It’s New Year’s Eve and unlike last year, you have promised yourself that you will cut back on the alcohol because those morning hangovers are a killer.
You have managed to refrain from drinking too much during Christmas, the Fourth of July, and even your birthday. But New Year’s Eve is proving to be a bit more challenging.
You start out strong but over the course of the evening slowly descend into the pit of inebriation. After a long and fun night, you go to sleep somewhere that seems comfortable at the moment but will prove to have been a bad choice in the morning.
When you wake up, you start cursing at yourself for yet again not sticking to your simple resolution. Your head feels like a ton of bricks being repeatedly smashed in with a mallet every time someone makes a pin drop of a sound.
You are completely exhausted and feel like sometime during the night you were forced to take part in a spontaneous marathon race.
Alongside these already terrible and even nightmarish symptoms, you are also feeling nauseous and dizzy. How did this happen? Better yet, how can you prevent this from happening next time?
Obviously, the best way to prevent a hangover is to severely cut back on your drinking. Stick to one or two glasses and you should be fine, although for some people even a single glass of alcohol can produce hangover like symptoms in the morning.
What if you always end up getting caught up in the moment and end up drink a bit too much? Luckily, there are a few natural remedies that can help you get through your hangover with ease.
But before we dive into the best hangover curing solution, let’s see what happens to your body when you drink too much and how these effects can cause a hangover.
Why do I have a hangover?
The answer is pretty simple: you drank too much alcohol! You see, your body has a certain set of reactions which it goes through when alcohol is introduced into your system.
Combine all of these reactions and you get a hangover. Here are some of the things that contribute to a typical hangover after alcohol overconsumption:
There is a little enzyme in your body responsible for regulating when you need to use the bathroom. Its name is vasopressin.
When you drink alcohol, the secretion of this antidiuretic hormone is prevented. What does this mean for you? There is no way for your body to regulate urination, so you just go whenever water and electrolytes are sent directly to your bladder.
Now that you are urinating uncontrollably, your body doesn’t have the opportunity to hydrate itself properly.
High Levels of Acetaldehyde
Your liver is what suffers the most when you consume too much alcohol. It’s forced to break down an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase into acetaldehyde, which is way more toxic to your body than alcohol by itself.
Your body starts to build up acetaldehyde and starts to try and break it down into less toxic elements with the help of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant which can help your liver detoxify the body.
Glutathione and alcohol dehydrogenase in combination can turn acetaldehyde into harmless acetate.
The problem is that your reserves of glutathione get depleted pretty fast the more alcohol you drink, which allows for continuous buildup of the very toxic acetaldehyde. This produces a toxic hangover effect which is not very pleasant.
Glutamine Bounce Back
Drinking alcohol stops the production of glutamine, which is a natural stimulant that plays a major role in many of your body’s biochemical functionalities.
The glutamine inhibition forces your body to work hard to produce more glutamine to compensate for what you lost while you were drinking.
Increased levels of glutamine can cause your body to become restless, develop anxiety, become more fatigued, and even increase blood pressure.
Stomach Irritation and Blood Sugar Fluctuations
Alcohol can disrupt the functionality of your stomach’s lining. When your stomach’s lining is irritated, you end up producing increased amounts of stomach acid.
This extra acid can lead to nausea, vomiting, and even server stomach aches. Glucose affects your blood sugar levels severely. This is a big deal considering that alcohol has a high content of sugar in it.
When you first start drinking excess amounts of alcohol, your blood sugar levels start to spike while your liver is processing the extra glucose intake.
But over time, as your liver becomes more and more overworked, you become deprived of glucose and your blood sugar levels start to drop. These fluctuations can cause mood swings, shakiness, and even seizures.
What is Milk Thistle?
This wonderful plant is known by the scientific name of silybum marianum. It has also been commonly referred to as cardus marianus, blessed milkthistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, variegated thistle, and Scotch thistle.
This plant is native to Asia and Europe, but has now spread throughout the world and can be found in any corner of the globe. The flower of the milk thistle plant is usually colored between the shades of red and purple.
The leaves underneath the flower are generally shinny green with white veins running through them.
In some parts of the world, such as New Zealand, this plant species is considered to be invasive.
Other locations have cultivated fields of this plant used for production of raw pharmaceutical material on a large scale, such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, China, and Argentina.
The key chemical element of this plant is silymarin, found in traditional milk thistle extract produced from seeds.
The extract can consist of up to 80% silymarin, which is a very intricate mixture of polyphenolic molecules. Silybin A and B are two diastereoisomers which are usually found in equal parts in silibinin, which is a semi-purified fraction of silymarin.
Milk thistle has been used medicinally throughout history for many different reasons. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to help the body remove toxic elements and to soothe the liver.
There have also been some medical trials regarding milk thistle’s medical capabilities, and the general conclusion was that more high quality trials needed to be done in order to effectively determine the claimed medical benefits proposed by milk thistle and the ingredients found inside it.
How can Milk Thistle help my hangover?
There has been a lot of private research done regarding how effective milk thistle is when attempting to prevent liver damage or repairing damage that has already been done to the liver.
Much of this research points to increased liver functionality over a thirty day continued intake of milk thistle. The cause of the damage of the liver seemed to have been irrelevant. It was repaired no matter if it was damaged due to chemotherapy or alcohol overconsumption.
The two antioxidants that we mentioned earlier, silymarin and silybin, are responsible for the effectiveness of milk thistle.
Both of these ingredients help your liver remove toxic ingredients from your body and repair your liver from any potential damage that might have already occurred due to alcohol overuse.
Furthermore, the production of glutathione was also determined to be a positive effect of milk thistle, which means that your liver can break down alcohol more efficiently.
For best results, it is recommended to take a milk thistle supplement for an extended amount of time throughout any period when you are drinking to reduce the effects of a hangover.
Where can I get Milk Thistle supplements?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of milk thistle products which can be purchased through online retailers. Many of these products are designed to detoxify your body from toxic elements.
Some are specifically targeted towards increasing liver functionality and health throughout a certain amount of time. Make sure that whichever product you choose is most compatible with your specific situations and will work for you.
The price varies as well, but you can expect to spend up to $24.99 for a bottle of milk thistle supplement.
However, there are other products listed as low as $7 per bottle. Pay close attention to the feedback from other users and the ratings associated with each product.
Milk Thistle Review Summary
No matter what the reason is for your pursuit of milk thistle, we are sure that you will find at least one benefit of this excellent plant and its ingredients.
While this plant has been proven to increase the health status of your liver, keep in mind that your body is unique. This means that it might work a different way on you than it would on someone else.
We aren’t saying that it might not work, as there is plenty of evidence pointing to milk thistle’s effectiveness.
What we are trying to say is that some people might have to take a higher or lower dosage of the supplement to see best results.
Remember, this isn’t one of those “take while drinking” hangover solutions. It’s a supplement which is supposed to be taken over an extended period of time for prevention.