Hangover cures are hydrating supplements and foods used to combat hangovers and dehydration caused by excessive alcohol. Although temporary, hangovers can cause severe short term impairment, making it difficult to carry out day to day tasks. There are many different approaches to treating hangovers, many of which are ineffective. However, research has shown that a few hangover cures are effective at relieving symptoms.
There are a number of supplements that have been shown to help treat hangovers. Ginger can reduce nausea and help ease stomach pain. Red ginseng may speed up the rate at which alcohol is broken down in the body, reducing the length of hangovers. Prickly pear may reduce the intensity of hangover symptoms and speed up recovery times.
Prevention remains the best way to reduce the severity of a hangover. Compounds such as NAC, when taken before drinking, can help the body remove toxic byproducts of alcohol. Drinking plenty of water and spacing out alcoholic drinks keeps blood alcohol concentration from rising too quickly, helping prevent hangovers.
1Hangover cure drinks can help treat headaches. Although the exact mechanism of hangovers is still unknown, dehydration is believed to play a major role. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes the body to excrete large volumes of fluids. It also takes a lot of water to break down alcohol, further contributing to dehydration (1).
Drinking fluids is one of the most effective hangover cures. Although it works slowly, it can replenish the fluids that were lost due to drinking. This can help treat headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
When drinking fluids for a hangover, choose a drink that also has added electrolytes. This will help the body better absorb and retain fluids (2).
Many bottled waters come with electrolytes, and they are also found in most sports drinks. The best way to treat a hangover is to avoid one. Drink fluids throughout the night, alternating water with an alcoholic drink. By slowly sipping water, you can reduce the amount that your body excretes, keeping you hydrated.
2Carbs are a good hangover cure to help manage the blood sugar rollercoaster. After drinking, blood sugar levels can drop significantly after a short term increase (3).
Many people forget to eat as they drink, which can contribute to the symptoms of fatigue and low energy associated with hangovers. Slowly increasing blood sugar levels with carbohydrates is an effective way of boosting energy and reducing fatigue when hungover. It may also help treat headaches and dizziness.
When eating after a hangover, try to start slow with a small meal. Avoid sugary snacks, as these will rapidly increase blood sugar levels, possibly causing an energy crash. Instead, eat complex carbs, such as brown rice and whole grains. These are broken down more slowly by the body, helping give you a steady boost of energy.
3The hangover cure vitamin B6 can reduce hangover severity. Certain vitamins may also be effective in preventing and treating hangovers. One study found that taking high levels of vitamin B6 before, during, or after a night of drinking led to a significant reduction in hangover symptoms (4).
More research is needed to see if these findings hold up. However, vitamin B6 is safe when taken in high doses, and there are few side effects, making it a convenient and low-risk way of treating hangover symptoms.
4The hangover cure N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) can protect the liver and prevent hangovers. N-acetyl cysteine, known as NAC, is a compound that binds to toxic byproducts of alcohol, helping remove them from your system. It may also help prevent hangovers by breaking down alcohol more quickly (5).
In order to be effective, NAC must be taken before drinking. If taken during or after drinking, it won’t be as useful and could worsen hangover symptoms and cause liver damage.
5Coffee can act as a hangover cure and help to treat headaches and reduce fatigue. Although coffee will not directly treat a hangover, it can help address a number of symptoms, including fatigue and headaches. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids along with coffee, as it is a diuretic that causes the body to excrete fluids. Avoid coffee in the afternoon, as it could impact your ability to sleep, which is the most effective cure for a hangover.
6Hangover cures help combat drinks that have congeners. Any alcoholic beverage can cause a hangover. However, research has shown that certain drinks may worsen hangover symptoms and delay the body’s recovery after a night of drinking.
When alcoholic drinks are produced, a number of byproducts end up in the final product. Some of these may make hangovers worse. In particular, drinks that contain a type of compound called congeners seem to cause headaches and fatigue (6).
Congeners slow the rate at which alcohol is broken down in the body, prolonging hangover symptoms and delaying recovery. Drinks that are high in congeners include bourbon, cognac, and tequila.
7Sleep is one of the most effective and natural hangover cures. Alcohol affects the body’s ability to enter deep sleep. Although you may feel like alcohol puts you to sleep, it reduces sleep quality and can leave you feeling poorly rested (7).
Many hangovers are partially caused by sleep deprivation. Without the proper amount of rest, you may get a headache, feel fatigued and sluggish, and worsen dehydration. Sleeping is one of the most effective cures for a hangover. It allows your body to fully clear alcohol from your system and allows your body to heal any damage done by alcohol.
8Ginger can act as a hangover cure and reduce nausea. Ginger has long been used to reduce nausea and dizziness associated with motion sickness. These properties make it a useful treatment for hangover symptoms. Ginger may also reduce gastrointestinal distress during a hangover. Diarrhea can significantly worsen dehydration, so consuming ginger can help keep you retain fluids (8).
