Drinking water does nothing to cure a hangover: study

While the best way to avoid a hangover seems to be to avoid drinking completely, there are some suggestions to keep hangovers away.
While the best way to avoid a hangover seems to be to avoid drinking completely, there are some suggestions to keep hangovers away.

DRINKING lots of water will do nothing to cure a hangover, scientists have found.

Despite being perceived as one of the best ways to end the misery of the morning after the night before, researchers have now claimed to confirm that all attempts to rehydrate the body do nothing to stop the effects of a hangover.

"Most people, myself included, grew up thinking that you needed to drink as much water in between alcoholic drinks to reduce the hangover," Professor Kypros Kypri, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Australia, told

"And there's is a good reason for doing that, to reduce your consumption. But it doesn't seem to reduce the hangover effect.

Despite being such a widespread (though broadly self-inflicted) problem, scientists still don't fully understand what causes a hangover.

Professor Kypri explained that scientists have known for some time that the metabolism of alcohol involves the conversation of the chemical compound acetaldehyde, or ethanal.

Although people process or metabolise alcohol at different speeds, some may lack the enzymes to clear alcohol from their bodies efficiently.

Are hangover cures a myth?

Hangover cures are generally a myth, according to the NHS.

"There are no cures for a hangover," the NHS Choices website says. "There are tips to avoiding hangovers and for easing the symptoms if you have one.

"The best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink."

Drinking more alcohol, or Hair of the Dog, may be one of the most widespread hangover myths.

Ernest Hemingway recommended a combination of tomato juice and beer while Kingsley Amis suggested a mixture of Bovril - a salty meat extract - and vodka.

While Hair of the Dog might give temporary relief from a hangover, the body has to process the additional alcohol on top of what you drank the night before.

Taking painkillers before you sleep are also said to have little effect on hangovers. Lifehacker notes that you'll be asleep for most of their effective time, and says they're hard on your stomach and liver. It's best to save them for the next day if they're necessary.

How can I avoid a hangover?

While the best way to avoid a hangover seems to be to avoid drinking completely, most scientific advice comes in the form of recommendations about how to keep hangovers away.

NHS Choices recommends you don't drink on an empty stomach, and suggests you have a meal that includes carbohydrates - such as pasta or rice - or fats, which slow down the body's absorption of alcohol.

You should avoid dark-coloured drinks, which contain congeners, substances produced during fermentation which irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain.

The NHS also suggests replacing lost fluids by drinking water or isotonic drinks in order to rehydrate the body.

Unfortunately, it seems only time can cure a hangover.

Topics:  drinking water editors picks hangover

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