how to avoid a hangover

Hangovers are terrible, and not only because of how shitty they make you feel, but because they are a complete waste of your life.

There’s no reason to work hard all week, and then have to spend your Saturday and Sunday mornings feeling like shit. This is no way to live, and there are many things you can do to prevent, cure, or avoid a hangover all together. 

Its time to stop wasting your only free days or having to stay in Saturday night when you have things to do Sunday morning.

This isn’t going to be another useless article that tells you to drink water before bed or not drink at all.

This is going to get down and dirty into the scientific stuff and is going under the assumption that you are going to keep drinking, heavily.

Typical Hangover symptoms

I’m sure you already know the typical hangover symptoms all too well, but here is a short list of just some of the things you may experience.

Depending on how hard you go:

1) Extreme Fatigue

2) Nausea

3) Headaches

4) Sensitivity to Light and Sound

5) Anxiety

6) Confusion

7) Vertigo

8) The Spins

9) Blurred Vision

10) Wanting to Die

People get different types of hangovers for different types of alcohol that they drink.

The hangover is also totally individual and varies from each person to each person.

There are some people who can drink a keg and feel fantastic the next day, while there are some people who will feel horrible after just a few beers.

To understand why this is we need to take a look at exactly why we get hungover. With this knowledge we can soften the blow of the night before, or even avoid a hangover all together..

Why do we get hungover?

Its important to understand why we get hung over in the first place if we are going to prevent it from happening.

This section is going to be scientific, but as simple as I can possibly make it.

I have done so much damn research on this I could write a book, but I will make it as short as I can.

1) Dehydration

This is the simplest one.

Obviously alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it helps flush liquids out of your body. The more alcohol you drink the more fluids you lose which is why you piss so much when you’re drunk. This results in you waking up completely dehydrated.

Remember that the brain is about 75% water so if you are severely dehydrated that will cause a lot of mental symptoms.

2) Acetaldehyde and other toxins

When the body breaks down alcohol, the result is the production of a toxin called Acetaldehyde.

Acetaldehyde is 30X more toxic than the alcohol itself.

Its these toxins and the body attempting to rid you of them that attributes to a lot of the shitty feelings you feel the next day.

3) Glutamate rebound

This is the bastard that you can thank all of your mental symptoms for.

Ever drink like a tank and then wake up at 7 AM the next morning, wide awake? You can thank the glutamate rebound.

When you drink, alcohol has a depressive effect on your system and blocks the production of one of your body’s natural stimulants, Glutamate.

Due to the blocking and destruction of Glutamate, when you are done drinking your body goes into overdrive and produces more Glutamate than your body needs.

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This high production of Glutamate is what prevents the drinker to be able to achieve deep, restful sleep, and is why a lot of people wake up super early after a night of binging.

Extreme Glutamate rebound results in anxiety, tremors and restlessness.

4) Low blood sugar

As you drink, the toxic byproducts of alcohol prevent the production of glucose.

This results in low blood sugar when you wake up, attributing to the feeling of weakness and fatigue.

Glucose is also the main energy source for the brain so when this is low your brain sucks.

So how can we avoid a hangover?

Well lets think of it very simply.

We know what the main causes of hangovers are, so logic says if we can prevent each one of these things, then we can avoid a hangover.

1) Preventing Dehydration

This one is easy.

If you drink a lot during the night, it is common knowledge that you should drink water between each drink. But who are we kidding, no one does that. 

I’m not about to be drinking water in between each game of flip cup when i’m trying to get in some girls pants.

So what can we do?

Drinking water at the end of the night helps, but its not the best.

One thing you could do is drink coconut water before you go to sleep. The Vita CoCo brand, pineapple flavor, is delicious. 

Coconut water is one of the most hydrating liquids you can drink. It contains more electrolytes than sport drinks, has more potassium than 2 bananas and much more. It tastes good if you buy the right one too, so another thing you could do is make mixed drinks with it. You are hydrating while getting drunk!

Also, you could buy some dehydration sachets and take them before sleep, with water or w.e is recommended.

Then when you wake up, have another Vita Coco or dehydration satchel.

Like I said, dehydration, easy.

Buy Coconut Water Cheapest Here

2) Destroy Acetaldehyde and other toxins

This one is a bit tougher, but I think I have found a worthy opponent to the nasty toxin. NAC or N-Acetyl-Cysteine.

