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Revitalize Your Morning: Nine Effective Remedies to Banish That Hangover

Revitalize Your Morning: Nine Effective Remedies to Banish That Hangover
Thursday, 14 December 2023 06:42

"Waking Up to the Consequences: The Midlife Hangover Dilemma

I wake with a groan, the aftermath of last night's indulgence in free-flowing champagne lingering in every muscle. The company was delightful, but the canapés were scarce, and the transition from work to the party was abrupt. Today, the world seems too loud, and my body protests every movement. The anatomy of a midlife hangover is no pleasant read, especially after a weekend of Christmas revelry when our bodies grapple with the aftermath of festive celebrations.

The irony is palpable — we, in midlife, boast about drinking less and choosing quality over quantity. Alcohol-free days become a source of pride, yet the hangovers persist. Clinical nutritional therapist Stephanie Moore cuts through the irony with a straightforward explanation. “You don’t go out to get drunk in the way people do when they’re younger. You want to relax and enjoy nice alcohol. And that can be done to a moderate level without any obvious physiological effect — i.e. drunkenness — but you’re still going to screw your sleep, absolutely burden your liver and impact your gut microbiome,” she says.

Moore, a red wine enthusiast herself, emphasizes moderation due to her understanding of the science behind alcohol's impact on the body. The truth is hard to swallow – alcohol is inherently toxic. Professor David Nutt from Imperial College London likens it to a hypothetical food additive, saying, “If you were to discover ethanol [alcohol] today, and think, ‘Wow, this is a wonderful food additive to put in a trifle, and you put it through the food safety testing requirements, the maximum recommended limit would be a single glass of wine per year.”

Despite being a small malt whisky enthusiast and co-owner of a wine shop, Professor Nutt stresses the need to use alcohol more safely, acknowledging its toxicity compared to substances like cannabis or MDMA. The liver's average time to break down one unit of alcohol is an hour, offering a semblance of reassurance. However, multiple drinks slow down the metabolism process, extending the time it takes for the body to eliminate alcohol, often up to 12 hours. Even after leaving the bloodstream, alcohol lingers in the digestive system, placing an enduring burden on the liver.

As we raise our glasses, savoring the moment, it's essential to be cognizant of alcohol's impact and consider safer consumption practices for the well-being of our bodies in the long run."

"Navigating the Hangover Maze in Midlife: Why the Aftermath Hits Harder

As the midlife reveler, the morning after a night of celebration often unfolds as a painful reminder of age's impact on our bodies. Dr. Megan Rossi sheds light on a crucial enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), responsible for breaking down alcohol in the liver. Unfortunately, from the age of 50 onward, we lose ADH effectiveness, allowing toxic aldehyde to linger in the body, leading to increased nausea and headaches.

The liver, the unsung hero in processing alcohol, temporarily shifts its focus, shutting down other essential functions until it filters alcohol from the blood. This 12-hour mark marks the onset of the true hangover experience, accompanied by the plummeting of the feel-good brain hormone dopamine and the unwelcome arrival of self-loathing. Karen Tyrell, Drinkaware’s CEO, highlights that aging brings changes to body and muscle mass, influencing how quickly alcohol is processed.

Additionally, older drinkers often take medication, introducing another layer of complexity to alcohol interactions that remains insufficiently addressed. The recovery process from a night of revelry can extend up to 72 hours for the brain and body to return to equilibrium. However, the good news lies in strategies to accelerate recovery or, better yet, prevent a hangover altogether.

Despite alcohol's initial impact, inducing feelings of warmth and confidence, the aftermath unfolds as a complex interplay within the brain and central nervous system. Clinical nutritionist Stephanie Moore describes the impact on the brain's blood-brain barrier, allowing substances that shouldn't penetrate the brain to seep through. Professor Nutt emphasizes that beyond slow brain pickling, alcohol impairs judgment, increasing the risk of accidents and rule-breaking.

As we navigate the maze of midlife hangovers, experts offer insights into the damage caused by excessive revelry and provide solutions for faster recovery or, ideally, the prevention of the notorious morning-after woes."

"Unveiling the Aftermath: How Alcohol Wreaks Havoc on the Body

Dr. Rossi, a research fellow at King’s College London and an authority on the gut microbiome, exposes the hidden toll of alcohol on our bodies. Not only does alcohol induce a temporary leakiness in the gut lining, allowing normally restricted substances to enter the bloodstream, but it also triggers low-grade inflammation, leaving us feeling unwell. Over the next 72 hours, the digestive tract may retaliate with stomach pain, constipation, and heightened stomach acid, indicative of inflammation and the likely demise of healthy microbes.

The impact extends to our bathroom habits, as alcohol influences motility in the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. A leaky gut contributes to low-level inflammation, disrupting effective coordination in gut muscles and resulting in looser stools and reflux. Dr. Rossi humorously notes, 'That’s also why people get reflux.'

The repercussions of alcohol reach beyond the digestive system. Dr. Moore explains that when toxins and undesirable substances breach the gut and enter the bloodstream, it creates 'toxic blood,' leading to headaches and a delicate overall feeling. The systemic inflammation extends beyond the liver and gut, circulating throughout the body.

