Hangover cures are a myth. So if you’re already hungover, we’re sorry — it’s too late. But what’s not a myth is hangover prevention, and healing your gut could be the key. With a simple probiotic, you can stave off those grueling headaches, fits of nausea, and overall feeling of bleh you get the morning after.
If you’re wondering what digestion has to do with your hangover, the answer is, well… everything. When you imbibe, you’re ingesting a toxic substance and asking your stomach to deal with it. Your resulting hangover is due to your body’s inability to handle the booze without the side effects of dehydration, exhaustion, and overall burnout.
Once you take that first sip, you’ve already irritated your stomach lining. While you’re living it up on the dance floor, this stomach irritation is instigating your digestive tract to release more stomach acid than normal. The ensuing chemical imbalance can lead to worsened inflammation of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract called gastritis. Ouch.
The booze also kills off lots of those healthy gut bacteria you want to feed and thrive, creating an imbalance in your gut flora. This could be part of the reason it’s so hard to stomach certain foods the next day.
But let’s be honest — we’re not going to quit drinking for the sake of our gut health. What’s much more interesting and applicable is that the opposite effect still stands. You can use an improving gut health to mitigate the harmful effects of drinking, reducing your risk of a horrible hangover.
A Russian study investigated the effects of probiotics on liver damage. Participants who took a probiotic supplement before drinking showed fewer signs of liver inflammation after just five days of supplementation. While this particular study did not prove the reason behind this correlation, it is suspected that healthy gut bacteria assist you to metabolize alcohol more effectively.
Acetaldehyde, a byproduct of digesting alcohol, is the culprit for liver inflammation and your other dreadful hangover symptoms. It’s largely the reason you feel the need to hibernate indoors and not venture too far from a toilet. Healthier guts can get that garbage out of your body way faster.
If you’re not into the idea of taking a pill before you party, there are other options. These foods have enough probiotics that they just might do the trick.