In simple terms, NAC helps destroy Acetaldehyde, and it does it well.

So is NAC enough to do the job?

No.

If you are going to take NAC you also need to take Vitamin C with it to keep the NAC working. The Vitamin C is kind of like the NAC’s motivational workout instructor and without it the NAC just doesn’t kick as much ass and is pretty much a waste.

Then you need to add Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine) to the mix to seal it all up. Thiamine also has a direct effect on NAC and the combo of these three will be the most effective on destroying Acetaldehyde faster than it can be produced.

Also DHM, a product which we go more into below, has been shown to be very effective at speeding up the removal of Acetaldehyde. It can actually prevent you from becoming drunk if you take it before and while drinking. But taking it at night has been proven to reduce hangover symptoms, speed up detox and help in other areas. Read more about it below in the reduce Glutamate rebound section.

So how much do you need to take?

I have found that a good dosage without going overboard is 600mg of NAC, 1000mg Vit C, and 100mg of Thiamine.

Take this half an hour before you drink, then every hour, then before you go to bed.

Yes, you will have to carry a little baggie with pills but who cares if you feel great the next day.

Buy NAC Here

3) Prevent Glutamate rebound

This is a real tough one.

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There is not much information on this on the web but I have my own theories that I am going to test.

My thought process is as so. If your bodies production of Glutamate shuts down when you’re drinking and rebound after because of it, then you should be able to supplement with L-Glutamine (a precursor to Glutamate) throughout the night to prevent this rebound and  avoid a hangover.

L-Glutamine is a widely available amino acid that can be purchased at a cheap price. Its very same to take by the recommended dose, and if it doesn’t help your hangover it will help you recover from your workout earlier that day.

***Update – Since having this article live almost a year, a lot of new science on how to avoid a hangover has come out. A new product called DHM has had some really successful studies done showing its ability to stop the effect alcohol has on Glutamate and GABA.

This prevents the GABA from crashing and the Glutamate from spiking after boozing, and can go a long way in the fight to avoid a hangover.

Read our full article about DHM here, or purchase it here.

4) Prevent low blood sugar

The first thing you can do is eat a big meal before you start drinking.

The even better thing you can do is eat a big meal before you go to bed.

The meal should primarily made up of simple carbohydrates and healthy fats which promote a healthy blood sugar level. This is why you feel better when you pig out on McDonald’s before you go to sleep. Try a glass of OJ before bed and when you wake up too. That will raise glucose fast, but can also cause a drop later on. (See below)

In the long term – eating foods high in sugar will not help your blood sugar stabilize. So instead of the McDonalds or OJ, you can eat eggs or foods high in healthy fat and low in sugar. This will intern keep your blood sugar level even and stop the ups and downs.

Other Considerations

According to this site:

L-Cysteine, beta carotene, vitamin E, and BHT (a preservative/anti-oxidant found in health food stores — Twinlab sells it). When I was bartending after college in downtown Chicago, there was a medical convention and 2 surgeons were sitting at the bar. They were taking all of these vitamins and I asked them what they were. They told me they were l-cysteine, beta carotene, vitamin E, and BHT. They told me they prevent hangover and that they take them because they might have to perform surgery the next day after drinking.”

I do not have any experience with BHT but this is the one that stands out to me here.

There is some strong research and claims on the web that BHT can eliminate a hangover completely.

There is also some evidence that BHT may cause cancer, so I am hesitant to test it out.  But if I do you will be the first to know.

So if you implement each one of these things, even if the L-Glutamine one isn’t solid yet, you should reduce your hang over by over 50%. 

What you drink makes a big difference

If you do everything listed above you are way ahead of the game.

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But you can help yourself even more by choosing the right drinks.

Its a known fact that certain alcoholic beverages have more hangover affects than others. This is due to the amount of toxins in these drinks.

The alcohols below are listed from best to worst for avoiding a hangover. Stay towards the top of the list and you will be better off.

1) Grain Alcohol

2) Clear Liquor (Vodka, Gin, Etc.)

3)  Dark Liquors ( Rum, Whisky)

4) Beer

5) Wine

6) Champagne

7) High Sugar Drinks

**High quality Liquor over low quality Liquor

So when your out on the town your best bet is to stick with clear liquors.

