Researcher says cure for hangover unlikely
January 1, 1997
Web posted at: 8:00 p.m. EST
LONDON (CNN) -- Because many factors are involved in
hangovers, a cure probably is unattainable, according to an
editorial in this week's British Medical Journal.
Ethanol, the chemical name for the alcohol in liquor, beer
and wine, may play only a small part in producing many
symptoms associated with hangovers -- thirst, headache,
nausea, fatigue, sweating and tremors.
In fact, the symptoms are usually most severe once all
ethanol has been cleared from the body.
The article's author, Dr. Ian Calder, believes organic
molecules called congeners could be more responsible than
ethanol. Congeners occur in varying amounts in alcoholic
drinks, which could explain why some drinks seem to produce
more severe hangovers than others.
According to Calder, one congener, methanol, is probably most
responsible for symptoms. A small amount of ethanol (alcohol)
will block the formation of methanol, thus easing a hangover.
Since alcohol is a diuretic (it purges fluid from your
system) drinking water and taking aspirin before going to bed
can reduce the severity of hangover symptoms.
A completely effective treatment may be undesirable, because
the fear of a hangover prompts most people to moderate
alcohol intake, Calder said.
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