We've all had insufferable hangovers with pounding headaches and the inability to function after consuming alcohol. And for those of you under 40, we're sorry to tell you, but it's only going to get worse.
According to a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania, alcohol hits people harder in their 40s and 50s. And while this may seem obvious (most of us can't handle those drunken stupors from our 20s anymore), the study found our bodies also become more sensitive to ingredients like sulphites and tannins in wine, often resulting in nausea or headaches after drinking, according to the Daily Mail.
"All of the effects of alcohol are sort of amplified with age," said David W. Oslin, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania to the Washington Street Journal. "Withdrawal is a little bit more complicated. Hangovers are a little bit more complicated."
But the main reasons hangovers after 40 are more painful include tolerance levels, which tend to decrease as one gets older, liver function and the body's inability to stay hydrated. The study also found people tend to lose muscle mass, increase fat content (which doesn't hold any alcohol) and have less body water as they age. Mixing prescriptions with booze isn't doing anyone any good either.
Other reports have found alcohol can also play a role in making you look older. According to writer and registered nurse Jodi Sawyer of "The Dr. Oz Show," drinking excessive alcohol can cause premature wrinkles, loss of collagen, elasticity, redness and puffiness as we age. She also adds that heavy drinking gets riskier with age, and some people can even suffer from liver disease, brain damage and heart disease.
How often are you drinking these days? Let us know in the comments below:
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Eating Some Asparagus
The Journal of Food Science has revealed that <a href="http://www.ift.org/newsroom/news-releases/2009/august/13/asparagus-extracts.aspx">this spring vegetable might be the cure</a> for your post-partying pain. A study from the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in South Korea tested the effect that eating asparagus has on hangovers. The results showed that amino acids and minerals found in the vegetable can protect liver cells from toxins. This process can help prevent nausea, fatigue and headaches.
Increasing Water Intake
Drinking plenty of water or other hydrating fluids is a simple way to treat hangovers. While it won't offer a complete hangover cure, it definitely helps. "Alcohol thins the blood, which is 70 percent water, so it can affect the fluid balance," says Pete McCall, M.S., an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise. "Drinking water helps restore necessary fluids and can help the bloodstream and circulatory system carry nutrients and oxygen to the tissue and remove the wastes from a night of excessive consumption."
Nibbling Toast With Honey
This is a traditional method used to treat hangovers, but evidence suggests that any high-carb, high-sugar snack might give you only a temporary boost. "Excessive alcohol consumption can negatively affect the metabolism of glucose, so having a snack like this that is high in carbs and sugars (the fructose in the honey) can help elevate blood sugar and provide some immediate energy," says McCall.
Guzzling Sports Drinks
Here again, the extra electrolytes -- really just salts and sugars -- found in sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade might give them an edge over plain old water to treat a hangover. "Sports drinks will elevate blood glucose and can elevate sodium levels, which helps muscle cells uptake and use water, leading to quicker rehydration," says McCall.
Loading Up On Vitamins And Minerals
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association, says that vitamin C and magnesium can help the body break down alcohol and eliminate it from the body, making these two supplements a viable hangover remedy. “One of the most absorbable forms of nutritional magnesium is magnesium citrate powder, which can be taken with hot or cold water,” says Dean.
Sipping A Cup Of Joe
The caffeine found in a classic cup of coffee can give you a short-term boost, but its dehydrating effects could limits its effectiveness as a hangover cure, says Weiss. "Caffeine, which could wake you up, can also dehydrate you, potentially making the situation worse," he says. Though having coffee has only temporary and limited effects, it remains a popular way to initially ease a hangover.
Knocking Back Some Hair Of The Dog
"Hair of the dog," or waking up and having another alcoholic drink, may be a feel-good hangover cure (at least temporarily), but this traditional college approach to ease a hangover really doesn't help. "If an individual is planning to be active, recreationally or competitively, this is not a good idea at all," says McCall. "Drinking more alcohol will continue to disrupt blood chemistry and hydration, as well as impair cognitive function and muscular coordination."
Wolfing Down Greasy Food
A greasy breakfast for a hangover remedy may give your body a short-term boost. "Besides glucose, alcohol reduces the amount of circulating free fatty acids in the bloodstream," says McCall. "A breakfast high in carbohydrate and fat content can help to elevate blood glucose and free fatty acid levels in the short term." However, for the long term, it’s not such a good idea.
Pushing Through A Workout
Of all the possible and popular hangover cures, experts say that this one works the best, improving circulation and pumping up your mood-boosting hormones. The only hurdle is talking yourself into doing it. If you can, McCall has this advice: "Exercising during a hangover should be limited to low-to-moderate intensity exercise, since the hangover will negatively impact cognitive ability, motor control and coordination."
Getting Busy In The Bedroom
Here again, a little morning romp may make you feel much better to ease a hangover -- if you can psych yourself (and your partner) up for it. "Sex with a hangover may be tough for all of the reasons we have discussed," says Weiss. "I've never seen any data to support its use for hangover, but there is no harm in trying."