The disruption isn't limited to physical discomfort; it delves into the realm of sleep and metabolism. Dr. Moore emphasizes the significance of delta sleep for long-term neurological health, which is hindered by alcohol's interference. As the liver prioritizes breaking down ethanol, it generates heat, preventing the body from reaching the necessary temperature for deep cleaning during sleep.

Moreover, alcohol disrupts the body's fat-burning process at night. Dr. Moore elaborates on the liver's prioritization of ethanol breakdown, leaving crucial detoxification and the conversion of body fat into ready fuel unattended. This metabolic imbalance can lead to disrupted sleep, waking up at 3 am due to crashing blood sugar, accompanied by an adrenaline surge and cravings for a carbohydrate hit.

As we uncork the bottle, it's essential to recognize the intricate dance of consequences alcohol performs within our bodies, influencing everything from digestion to sleep and metabolism."

"Navigating the Highs and Lows: The Psychology of Alcohol Consumption

The party atmosphere often accompanies a sense of euphoria, but the more alcohol one consumes in a session, the pendulum swings toward tension and anxiety, driven by the impact on brain chemicals. Dr. Craig Gunn, a Lecturer at the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Bristol, explains the biphasic nature of alcohol's effects. At low to moderate concentrations, it fosters increased sociability and relaxation, but as blood alcohol concentration rises, it transforms into a depressant, leading to lower dopamine levels during a hangover and contributing to negative moods.

Dr. Rossi adopts a preemptive dietary strategy before a party, emphasizing high-fiber foods like legumes, quinoa, whole-grain bread, nuts, and seeds to fortify the gut lining. The morning after, she opts for fiber-loaded options like baked beans to soothe the gut.

Stephanie Moore advises incorporating a fatty protein snack before heading out, creating a buffer in the stomach that slows alcohol absorption into the bloodstream. Red wine and dark beers rich in polyphenols are recommended by Dr. Rossi, as these plant chemicals support good gut bacteria and aid in fighting infections. Moore favors a good tequila for its impact on alcohol absorption. Professor Nutt suggests lighter options like light beer or Campari, cautioning against the faster intoxication potential of champagne and Prosecco due to increased alcohol absorption with bubbles.

Understanding the psychological and physiological intricacies of alcohol consumption allows for a more informed approach, promoting enjoyment while mitigating the potential pitfalls of excessive drinking."

"Decoding the Drink: Strategies for Responsible and Enjoyable Alcohol Consumption

Professor Nutt unravels the complexities of champagne, cautioning against its rapid absorption that can lead to a swift peak of drunkenness. The liberating effects of alcohol on inhibitions create a slippery slope, prompting the need for mindful serving practices. Professor Nutt advocates abstaining from serving anything before the meal, delaying alcohol consumption until after the meal to savor it slowly with the added benefit of fatty foods slowing stomach emptying and alcohol uptake.

To support the liver's ethanol detoxification phases, Moore recommends incorporating milk thistle before a night out. She emphasizes the importance of choosing mixers with no high fructose corn syrup, suggesting vodka with soda and lime or a quality gin like Stin dry gin, promoting slower sipping and reduced overconsumption.

Dr. Rossi sounds a warning about non-steroidal medications like paracetamol, highlighting their potential to irritate the stomach and the importance of taking them with food to mitigate risks of stomach ulcers. As a final piece of advice, Moore encourages a sensible approach to partying, allowing the body two to three days, ideally four, before indulging again. This timeframe aligns with the gut lining's replenishment cycle, offering the body a chance to reboot and mend.

Navigating the nuanced landscape of alcohol consumption requires an understanding of its effects and careful choices to ensure an enjoyable experience without compromising well-being."

"Revolutionizing Celebrations: Health-Conscious Alternatives to Alcohol

Stephanie Moore advocates for thoughtful alternatives at office parties, suggesting kombucha or water kefir as non-alcoholic options or for mixing with spirits, highlighting their health benefits. Professor David Nutt introduces Sentia, a zero-alcohol botanical spirit designed to closely replicate the convivial effects of alcohol by targeting the GABA system in the frontal part of the brain responsible for relaxation.

Professor Nutt emphasizes that staying within recommended limits or spreading alcohol consumption over time minimizes its potential harms. He underscores the importance of mitigating loneliness, which can have a more significant impact on life expectancy. Stephanie Moore points out the absence of physiological benefits from alcohol, classifying it as gut, liver, and brain toxic. However, she acknowledges the social aspect, highlighting the potential gains in sociability and coming together.

Balancing the pleasures of social interaction with health-conscious choices allows for celebrations that prioritize well-being. For those interested in assessing their drinking habits, the Drinking Check survey on www.drinkaware.co.uk provides valuable insights."

"In conclusion, redefining our approach to alcohol consumption involves a nuanced understanding of its effects and potential alternatives. The intricate dance between pleasure and physiological impact requires mindful choices, as demonstrated by health-conscious suggestions for office parties and the introduction of zero-alcohol botanical spirits like Sentia. Professor Nutt and Stephanie Moore stress the importance of staying within recommended limits, considering the social benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, and addressing loneliness as a crucial factor in overall well-being. As we navigate the complex landscape of celebrations, balancing enjoyment with health-conscious choices becomes key, fostering a culture of responsible and thoughtful drinking."

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