The darker liquors contain more congeners, which produce hangovers.

Beers contain plenty of toxin and are much harder for the body to expel.

Then come sugary drinks. The high sugar content causes an even worse blood sugar affect the next morning, causing an even worse hangover affect.

Also stick to the higher quality alcohols. Shitty quality and cheap alcohols are less pure and contain more toxins for your body to fight off.

What your night should look like

Half and hour before drinking:

Big meal, 1200 mg of NAC, 1000 mg of Vit-C, 100 mg of Thiamine, (**Optional 600mg of DHM), 1 Vita CoCo.

Drink some high quality Vodka or Gin:

Avoid mixing drinks with large amounts of sugar. The cleaner and purer it seems, the better.

Every hour or 2 – 3 drinks:

600 mg of NAC, 1000 mg of Vit-C, 100 mg of Thiamine, (**Optional 600mg of DHM). Water would help too.

Before you go to bed:

Big meal ( simple carbs ), 1200 mg of NAC, 1000 mg of Vit-C, 100 mg of Thiamine, 600mg of DHM 1 Vita CoCo.

When you wake up:

600 mg of NAC, 1000 mg of Vit-C, 100 mg of Thiamine, 1 Vita CoCo.

Repeat every hour if you still feel like shit.

**Note: Taking DHM before and while you drink will actually stop the alcohol from affecting GABA, which is what makes you relaxed and drunk. This is great for poker players who want to seem drunk after 10 beers – but not for guys who want to go out and melt their brains. The DHM will still be effective to take at night to help speed up the removal of toxins and stop a huge Glutamate and GABA rebound. Up to you.

Some considerations

1) Drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive.

2) Any supplements and information I listed here are just my opinions and in no way am I a doctor. They all are safe but take them at your own risk.

3) If you get blackout drunk, you probably will still be hungover. Nothing will save you from that. But this will help you a lot if you don’t drink to an extreme excess.

4) I am not a doctor. Consult your doctor before trying any of these hangover cures or even partaking in drinking.

4) Have fun! and I hope you can beat you hangovers!


Let us know your hangover cures in the comment section below.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. What works for me is to pound a big ass Gatorade right before bed. If you drink more than one you might piss on bitches tho.

    That and a bacon egg and cheese in the AM. Good. To. Go. But then again I hardly get hungover, I guess i’m just blessed…

  2. As someone that’s had some of the worst hangovers known to man I have a few things that helped me when I went on a binge and paid for it the next day. I never drank water or ate prior to drinking so I dealt with the hangover at 100%.

    When I’d wake I’d drink pure apple juice or spicy hot V8. I’d even add hot sauce to the V8 to make it hotter. It helped me more times than I can recall!

  3. “If you drink more than one you might piss on bitches tho.” Yuck. Do you talk to your mom with that mouth?

  4. Hi Sean,

    I was going to say something, but then I saw that you wrote:

    “This isn’t going to be another useless article that tells you to drink water before bed or not drink at all.”

    I laughed a lot when I read this. Anyway, I will say what I originally intended to (and this is coming from personal experience).

    First of all, I rarely drink anymore. Why? Because I have so much stuff to get done and I don’t want to half-ass anything. However, back in my day I used to drink A LOT of alcohol and I would get terrible hangovers and be incredibly dehydrated the next day. Eventually I wised up and started preventing the hangovers once and for all. How did I prevent the hangovers?

    By drinking TONS of water before I went to bed. And I mean a LOT of water. As much as I could possibly drink. Did I mention that I would drink COPIOUS amounts of WATER before going to bed?

    Once I started doing the water trick I would wake up just feeling fine (like nothing happened the night before). I had no more pounding headaches, no more cotton mouth, and no more feeling like crap all day the next day. By the way, I never pissed on myself while I was sleeping.

    Take it from me, it really does work. I have tried every trick out there and the water trick is by far the best (it hasn’t let me down yet).

    Sincerely,
    Top Dog

    • Haha you are right Top Dog.

      Even though I wrote that, simplicity is usually the most effective method. I just wanted to get into the down and dirty of things.

      Yes, I do don’t drink at all anymore either. I also used to drink ALOT. Although when I chugged water like crazy before bed I would probably end up soaking the sheets, along with the girl next to me hah.

      But yes, nothing is more effective than water, especially between drinks.

      Appreciate the comment

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