B6 is a great addition as it acts as a diuretic to flush the leftover toxins from your body.

So the perfect pre-festival (tramlines) plan would look something like this:

Before your head off have a heavy meal containing fats, carbohydrates and some protein. This slows the absorption of alcohol down and also fills your bodies energy stores for the hard days/nights dancing ahead

While out make a conscious effort to drink water, this slows your drinking rate down giving the body time to process the alcohol consumed and deal with it, you’ll still get drunk but the after effects left behind will be dealt with easier.

Take 1000-2000mg of L-Methionine before you go to bed along with 100mg of vitamin B6 and a glass of water; leave a glass of water by the bed for when you wake up too.

First meal of the day have a banana and fruit juice, this replenishes vitamins, minerals and glycogen, follow this when ready with some heart poached eggs on whole meal toast with real butter and a cup of redbush tea (great for rehydrating).

Finally swear never to drink again and moan on Facebook just how your hangover is the worst ever and you require lots of sympathy.

If after reading all of that you still think Hair of the Dog is the best method then crack on and enjoy the further compounded hangover you are merely delaying!

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