The Hangover Cure For The Masses

“Who’s underwear am I wearing?”

The voice rang out, echoing off the hotel room’s hollow walls. I raised my head to look around.

The light from the early morning sun entered the window, reflecting off the shot glasses and empty beer bottles. It glistened on the ceiling. My head fell back down to the pillow, feeling exhausted from the effort.

I was hungover. Smashed. Blitzed. Drunk as a skunk. Inebriated. Dead. Shit-housed. Loaded. Three sheets to the wind. Wasted. Wrecked. Sloshed. Obliterated. Polluted. Sauced. 

This is what happens when you abandon your normally high performance lifestyle and decide to blow off some steam for a weekend bachelor party.

It’s not smart, but it happens.

 

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

I’m not a big drinker. But when I do, I get crippling hangovers. It’s not just the awful hangover feeling that pisses me off, It’s that I stop being my best.

Instead of dealing with the repercussions of my poor decisions, I’ve been perfecting an antidote. It’s been years in the making, but I’m ready to release it.

I’m calling it “The Hangover Cure For The Masses“. You can call it whatever you want.

What I’ve done is broken down a hangover cure using food and supplements. This post focuses on the fundamentals of hacking your hangover, with a few notes for the elite performer who needs to bounce back quickly.

 

Bachelor Party Weekend

My buddy “Rhino” likes to party. He somehow convinced a girl to marry him and wanted to celebrate his last weekend as a bachelor with us.

Rhino has the misfortune of being born in the wrong century. He would have been a great fit in Medieval Europe swinging a battle ax into the skulls of mere mortals. Instead he is forced into a white collar job and needs to release his aggression on weekends. You know the type. 

He ordered a round of cheap rail tequila to start his bachelor party weekend off. A shot no one wanted and we refused. So he did what any good red-blooded American would do and drank the entire round himself –  proclaiming his world dominance and general manliness in between all 6 of his shots.

It was 11:30 AM on Thursday.

Fast forward 14 hours… After a day of Beijing Tap Waters, Manhattans, mixing in beer and wine for good measure, he was a 10 out of 10 drunk.

He needed help.

After screaming at trees, punching street signs and yelling at the moon (I sometimes wonder why alcohol is considered a depressant), he looked at me with bloodshot eyes and asked: “Caaaaannnn Yooooo helllp meeeee?”

Rhino knew about my “Hangover Cure For The Masses” and demanded to be given the antidote.

“Dude….. I am soooo wasssssstttttttteeeed.”

I laughed. Normally, I would have let him suffer, but because it was his bachelor party I decided to help. I’m such a good friend.

What follows, is how I took Rhino from a 10 out of 10 hangover to a more manageable 4 out of 10. If you want to hack your hangover, follow these steps closely. 

 

Step 1: The Basics

Rhino was in rough shape. He needed food and water. Over the course of the day, he refused both. He was on a liquid diet.  Or so he said.

I told him to sit down (for my safety, not his), gave him a large glass of cold water and turned on the TV to distract him.

Here’s the deal.

Drinking is not good for you. There’s no way around it. Anyone who claims the merits of resveratrol, antioxidants, heart healthy etc. hasn’t done their homework. There is some evidence that says alcohol in small amounts can be a hermetic stressor, in the same way exercise can be healthy for you. Regardless, it doesn’t matter. And doesn’t apply to binge drinking.

There are two important biological processes that happen while alcohol is present in your system. You must consider both.

  1. Your blood sugar levels drop, which means you get really tired and usually very hungry. Remember the drunk munchies?
  2. Your body turns alcohol in aldehyde, which is responsible for the awful hangover feeling (also the rapid skin aging experienced by most drinkers). Look at anyone who has been hitting it hard for a few decades and you’ll see what I mean. 

Food and water help with both.

Your takeaway: Not all drunk food is created equal. With that being said, It’s not like Whole Foods is open and you can get a kale and beet salad topped with wild caught salmon. Your body needs basic nutrition in the form of carbs, fat and protein. In order to keep your hangover at bay, you’ll need all 3.

Here are the best food choices:

  1. The Best: Homemade rice with stir fried veggies, eggs and meat. Most restaurants use hydrogenated oils to cook their food. The bad oils poison your brain/body, killing all chances of high brain performance the next week. It’s a vicious cycle. Sticking to homemade food will go a long way.
  2. Avoid it if you can: Late night Asian stir-fry. Avoid the MSG laden fried rice and stick to white rice with stir fried veggies and meat. Avoid anything breaded, deep fried or with unfamiliar ingredients.
  3. Not good for you, but what the hell: Late night Pizza and everything else. It’s not good for you, but does the trick in a pinch. Sometimes paleo can be hard.

A few notes on H2O: While you are going at it, drink a glass of water with each drink. You body dilutes toxins with water so they don’t harm you on the way out.  The water either comes from your muscles, organs/brain OR the water you drink. You might as well drink water.

 

Step 2: The Secret Sauce

Pizza and water alone were not going to cut it for Rhino. He needed magic. I pulled out my supplement case and handed him a handful of supplements also known as “The Secret Sauce”.

