What Causes a Hangover?

In a few days, people will don green garb in celebration of St. Patrick, even if they aren’t Irish or Catholic. St. Patrick’s Day started as a feast to celebrate the saint’s death, but it’s evolved to include a number of traditions. Of course, downing clover leaf-colored beer is a time-honored part of the celebration.

This year, St. Paddy’s Day falls right in the middle of SXSW in Austin, which means more revelers will be out on March 17th than normal. That leads us to an interesting question that will be on the minds of many people the next day. What causes a hangover?

Alcohol = Dehydration = Hangover

The truth is, hangovers are still a bit of a mystery. However, there is one thing we know – drinking too much alcohol is the catalyst. However, what’s considered “too much” varies from one person to the next. Regardless of how much you drink, once your blood alcohol level drops that’s when the hangover symptoms can begin.

The biggest problem with alcohol is it causes dehydration. You may be consuming a lot of liquid, but alcohol increases the need to urinate. The more you urinate the worse dehydration will be. Soon excessive thirst will set in and your head will start throbbing until you rehydrate.

Alcohol’s Effect on the Immune System Doesn’t Help

Alcohol doesn’t contain harmful bacteria or a virus, but it can have a similar effect on the immune system. When you drink alcohol it triggers the immune system to create cytokines. These molecules tell the immune system how to react. Instead of producing a fever or relief, the release of cytokines leads to symptoms like fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches.

Another unwelcome immune response after alcohol consumption is inflammation. The inflammatory response can cause those splitting headaches and memory problems the morning after a night of drinking.

What You Drink Can Affect a Hangover

Alcoholic beverages have congeners. These are chemicals that give drinks flavor during the fermentation process, but they’ll also give you a hangover.

Research has shown the more congeners a drink has the more likely it is to cause a hangover the next day. Congeners can also make hangover symptoms more severe. The worst congener is methanol. It stays in your system even after all the alcohol is eliminated producing long-lasting hangover systems. A general rule of thumb is the darker the liquor the more congeners it contains.

Alcohol content also plays a role in conjunction with congeners. Drinks with a lower ABV are less likely to cause a hangover.

Don’t Let a Hangover Slow You Down During SXSW

Did you know a hangover can last 24 hours? It will go away on its own, but you don’t have to suffer through it the entire day.

IVitamin is helping St. Paddy’s Day partiers and SXSW participants recover from a night of fun with the IRecover hangover drip. It provides a surge of hydration, replenishes essential vitamins which alcohol is known to deplete and eases the pain with anti-inflammatory meds.  Hydrate before the festivities at our SX IV Hydration Happy Hour featuring drips in our massage chair room and live music, cocktails, and small bites in our lounge. It’s going to be packed so plan ahead and schedule your drip now.

Overindulgence happens on St. Paddy’s Day and during SXSW, but with the IRecover drip it doesn’t have to end in a hangover!


Ace Elliott

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