Friday, August 6, 2010

Draft Beer, Not People

Did your pledge to celebrate international beer day yesterday result in waking up on a stranger’s lawn? Did your plan to just stop by happy hour to try the De Molen Donder & Bliksem Doppelbock later result in difficult questions like, “Where are your pants?" Did you sit down to a delicious breakfast of Tylenol and coffee this morning? If you answered yes to any of these questions, valuable information follows.

First the bad news - you have a hangover and no proven cure exists. The good news is that this is a research based blog and you owe it to the research community to try a few of the following possible hangover cures to confirm or deny these hypotheses.

Some ideas of known origins:
  • Everyone’s favorite Roman, Pliny the Elder - raw owl eggs, or fried canary
  • The Ritz-Carlton hotel, 1938 - Coca-Cola and milk
  • Big time drinker Earnest Hemingway – beer and tomato juice
  • The Paris World Exposition, 1878 – “The Prairie Oyster" (raw egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper)
  • Wayne State University Study, 1957 – fried food, tomato juice, and sexual activity
Ideas of unknown origins (or suggestions no one will admit to)

Hair of the dog – This is the common idea that a little more alcohol will make you feel better. Scientists will tell us that the body is going through alcohol withdrawal and introducing more alcohol will only delay the inevitable. Does this explain how I can eat an entire pizza and still want more pizza the next day? Probably not.

Artichoke – Trying to get into one of these damn things might make you forget about your hangover, but an actual scientific study in 2003 proved that “artichoke extract is not effective in preventing the signs and symptoms of alcohol-induced hangover."

Propranolol – LOL This classic beta blocker will steady your hands, (just ask North Korean pistol shooter Kim Jong Su who used it to win two gold medals in the 2008 Winter Olympics), but won’t do a thing for that tequila taste permanently lodged in the of the back of your throat.

Sugar – there are some suggestions that fructose and glucose inhibit metabolic disturbances induced by alcohol. Don’t be stingy with the maple syrup on your next day’s pancakes.

Want more suggestions? Check out this video.

Have any full proof method's of your own? It's the weekend - you should share!

Want to read more?
Check out these posts from the New Voices archives: The Science of Beer and St. Patrick's Day Special: Beer.

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  1. Good article. Unfortunately, I have learned about all these remedies by first hand experience. My suggestion is back off the booze.

  2. Hangovers are due to the overworking your alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes which subsequently results in a buildup of acetylaldehyde in the blood and a splitting headache. The alcoholic 'prevention' drug Anabuse does essentially the same thing by blocking the enzyme. I've found that good hangover cures include the big glass of water and a handful of ibuprofen around 5am or V8/tomato juice with B vitamins to aid in metabolism. Don't take Tylenol, alcohol also induces CYP2E1 which metabolizes acetaminophen into a carcinogen, hence the alcohol warnings on the bottle. One good thing to remember...hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.