What causes a hangover?

Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol. Whether or not you get a hangover is determined by the amount that you drink and what you drink. You also increase your risk of having a hangover if you drink several alcoholic drinks over a short period of time. Symptoms of a hangover include headache, dizziness, upset stomach, fatigue, and nausea.
Jacob Teitelbaum
Integrative Medicine
Hangovers (after alcohol consumption) happen when the following 3 conditions occur:
  • Dehydration, and
  • Production of toxic chemicals from alcohol (e.g., acetaldehyde), and
  • Depletion of the nutrients needed for brain function and to break down toxins (e.g., glutathione).
Some believe that the clearer in color a drink, the less likely it will lead to a hangover.

The direct cause of a hangover is the result of an initial spike in the amount of alcohol in your blood stream (like that which occurs after excessive drinking), followed by a sudden subsequent decline in blood alcohol content. There may also be a genetic component that makes some people more likely to get a hangover after drinking. While moderate consumption of alcohol may actually be beneficial to your health, excessive alcohol intake can lead to hangovers as well as much more serious health problems.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.