About Hangovers



What is acetaldehyde?

The leading cause of hangover is a toxic substance called 'acetaldehyde' which is not contained in alcohol itself, but in the body's alcoholysis process. It is 30 times more toxic than alcohol and causes atopy and rhinitis.

When alcohol enters our body, it is primarily degraded to acetaldehyde by ADH (Alcohol dehydrogenase) in the liver. Acetaldehyde is secondarily degraded to water and acetic acid by the action of ALDH (acetaldehyde degrading enzyme), which causes acetaldehyde to circulate throughout the body and cause various kinds of pain. This is a hangover.



  • Headache, stomachache, muscle pain:

One of the biggest issues of having a hangover is dehydration. The most common symptom of hangover is pain, which is caused by un-degraded acetaldehyde. In cases of headache, alcohol itself may be the cause. Tannin-rich wines cause headaches more often than others.

  • Liver:

The organ that gets the direct hit of alcohol effects is the liver. If the level of liver alcohol detoxification exceeds, alcoholic fatty liver, hepatitis, and liver cirrhosis may develop. Alcoholic fatty liver means that liver fat accumulates more than 5% around it. Hepatitis and liver cirrhosis are diseases in which hepatocytes are destroyed and the liver becomes hard and inflamed.

  • Spine:

People with weak spines usually feel that their back pain is worse the next day after drinking. Supporting the spine are muscles and ligaments, which require protein. However, if you overdrink alcohol, the protein you need at this time will be used to decompose alcohol. In turn, muscles and ligaments are bound to weaken. So, sitting in a bad posture after drinking is harmful to your spine.

  • Intestine, anus:

Heavy drinking makes anal health worse. This is because alcohol expands blood vessels in the anal region and swells the mucous membranes. The enlarged blood vessels also affect the intravenous veins and cause pain. Alcohol also damages the large intestine mucosa, which can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, such as diarrhea and constipation.


Hangover cures; myth, legend and fact

  • Sober up after a deep sleep? Wrong.

    One of the biggest misunderstanding of people who are over-drunk, is that when they wake up, they sober up. This is not true. Even after a deep sleep, you can still have alcohol present in your system. If you get behind the wheel and drive to work, you could still be arrested with a DUI. Police consider driving with a hangover as a drunk driving.

    • Fresh air will sober you up? Will get you a cold.

      There are a lot of people who believe that when they are banging their head and feel nauseous, they “get better by breathing fresh air.” However, hangover means that the body's toxins are less degraded, and the body's immune system is less. At this time, if you suddenly get a cold wind, you can easily catch a cold.

      • Aspirin for the headache? Killing your liver twice

        Oftentimes, with hangovers, we get headaches and want to reach for aspirin for relief. But taking aspirin after drinking is like eating poison because it increases the toxicity of the liver and damages more severely. Aspirin, as well as other analgesics, can also cause gastrointestinal damage, so it is best not to take it for hangover.

        • Hair of the dog (a.k.a. drinking more alcohol)

          Unfortunately, it's completely ineffective. Drinking when you're suffering from a hangover makes you temporarily feel better simply because alcohol dulls your senses. You might achieve temporary relief from your hangover but you'll just prolong the agony. Your body has to process all the toxins you imbibed the night before, and giving it more just extends the timeline for recovery.

          • Drinking juice/coffee afterward

            The base premise behind both of these seems to be that drinking lots of juice or coffee will speed up your metabolism and thus the processing of the alcohol. The problem with juice is that it would take gallons of juice to get enough sugar in your system to really change your metabolic rate. Coffee fails in the same way.


            Definition of Hangover

            Hangover is an unpleasant experience that occurs either physically or mentally after taking an alcoholic beverage and results in a decline in mental and physical performance. Hangovers can last from hours to days.


            Symptoms of Hangover

            Major symptoms include headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, loss of concentration, dryness, fatigue, satiety, hyperactivity, irritability and depression, and sweating. Changes in sleep patterns and gastrointestinal discomfort, can occur occasionally. Reduced cognitive ability is an important symptom of alcohol-induced hangover. Alcohol hangover is usually seen when the blood alcohol concentration drops to near zero.


            Why does Hangover occur?

            Acetaldehyde (ethanal)

            Acetaldehyde is an organic chemical compound whose molecular structure is CH3CHO and is an important substance of aldehyde. Acetaldehyde also exists in coffee, bread, and soup. It is produced in the liver by oxidation of alcohol and alcohol dehydrogenase. Accumulation of this substance in the body causes hangover. Acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of ethanol, has been found to be a major source of alcoholic liver damage due to its high reactivity and toxicity compared to ethanol.