There are various ways to take ginger. Whole ginger is effective, although it may cause stomach problems for some people. Ginger capsules are equally effective, and less likely to cause gastrointestinal difficulties.
9Red ginseng may be an effective hangover cure because it can lower blood alcohol levels. Hangovers are a result of too much alcohol building up in your system. Red ginseng has been shown to lower blood alcohol levels, possibly reducing hangover severity and improving recovery time.
10Hangover cures with prickly pear can reduce the severity of hangover symptoms. Prickly pear is a supplement used to balance blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. It may also be an effective hangover cure. Studies have shown that prickly pear can reduce hangover severity by up to half. People who were given prickly pear before a night of drinking reported less nausea and vomiting. They also said they had a better appetite and better energy levels (9).
Although still effective when taken the day of the hangover, prickly pear appears to work better when used before drinking.
11Hangover cures with Dihydromyricetin can block alcohol binding in the brain. Dihydromyricetin is a compound that has been shown to block the binding of alcohol to GABA receptors in the brain. This can help reduce impairment and blunt the effect of alcohol on the body (10).
The compound also protects the liver and binds to alcohol, helping prevent high blood alcohol concentrations. This reduces the severity of hangovers and makes you feel less fatigued after a night of drinking (11).
12Any beverage may act as a hangover cure if it helps to space out drinking. Hangovers appear to be caused by a high peak blood alcohol concentration. Those who drink but do not reach a blood alcohol level of 0.1 are much less likely to develop a hangover.
The best way to avoid high alcohol concentrations is to drink less. The second best way is to space out your drinking, taking breaks in between drinks. Even if you end up drinking the same amount, the time between drinks can help prevent a high peak blood alcohol concentration. This reduces the chances of developing a hangover.
13Borage oil may be an effective hangover cure. One 2012 study found that a supplement containing both prickly pear and borage oil reduced hangover symptoms in 88% of participants (12).
It should be noted that research is lacking and further studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of borage oil at reducing hangover symptoms.
1NAC only works as a hangover cure before the hangover hits. NAC may help the body break down alcohol more effectively, preventing some symptoms of hangovers. However, NAC is only effective when taken before drinking. If taken after, it may worsen hangovers, and can potentially lead to liver damage.
Although drinking the day after may improve some hangover symptoms, it is not recommended. It will worsen dehydration, and also puts greater strain on the liver.
2Over the counter (OTC) pain medications can cause digestive issues. OTC pain medications like Advil and Tylenol are effective ways of reducing the severity of hangovers. However, they may cause an upset stomach, especially if they are taken without food. Large doses can also be hard on the kidneys and liver.
3Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be liver toxic. Tylenol should be avoided for the first few hours of the day of your hangover. Acetaminophen is broken down in the liver and can cause minor liver damage if taken while alcohol is still in your system.
4Although drinking large volumes of water is usually not dangerous; in rare cases, it can cause a condition known as water intoxication (13).
This condition causes cells to absorb too much water, which can lead to organ failure and death.
5Natural hangover cures may cause IBS like symptoms. may cause Common supplements used to treat hangovers, such as ginger, red ginseng, and prickly pear, have few major side effects. However, they may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some users, especially if their stomach is already hurting from drinking. To reduce side effects, take supplements with food.
There are a number of common hangover cures, and doses vary widely by person. For over the counter medications used to treat hangover symptoms, you should follow the manufacturer’s dosage suggestions.
The standard doses for over the counter painkillers are effective for treating some symptoms of hangovers. These will vary by drug, but common doses are around 500 mg of acetaminophen and 400 mg of ibuprofen, taken every 6 hours (14, 15).
NAC is another effective substance for preventing hangovers. Doses vary, but around 1000 mg is standard, taken before drinking.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to be effective when taken at doses of 1200 mg before, during, or after drinking. The vitamin is water soluble, so any excess amounts will be excreted without any side effects (16).
When drinking fluids, sip slowly to allow your body to better absorb the fluids. Drinking too much water too quickly can worsen an upset stomach, as well as cause vomiting.
Fluids that have added electrolytes are more effective for curing hangovers. Electrolytes help the body regulate fluid intake and excretion, making it easier to retain water.
Is there a hangover cure pill? No. Although there are many remedies that can treat hangover symptoms, there is no cure. It takes time to recover from a hangover, as the body is often dehydrated and poorly rested. However, hangover remedies can significantly shorten the length of hangovers and help reduce the severity of symptoms.
Is watermelon effective hangover cure for headaches? Yes, watermelon is an effective hangover cure for headaches. Since headache associated with a hangover is usually due to dehydration and decreased blood flow to the brain, eating watermelon may help. Watermelon is rich in L-citrulline, a nutrient that may increase blood flow. What’s more, its high water content can help you rehydrate.
Do certain alcohols cause worse hangovers? Yes. Research has shown that some types of alcohol will cause worse hangovers. However, any drink can cause a hangover when consumed in sufficient enough volume.
