09:57:31 AM Jul 29th 2012
- Large amounts of fatty foods help reduce hangovers as the fat sticks to the stomach walls and helps dilute the alcohol. Other cures include activated charcoal (which helps absorb most of the toxic byproducts of alcohol), bananas (which are rich in potassium, helping counteract the dehydration which causes the headaches associated with hangovers) and anti-hangover pills (the effectiveness of which can vary). Contrary to popular belief, strong coffee does not help, as the caffeine will both further dehydrate you and act as a vasoconstrictor (cause blood vessels to become thinner), making headaches worse.
- Fat does not "stick" to your stomach as fat has no possible way of surviving a plunge into a solution which is predominantly hydrochloric acid; nor does it "dilute" the alcohol. The (very small) reduction in a hangover gained from eating fatty foods comes from the salt and sugar gained from the breakdown of the fat by the previously mentioned digestive acid. The salt counteracts dehydration and the sugar counteracts the groggy faculties but only to a small degree. You're better off with a glass of water and a small but decently balanced meal.
- Caffeine (by one of its breakdown products) is actually a vasodilator, and can be beneficial against certain types of headache, hangovers included. Its dehydrating effect, and tendency to cause stomach irritation... not so helpful.
- Activated charcoal in your GI tract will do nothing to absorb toxic byproducts of alcohol in the bloodstream, so it won't do much for an already-in-progress hangover. It might help if taken with (before or shortly after) the alcohol, but that has more to do with absorbing fusel oils (and ethanol itself) from the mixture in your stomach.
- Cysteine, an amino acid prevalent in eggs is also said to be helpful (thus the raw egg in tomato juice and fried egg cures) but the best solution is simply to drink plenty of water beforehand - most of a typical hangover is due to simple dehydration.
- On that note, this is why a craving for eggs is so common when you wake up after a night of drunken debauchery. Now you know.
- You can buy it from some health-food shops as N-acetylcysteine capsules. It's a known antidote to acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdose, and there's evidence it's both a preventative and cure to alcohol toxicity by the same mechanism. It smells of rotten eggs, which could well justify the 'hideous' part, too.
- Actually, N-acetylcysteine smells more like an open sewer. You can, however, cut it with soda [preferably something with a stronger flavor like Coke/Pepsi and their aspartame variants], to make it marginally more palatable, it tastes like horehound drops, rather than extract d'sewer.
01:03:01 PM Jan 5th 2015
Concerning N-ACC, yes, that's correct, it works by binding with acetaldehyde, the toxic byproduct of alcohol oxidation. Acetaldehyde is also the very thing that causes headaches. So, unless you find an even more powerful chelating agent, such as DMPS (2,3-Dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid, aka Unithiol), ACC is the best bet to really cure your hangover.
01:12:51 AM Jan 6th 2015
Hmm - acetaldehyde is not a metal. I don't think that a chelating agent would help (nevermind the side effects). Maybe something more specific.
04:24:51 AM Jan 24th 2015
First of all, I'm a toxicologist. Curing hangovers is my specialty. Tested in vitro and in vivo. On myself, actually, as well as on some of my friends - both ACC and Unithiol do juuuust fine. In twenty minutes, the hangover is gone. They work by binding with carbonyl group. Unithiol works exceptionally well. Side effects? Low blood pressure and thirst out of this world. Also, Unithiol rapidly depletes your copper and zinc, so you should watch out for that. So, unless you have zinc and/or copper deficiency or allergy to any food containing sulfur (such as peas and turnip), you'll do fine.