Hangover Remedies: What Actually Works?

    Two alka-seltzer tablets dissolving in a wine glass filled with waterHow do you avoid a pounding head and queasiness the morning after a night of drinking? Well the only way to completely avoid it is to drink in moderation, or to stay away from alcohol entirely. But in many circumstances, it’s easy to overindulge.

    You may be inclined to try one of the many supposedly tried-and-true remedies. However, traditional hangover remedies are often ineffective, and some of them may actually make you feel worse. So what works and what doesn’t?

    More Alcohol?

    Even though the thought of a Bloody Mary may appeal to you, a Virgin Mary is a much better choice the morning after. The worst thing to do is to have another drink, though many people think the opposite.

    The alcohol may temporarily help your symptoms but could hurt in the long run. Hangovers make you feel horrible because alcohol is toxic, and you need to give your body a chance to recover. That morning drink could lead to an even worse hangover the following day.

    Greasy breakfast

    There’s no scientific evidence that a heaping helping of bacon and eggs will ease hangover anguish, even though many people swear by it. Greasy food is just going to give you heartburn. However you should stick with easy-to-digest foods such as toast or cereal. You want to get calories right back into your system.

    Eat light and stay hydrated. No specific foods are recommended, although honey sandwiches are helpful to some people.

    Alka-Seltzer

    Alka-Seltzer turns 83 in 2013, and the famous fizzy medicine has probably been used to treat hangovers for nearly that long. In 2001, the company even introduced a Morning Relief formulation specifically for hangovers.

    All Alka-Seltzer varieties contain sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda), which will help settle a queasy belly by neutralizing stomach acid. Still, other ingredients, notably aspirin and citric acid, may irritate your stomach after a night of heavy drinking.

    Hangover pills

    There are lots of hangover “cures” in a bottle out there—such as Chaser, PreToxx, and RU 21—but very little evidence to back up claims. Hangover pills that have been studied are not effective, or only help against a few complaints…but not all.

    A 2005 review article in the journal BMJ identified eight peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled studies of hangover remedies, and concluded that “no compelling evidence exists” to support their use.

    Instead, take a multivitamin instead to restore the nutrients your body may have lost during a binge.

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