Does liquor cause worse hangovers than beer? It is often said that liquor leads to worse hangovers than beer. This is generally false. Liquor, when consumed in comparable amounts, does not cause worse hangovers than beer. However, many people often have worse hangovers when drinking liquor because they consume a larger volume of alcohol.
Will drinking water before going to bed be an effective hangover cure? Hangovers are believed to be a result of dehydration. To avoid this, many people consume large volumes of water before bed, believing that this will keep them hydrated and prevent a hangover. Although drinking water before bed is a good idea, it won’t entirely prevent a hangover. The body can only absorb so much water at once. If you consume multiple glasses before going to bed, most of this water will end up being excreted. The best way to stay hydrated while drinking is to slowly sip on water throughout the night. This helps your body retain the water and also limits the amount you drink by alternating alcoholic drinks with water.
Are eggs an effective hangover cure? Drinking alcohol decreases the body’s stores of glutathione. Without it, your body has a hard time breaking down the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism. Eggs are rich in cysteine, an amino acid that your body uses to produce the antioxidant glutathione. Eating cysteine-rich eggs is a great way to increase glutathione in your body and possibly improve hangover symptoms.
Do hangovers tend to get worse as you age? Many people say that their hangovers get worse as they age. Researchers still do not know if aging actually leads to worse hangovers. One potential explanation for why hangovers seem to worsen as people age is that they tend to have lower alcohol tolerances. Many people in their 30s or 40s do not drink heavily as often as they did in their younger years, as family and job responsibilities take up an increasing amount of time. Less frequent heavy drinking tends to lower alcohol tolerance. When people with lower tolerances do drink, they are more likely to have a hangover.
Does the “hair of the dog” actually work as a hangover cure? The “hair of the dog” is when you drink more alcohol to cure a hangover. It’s long been a popular way of coping with hangover symptoms. However, it’s still unclear whether it’s actually effective. There is little research showing that drinking alcohol helps hangovers. Some hangover symptoms may be caused by short term alcohol withdrawal, in which case drinking may help. However, drinking to cure a hangover is a slippery slope. It may help in the short term but can possibly lead to a second hangover the next day. It can also increase the risk of liver damage.
What’s the most effective hangover cure? Although many people want a quick solution, unfortunately, the most effective treatments are to get plenty of fluids and rest. Most hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration and lack of sleep. There are plenty of ways to reduce the severity of these symptoms in the short term. However, nothing will be as effective as drinking plenty of water with electrolytes and getting sleep.
What is the best natural hangover cure food to replace sodium? When you drink excessively, sodium is often severely depleted in the body to help get rid of the toxins. Eating pickles or drinking their brine may help boost your sodium levels and overcome your hangover. One dill pickle spear contains about 13% of the DV for sodium. Even better, 2.5 ounces (75 ml) of pickle juice provides about 20% of the DV. However, remember that the salt about will vary by brand so make sure to check the label.
Can NAC be used after drinking as a hangover cure? No. NAC is effective for clearing alcohol from the body and preventing some symptoms of hangovers. However, these effects are only seen if NAC is taken before drinking. It can be hard on the liver if taken once you are already drinking, and will do little to improve hangovers.
What is a fast-acting hangover cure? The best fast-acting hangover cures are hydration, minerals, and sleep. Some pills make claim to work better, but the bottom line is that your body has been severely dehydrated and stripped of minerals when you are hungover. The fastest way back is to give it what it has lost.
Is walking an effective hangover cure? A brisk walk will help to increase circulation, bringing more blood and oxygen to the brain and muscles, helping to offset hangover symptoms like headaches and achy muscles. However, the only sure-fire way to prevent a hangover is to avoid drinking too much.
Are bananas an effective hangover cure? Yes, bananas are an effective hangover cure food. Alcohol blocks the production of a hormone that helps your body hold on to water, leading to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes like potassium and sodium. Bananas are especially rich in potassium and can help replenish your body’s stores. One medium banana contains 12% of the daily value (DV) for this nutrient.
Should you eat breakfast as a hangover cure? Yes, eating a healthy breakfast can provide important vitamins and minerals, which may become depleted with excessive alcohol intake.
Hangovers can be quite severe, leading to near incapacity the day after drinking. Most hangover treatments cannot completely remove symptoms. However, they can help reduce symptom severity and speed recovery.
Supplements such as NAC, ginger, red ginseng, and prickly pear have all been shown to help treat hangover symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and fatigue. When taken before drinking, they may also help prevent hangovers, or at least make them milder. Over the counter pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are also effective for treating certain hangover symptoms.
Although these remedies may help with hangovers, the most effective treatments are fluids and sleep. Drinking water with electrolytes helps the body to rehydrate and can improve energy levels and get rid of headaches. Sleep is the most effective tool for combating a hangover, as it gives the body time to rest and recover.
Most common hangover cures are completely safe, provided they are done according to instructions. Substances such as NAC can be dangerous when taken after drinking, and should only be used to prevent hangovers. Painkillers such as acetaminophen should be avoided in the first few hours of a hangover, as they can increase the risk of liver damage.