For the last five years our website has been telling you how great the world of (heavy) boozing is. In more than 550 posts we glorified alcohol as a substance and the life of a devoted drinker. And of course as Lords of the Drinks we still fully stand behind our beliefs. However the time has come to bring you a contra sound as well. In a guest post we let the talented writer Melisa Marzett, who also writes for Smart Essay Rewriter, explain her vision on how people should handle their drinking. Can’t say we share her beliefs, but since she backed her case up with some scientific facts, it’s still an interesting read. Enjoy.
How does alcohol affect the body?
A bit of theory. Alcohol is the most common ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH), familiar to us from school chemistry lessons. After entering the body, ethanol, which is a small molecule soluble in water, is quickly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and enters the bloodstream. The maximum concentration in the blood is achieved in just half an hour (this is if you drank on an empty stomach – otherwise the food slows down the intake). Ethanol mainly enters the muscles and brain, significantly affecting the central nervous system. The main targets of its action are cell membranes and enzymes of the brain. At the same time, alcohol activates dopamine and serotonin receptors and release of opioid peptides. Put simply, alcohol produces a calming effect, reduces anxiety and disinhibits behavior. That is, intoxicates you and leads to a state of euphoria.
Some of the alcohol is excreted by the lungs and kidneys, but almost 90% of ethanol entering the body is processed in the liver. Basically, an alcohol enzyme dehydrogenase is used for this, which oxidizes alcohol to toxic acetic aldehyde. A small part of it is subsequently excreted in the urine, and the rest is processed into harmless acetic acid. In a healthy person, only a small amount of alcohol is processed, but people suffering from chronic alcoholism, thanks to this solution, can oxidize alcohol one and a half times faster.
If the ethyl alcohol is too much, then the body does not have time to promptly process and remove the toxic acetic aldehyde. Everything is bad: we suffer from dehydration, we have a headache, and an unpleasant aftertaste in our mouths. Hello to a hangover.
What should we do before the party?
If you want to wake up fresh in the morning, do not drink. It’s better to play with your friends in Destiny, read a book or follow the regime and go to bed before midnight. Refusal of alcohol is the only trouble-free way to fight a hangover. Does not work? Limit yourself in alcohol, drink one or two bottles of beer or a couple of glasses of wine, no more. In addition, most importantly – do not go to a party hungry: food in the gastrointestinal tract slows the absorption of alcohol. Drink plenty of water: alcohol dehydrates the body. You can eat activated charcoal – it absorbs alcohol for a while, but afterwards you need to remember to visit the toilet.
According to popular belief, in order not to have hangover in the morning, it is necessary to “disperse the liver” a few hours before the party, drinking a small amount of alcohol and running protective barriers to the body. However, this is misleading: thus, it is impossible to increase the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase. The rate of the reaction of ethanol splitting does not depend on the alcohol concentration, and drinking beforehand can only increase the load on the liver. In addition, this step, most likely, will increase the amount of drunk in the evening.
What should you eat during drinking?
Be sure to have a snack during the party, even if you ate beforehand. However, do not heavily load the body: the snack should not be very greasy, do not mix protein foods and starch. It is better to eat fruits that contain vitamins, pectin and dietary fiber. They will help absorb toxic substances in the gastrointestinal tract and remove them from the body. Drink more water and juices: during the party you will regularly want to go to the toilet. Alcohol is a diuretic and greatly dehydrates the body – for every one gram of ethanol consumed, an additional 10 milliliters of urine are allocated. In addition, most importantly, remember: food does not save you from intoxication, it only pushes it, delaying the absorption of alcohol. As a result, an abundant snack, on the contrary, can play a cruel joke with you, and you will drink more without noticing.
In the spring of 2014, Esquire published an article about the brewer Jim Koch, who is struggling with a hangover, eating nutritional yeast during the feast. Theoretically, this should work: yeast also have its alcohol dehydrogenase and can process alcohol in the stomach. In practice, however, it turns out that this does not happen: the effect of yeast is negligible, it delays the absorption of alcohol for a while, like any other food.
Why someone gets drunk faster than others?
It is believed that thin people get drunk much easier than obese, but this is not entirely true. The speed of processing ethanol depends on many factors – not only the weight of the liver and the whole body, but also the race, sex, age, genes, health status and side effects of the use of drugs.
Because of many physiological factors, men tolerate alcohol much better than women. In men, a significant amount of ethanol is metabolized by the alcohol dehydrogenase of the stomach. In addition, the activity of microsomal enzymes is higher in them than in women, since the synthesis of these enzymes is stimulated by male sex hormones. In addition, the male body consists of water by 60-70%, while the female organism – by 50-60%. As a result, women are forced to face a much higher level of ethanol in the blood with lower enzyme activity.
Paradox: if you want your liver to process alcohol as efficiently as possible, lead a healthy lifestyle and do not drink at all.
What if drunk too much?
If in the evening you feel that everything has gone wrong, it is better to provoke vomiting preventively. Take a contrast shower. Drink plenty of water with vitamins and minerals – you need to make up the balance of electrolytes. Do not interfere with the use of activated carbon and other absorbents. Take medications based on acetylsalicylic acid – they relieve pain and improve blood microcirculation. Go to bed: if everything is done correctly, in the morning you will manage almost without a headache.
There is an opinion that the darker the drink, the worse it will be for you in the morning. In part, this is true: in addition to ethanol, alcoholic beverages contain impurities resulting from the production, for example fusel oils. In addition, the quality of the drink and the degree of its purification play a crucial role here. Therefore, if you are afraid of a headache, do not save on alcohol.
How to deal with a hangover? Can you shoot it with beer?
Do not get drunk, even if you feel very bad in the morning. Ethanol is often mistakenly perceived as an effective anesthetic, but in fact it is not. You will feel a little relief in the short term, but only increase the burden on the liver and worsen your well-being in the future. Do not drink coffee and other beverages, which increase the load on the cardiovascular system. It is better to drink more juices or water with vitamins. Take pills against a hangover: most likely, they consist of all the same acetylsalicylic acid and ordinary baking soda, which neutralizes free hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Go to a shower or fresh air.
In spite of the fact that alcohol is caloric, in the morning you will still need to increase the level of sugar in the blood. Do not choose a heavy breakfast – let your body rest. Eat spinach and bananas, rich in potassium, to make up for the balance of electrolytes. Prepare yourself eggs: eggs contain taurine, which will help the liver. Eat a good soup. Once again, think about not drinking more!
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