Saturday, December 31, 2005

Hangovers. Does Anything Work?

New Year's Eve is known for revelry and is often enhanced by a few drinks -- sometimes a little more than a few drinks.

It might be fun at the time, but those who know the pain of a nasty hangover can imagine how helpful a hangover pill or patch might be.

Unfortunately, pills and patches now on the market "haven't been proven," according to "Good Morning America" medical contributor Dr. David Katz of the Yale Medical School.

The alleged cures "are a mix of various nutrients and there are some things -- particularly in the patch -- that could be helpful, but no proof," Katz said.

After thousands and thousands of years of alcohol consumption, medical professionals are still not really sure what causes a hangover -- but it likely is the result of imbibing major amounts of alcohol, which produces a toxin after the body processes it. When people drink too much, their livers are not able to keep up with processing the toxins.

"Alcohol also causes dehydration, and dehydration can cause headaches and nausea," Katz said. "Alcohol also disturbs sleep. So even though it feels like you slept 12 hours, you probably didn't get REM sleep, so you won't feel rested the next day."

Katz added that drinks with more chemicals in them produce worse hangovers. Wine, especially red wine, tends to be the worst.

Hangover Theories

Some people swear by Philly Cheese Steaks, milkshakes or pasta as hangover cures. Katz said that they might be on to something.

"It's probably beneficial to eat the morning after, and I'm not convinced that it matters much what you eat," Katz said. "The biggest thing is to drink plenty of water. That's going to be the best thing the next morning."

Do not believe the wives tale about the "hair of the dog" -- that another drink will help cure a morning hangover.

"When your liver is really stressed out metabolizing alcohol it's especially vulnerable to that," he said.

Katz also warned against taking Tylenol after a night of hard drinking. Tylenol can put additional stress on the liver. But those who can deal with plain old aspirin when sober can most likely tolerate it when drunk, Katz said.

Unfortunately for New Year's party-goers who get a little carried away, Katz said the natural cure for a hangover, which usually lasts between eight to 24 hours, is time.

NOTE: The following is practical advice given by one who has spent years surviving fairly brutal hangovers.

One thing is key. Prevention will save you better than any other thing. There is not enough to be said about this. Proper prevention will save you from the worst symptoms.

Before you go to bed take 2 Advil (or any headache pill that is made of Ibuprofen). This will save you every time. Do not even waste your time with Aspirin. And do not take Tylenol. Tylenol will destroy your liver if combined with alcohol- no lie! (see below)

In your list of hangover cures you mention taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetominophen. One thing you REALLY ought to be aware of --- if you plan on living very long -- is that acetominophen in combination with alcohol does HORRENDOUS liver damage. Alcohol alone damages the liver; and acetominophen (Tylenol ie.) does a little damage to the liver; but if you mix the two, the damage you incur is EXPONENTIAL. I'm sure you can find plenty of medical journals to calloborate this if you want to. This made news a while back. You can literally wreck your liver in a very short time if you mix Tylenol with alcohol.

Tylenol sucks anyway. Ibuprofen is the best. Case closed.

NOTE: if you forget to take the advil the night before you will wake up in a state where anything you swallow (especially pills) will make you puke, you'll never be able get that blessed Advil relief. You will have suffer through at least 2-3 hours of cold sweats and headaches. And that is no way to spend your weekend.

THE BLOODY MARY (the ultimate)
There is no substitue for a Bloody Mary. Ounce for ounce the curative factors involved in this drink are astonishing. There are not enough good things that can be said about this drink in curing a hangover.

And honestly, if you hate tomato juice, don't worry, I DESPISE tomato juice, it generally makes me sick thinking about it. BUT TRUST ME. Once you add the other ingredients it becomes a different substance, which you will really love! That is a science fact!

It is the ultimate weapon in any fight against hangover pain. The only problem is you will become progressively more useless as you drink more and more of them, but then you weren't going to do anything anyway. And certainly, if you had that hangover still you'd be lying in bed will the blinds closed!

2 oz Vodka
6 oz Tomato Juice (NOTE: if you can find "Beefamato," use it- this will make the ultimate Bloody Mary. So good you will be amazed actually)
4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (this may be the secret 'x' ingredient)
2-3 drops tabasco sauce
A celery stick should be jammed into this thing also - you can consider the celery stick 'breakfast.'

You will feel better in about 15 minutes.

This one works like a charm for most people. It also tastes really good. We aren't going to tell you how to prepare this because it should be pretty self-explanatory. Even to the stupid. Best choice is to go out to a "Diner" for this.

The Milkshake is the really amazing final touch. It will calm the stomach and relax you. Many stories of success with this combo. It also taste really good. Remember that Beef is your friend.

This one may seem a bit strange but let me just say that it does work. That is a 100% guarantee. If you can't get out to a place the makes this stuff, just buy the Campbell's Chunky Soup version. Add some pepper (if you like pepper). Eat it. Then fall back asleep. You will awake in an hour feeling better than you could possibly imagined.

Note: On the east coast of the United States you can go to this place called "Friendly's." They have the best hangover combo, which is the following 1. New England Clam Chowder 2. "A Big Beef" 3. Chocolate Fribble." It works - in fact - it saved my college career (in drinking).


This is a typical San Antonio remedy. One Bean & Cheese Taco and your favorite Breakfast Taco, (I recommend a Chilequias), both on flour tortillas with hot sauce. Wash them down with an ice cold Big Red soda. Works every time! Sometimes a cup or two of good coffee helps as well, but for some strange reason, Mexican restaurants seem to have the absolute worst coffee, so you might need a extra stop unless you've got some good stuff at home.

This works best when it's all brought to you couch side by someone that really loves you.

Be nice, be safe and don't be stupid tonight.

Happy New Year Y'all!

Thanks to ABC News and Blur Of