The Holiday Congener sounds like a mythical character on The Twilight Zone. Say you have a holiday party soon. There will be drinks. After all, alcohol has some health benefits. The congeners however aren’t beneficial.
Let’s say you had a couple too many drinks. The whiskey punch was too good. The next morning, The Congener (my fictional character) punched you in the head and gut. Happy Holiday Hangover! A hangover is defined as headache, tiredness, nausea, tiredness, cognitive problems, thirst, dizziness, and concentration problems. Am I preaching to the choir? Let’s shed some light on how the hangover happens.
What are Congeners?
Congeners are byproducts from the fermentation of booze. The byproducts are methanol, tannin, acetone, aldehyde, and esters to name a few. Congeners give the color and taste to alcohol. Some congeners are even toxic.
Dark liquors like whiskey, scotch, and bourbon are high in congeners. A study comparing liquors revealed dark liquors caused harsher hangovers. Bourbon had the worst hangover symptoms while vodka had the least.
Congeners may cause an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are small proteins that mediate communication between cells. It’s similar to a wire connecting two light bulbs. Two cytokines IL-6 and TNF-? contribute to the symptoms of a hangover. Most notably, cytokines can impair memory function. Sound familiar?
Combating Holiday Hangovers
- Have one less drink
- Less alcohol the better morning
- Eat a protein laden meal before drinking
- This will slow the alcohol absorption
- Drink a glass of water between drinks
- Alcohol is a diuretic causing dehydration
- Go to bed early
- Sleep is a normal part of the recovery process whether sober or not
- Drink clear liquor
- Congeners come into play
- Drink an antioxidant rich smoothie
- add a variety of fruits to combat inflammation
- Get soup the next day
- Get hydrated with electrolytes included
You’ll never have a hangover again! I’m kidding. None of these remedies are 100% cures because everyone reacts differently to alcohol. In conclusion, take these strategies into consideration, so you can make this holiday truly wonderful.
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