Why Do We Get Hangovers?

That dreaded hangover is something that, unfortunately for most, is inevitable after a few drinks.  Hangovers aren’t just associated with a night of craziness and getting highly intoxicated.  In fact for many people, it may only take a few drinks to cause a hefty headache or nasty nausea the next day.

What is a Hangover?  Some Science…

A hangover is your body's way of saying “You drank too much alcohol.”  It is the physiological and psychological effects on the body that result in the feeling of nausea, headache, tiredness, dehydration and generally feeling pretty rough.  A hangover can leave you struggling to concentrate, feeling irritable and sensitive to light – not a good combination if you were planning to make the most of the next day and not spend it in bed.

Hangovers are a direct result of consuming ethanol – the alcohol in alcoholic drinks.  After being ingested, ethanol is rapidly absorbed through the stomach and small intestine and is immediately distributed through body tissues and fluid compartments according to their water content.  About 90% of the ethanol is metabolized in the body, especially in the liver, while a small part is eliminated in urine, sweat and exhaled air.  There are three metabolic pathways, all of which all lead to the formation of Acetaldehyde which subsequently becomes free radicals (Reactive Oxygen Species - ROS) if it is not broken down effectively.

Acetaldehyde is an extremely toxic molecule responsible for most of the adverse

 

effects of alcohol.  Acetaldehyde is very reactive and tends to form protein and lipid adducts, stimulating the lymphocytic and macrophage responses with consequent production of cytokines and ROS and therefore inflammation and immune alterations.

In addition, Acetaldehyde reduces the availability of antioxidants in the liver, causing depletion of our master antioxidant - Glutathione.  The depletion n  Glutathione reduces the defence against free radicals.

An excessive consumption of alcohol therefore induces an increase in the production of ROS and significantly depletes the levels of Glutathione, preventing the liver from functioning correctly which causes many of the unpleasant side effects of drinking too much alcohol.  At best this results in a dreaded hangover, at worst the results can be much more harmful and damaging, showing just how toxic alcohol can be.

 

Why do People Experience Hangovers Differently?

Although our bodies are prepared to break down Acetaldehyde, sometimes we consume alcohol faster than our bodies can keep up with the creation of new Glutathione.  After all, there is only a limited supply of Glutathione available in your liver, and by having more alcohol than your body can handle, the Acetaldehyde builds up faster than your liver can break it down.  This is why people experience hangovers differently, depending on how much alcohol their bodies can take.  The toxins may remain in your body for longer and a hangover is unfortunately present the day after.

So, to put it simply:

  1. Alcohol is broken down in the liver by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase.
  2. This creates Acetaldehyde.
  3. Acetaldehyde is then attacked by an enzyme called Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, and a substance called Glutathione.
  4. Together, these form the non-toxic acetate.
  5. When the liver's stores of Glutathione quickly run out, due to high amounts of alcohol, Acetaldehyde builds up leaving the toxin in the body for long periods of time; a key cause of a hangover.

 

Women vs Men

It may interest you to know that women are often, unfortunately, hit harder with hangovers.  This is due to the fact they have less Glutathione and Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase in their bodies, so their bodies react more strongly to alcohol.  So, if you’re a female and you get challenged by a male to keep up with his drinking; make sure to set him straight with a few facts first!

Now you’ve got all the basic facts of what a hangover actually is, it’s time to find out how you can try and prevent one! That is actually what we, here at Yeti & The Fox, are all about.

 

Glutathione

Remember Glutathione?  The substance which attacks Acetaldehyde along with the enzyme called Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase; together forming the non-toxic acetate.  Well, Glutathione is also known as “the Mother of All Antioxidants”, or “the Body’s Master Antioxidant”.  It is in fact an endogenous antioxidant, meaning our bodies produce it naturally, all the time.  Incredibly, it is also present in literally every cell in your body.

 

Glutathione is a peptide composed of three important amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamate.  It is a hugely important nutrient for your body which serves a broad range of benefits to us, for example a few of these include:

  • Protecting your DNA from oxidative stress, encouraging DNA synthesis
  • Activation and catalysis of the enzymes in your body
  • Metabolism of toxins, breaking them down to be eliminated
  • Enhancing immune function and protecting your body from disease
  • Increasing resistance to UV radiation, and decreasing radiation damage
  • Recycling of Vitamin C, E, lipoic acid, and other antioxidants
  • Fighting toxins from alcohol, amongst other things

Glutathione also has a detoxifying action in the liver, where it is particularly concentrated.  It protects the hepatocytes from particularly toxic molecules of exogenous or endogenous origin (generated during the metabolism of certain substances, such as alcohol or pharmaceutical products).  These molecules are conjugated to Glutathione through the enzyme Glutathione S-transferase so that they can be secreted from the body.  Glutathione is therefore also important for:

  • Metabolizing ingested alcohol
  • Protecting the body from alcohol, ionizing radiation, metals, heavy metals, and smoke
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Preserving the integrity of red blood cells

 

Why Yeti & The Fox is so Important.

Yeti & The Fox is a food supplement that supports wellness for people who like to drink alcohol.  Glutathione is the core active ingredient and as we have stated here, it is critical to the breakdown of alcohol and the neutralisation of the toxins from alcohol.  When your Glutathione depletes when drinking, Yeti & The Fox boosts those reserves to prevent your body from running out of antioxidants after just a few drinks so you can feel fresh the day after drinking alcohol.

So, whether you want a few drinks at home, in the garden, a lazy evening with a bottle of red or a night out with friends, Yeti & The Fox can help save your tomorrow.  Finally, so many years after alcohol was invented, we have a solution to the morning after and preventing the horrible hangover!