            Acetaldehyde inhibits the respiration of the mitochondria, which is an intracellular energy producing organ, and inhibits the oxidative phosphorylation reaction. It also binds to membrane proteins and collagen proteins to form antibodies. It has been shown to inhibit the release mechanism of hepatocyte-secreted proteins.

            Aldehyde dehydrogenase, which is the main enzyme involved in the oxidation of aldehydes including acetaldehyde, is widely distributed in many organs and tissues including the liver, kidney, heart and stomach, and it also exists in cytosol, mitochondria and microsome showing wide substrate specificity. Aldehyde dehydrogenase is capable of responding to the nature of drug metabolizing enzymes. Therefore, it is known that when aldehyde dehydrogenase activity changes in liver by some factor, it plays an important role in detoxification and metabolism of active aldehyde.

            In this process, alcohol and acetaldehyde damage hepatocytes and brain cells, cause vomiting and headache, and cause severe chills and abdominal pain. This physiological phenomenon causes hangover. In addition, people who lack alcohol dehydrogenase add more burden to liver function which will interfere with normal metabolism, causing more hangover symptoms. In particular, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase has a Type II that initiates oxidation even when acetaldehyde is low, and Type I that does not act if acetaldehyde is not used at a high concentration. However, Asian people generally have a low acetaldehyde oxidation because of lack or lack of Type II acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. Therefore, acetaldehyde and ethanol are not oxidized by the toxic action of the normal metabolism.

            In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) designated the endogenous acetaldehyde produced after taking alcoholic beverages as a primary carcinogen (Group 1 carcinogen). (Zhou, Ying; Li, Chaoyang; Huijbregts, Mark A. J.; Mumtaz, M. Moiz (2015-10-07) also asserted that acetaldehyde binds to proteins and damages DNA and muscle development.

            Relieving Hangover

            According to the British Medical Journal, “There is no proper way to relieve hangovers, whether traditional or complementary,” he said. “The way to prevent or treat hangovers is not to drink alcoholic beverages.” He said. Most treatments do not completely eliminate hangovers. However, in order to develop an agent capable of decreasing the blood alcohol concentration as one of the methods for eliminating hangover caused by alcohol consumption, there have been developed a number of drinks produced by using a herbal medicine or an artificial agent alone or in combination. There is no developed medicinal product, but a hangover remedy is used as a liver protection agent and to relieve hangover after drinking alcohol.

            The ingredients added to the hangover beverage suppress the alcohol absorption, promote the alcohol metabolism, reduce the alcohol concentration in the blood, protect the liver cells from the alcohol and apply the gastric mucosa to prevent gastrointestinal mucosal damage by alcohol.

            In addition, strong intestinal deodorization action, eliminating alcohol and food odor after drinking, inhibiting the formation of toxic elements in the intestines, maintaining intestinal bacterial colonies, and may also play a role in alleviating colonic symptoms caused by alcohol.

            Lastly, it is known that it exhibits the effect of eliminating intestinal decay products such as ammonia and indole, purifying blood, protecting kidneys, and relieving a hangover phenomenon caused by alcohol, thereby preventing deterioration of physical condition.


            Hangover reliever is better as a liquid form

            There are a variety of hangover relievers currently on the market. It is divided into drink form, jelly, candy, and tablets, and people are interested in quick hangover reliefs. What is the fastest effect among beverages, jellies, candy, as hangover relievers? In general terms, drink-type hangover relief will be most effective. In the case of beverages, it can be absorbed immediately as the hangover solution is already dissolved. But candy, jelly, and rings all go through the process of decomposition, and then to absorption.

            Hangover Fun Facts

            1. Dark liquors like whisky, rum, and tequila have higher levels of congeners, which are toxic compounds that occur during alcohol fermentation, which will produce a very bad hangover.
            2. Instagram posts on hangovers are the most frequent in January.
            3. There is a service in Las Vegas that will come to you and cure a hangover with IV fluids and vitamins.
            4. Eating pears before drinking reduces the severity of a hangover.
            5. A type of soup is traditionally eaten to chase away hangovers in Korea, called “soup to get sober.”
            6. Tequila gives you a worse hangover because it has higher levels of methanol from the fiber content of Agave.
            7. Coffee won't help you get over a hangover but only might sharpen your sense and make you believe it did.
            8. US companies lose approximately $148 billion annually due to hangovers from employees missing work and poor job performance.
            9. Studies have found that roughly 25 to 30 percent of the population seems to be resistant to hangovers, which is likely due to “a very effective ethanol metabolism.”
            10. Carbonated beverages make hangovers worse - If you drink bubbly drinks, [the gas] causes your pyloric valve to open.
            11. Women have a higher risk of hangovers than men. The body's water content is to blame for a woman's more potent hangover. Women have less body water due to the fact that they have more body fat (which holds less water) while men have more muscle (which is made up mostly of water).