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Hangovers – Prevention Better Than Cure

A study presented at a recent meeting of the European College of Neuropharmacology suggests that water is relatively ineffective at alleviating hangovers. A group of researchers led by the Dr Joris Verster of Utrecht University asked 789 Canadian students to recount the number of drinks they had consumed during the previous month, the length of time it took them to consume them, and the number of hangovers they experienced. Typical symptoms of a hangover – the body’s reaction to excessive alcohol consumption – include headaches, fatigue, nausea, thirst and tremor.

The authors found that despite 25-30% of participants claiming they never experienced hangovers, nobody was ‘immune’. Furthermore, common methods of resolving a hangover – such as drinking water, eating fatty foods and having an ‘eye-opener’ – were deemed to be futile. While drinking water may address the problem of thirst, it does little to solve the problem of vomiting. It seems the only way of truly waking up hangover-free is to act pre-emptively and drink less the night before.

Looking to the future, Dr. Verster said, “these are early questionnaire-based studies, and are amongst the first of their kind. This means they have limitations, but they do give us an indication of what happens. Our next step is to move forward with more controlled trials.”

Perhaps those of us guilty of having one too many too many times shouldn’t wait for the more reliable and substantiated evidence to be published to learn to drink less.

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