Here’s what I gave him:

  1. 12 Sprays of Lipoceutical Glutathione. Swished in mouth for 1 minute and then swallowed.

  2. Alpha Lipoic Acid -600 mg

  3. Activated Charcoal – 4 Pills

  4. Vitamin C – 3 grams

NOTE: This seems like a lot if you are not used to taking supplements. In the end, it’s worth it. 

 

Your Takeaway (nerds only):

These supplements need to be in your system when you are drinking or just after. If you wait until morning, the damage will be done and there is little you can do.

  • Activated Charcoal: You don’t want your body expending a lot of energy detoxifying your body after drinking. Charcoal helps with this as it binds to specific toxins (just like the filter for your water). Take it when you are done drinking and you’ll feel much better the next morning.
  • Vitamin C: The primary starter material that your body uses to make glutathione. More Glutathione = less hangover.
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid.  Just like vitamin C, ALA is a starter material for glutathione. It also helps block the conversion of alcohol into aldehyde, the most hangover-causing metabolite that also causes wrinkles and accelerated aging.  
  • Lipoceutical Glutathione This little step will transform how you feel the next morning. It will also keep the aging effects of alcohol from ravaging your skin and arteries.




 

Step 3: Optimizing Sleep

Rhino couldn’t wait until the pizza was fully cooked, eating the gooey mess right off the rack. He was ready to pass out and stumbled towards the bedroom, looking at me once more.

“Anything else boss?”

I gave him 10 mg of sublingual melatonin (this means dissolves under the tongue) and told him to lay down. With pizza sauce on both sides of his cheeks, he smiled, thanked me for the “pills” and jumped into bed – asleep the second he pulled the covers up.

I walked over to the windows, closed the curtains (creating a  dark environment) and cranked up the air conditioning (full blast).

Your takeaway: Even if you are not conscious, it doesn’t mean that you are getting quality sleep. And sleep quantity is much less important than quality. Also, the restorative and rejuvenating processes of sleep don’t happen when alcohol is in your system, as alcohol was shown to suppress growth hormone levels. [8] 

 

There are 3 elements that go into a great night of sleep.

1. A Cold and Dark Environment: Ideal sleeping temperature is anywhere from 60-68 F. If you can see your hand in front of your face, it is too light. Blackout curtains are ideal.

2. Proper Hormonal Cycles: Take 2.5-10 mg of melatonin before bed (this dosage will depend on your size). Staying up late and binge drinking will destroy your melatonin cortisol hormone cycle and shuts off production of growth hormone. Taking melatonin before bed will help remove some of these effects.

3. Nervous system function: When you stay up all night partying, your nervous system is not going to function well. 5 minutes of deep breathing (3 seconds in, 3 second hold, and 3 second release) will work wonders to calm your nervous system and prepare you for sleep.

Pro tip: get in the habit of deep breathing before bed. I increased my sleep quality about 10% doing this alone. 

 

Step 4: What To Do When You Wake Up

Hopefully you took the advice from the previous 3 steps and have taken your hangover from a 10 to 4. However, you are stressed from the late night before and your adrenal glands have been working overtime.

(You are really going to hate this next trick, but it works.)

Have 1-2 teaspoons of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt in 16 OZ of room temperature water. Drink it down. This takes a huge burden from adrenal glands as they are struggling to raise sodium levels.

You will have more energy and feel better all day if you do this.

 

 

Step 5: A Better Alternative

What I’ve done is broken down common types of alcohol and ranked them from worst to first. Stick to the “A Good Start” category and you’ll feel much better. 

  • The Worst Offenders: unfiltered beer, craft beer and red wine.
  • Bad But Not The End Of The world: Light beer, white wine, ciders, champagne and liquors.
  • Getting Better: Whisky, tequila and brandy.
  • A Good Start: Vodka, rum and gin.

As a rule of thumb, follow this: If it makes you really hungover, then it’s really bad for you.

 

Step 6: Putting It All Together

The key to having a  productive next day lies within the following next steps.

  1. Stick to Vodka, Gin or Rum with no added sugars or additives.
  2. Drink a glass of water with each drink.
  3. Have lemon or lime in each drink.
  4. Eat meat, fat, and carbs before bed.
  5. Take antioxidant supplements (see the secret sauce section).
  6. Take melatonin before bed.
  7. Sleep in a cold dark room.
  8. Sleep as much as possible.
  9. Drink water with dissolved sea salt in the morning. 

 

Life of the party

Rhino was still hurting the next day, but not nearly as bad as he should. He thanked me for the “pills” and then said:

“I feel way better than I should.”

Like Rhino, there will be times you need to blow off steam. Normally partying all night will cripple you the next day. However, using “The Hangover Cure For the Masses”, you’ll get much more out of your body.

Remember…. You are not a machine. There’s nothing sexy about waking up in the bathtub wearing someones else’s underwear and binge drinking will age you faster than a slice of organic bread sitting on the counter-top.

When you decide to take a break from your normally high performance lifestyle make sure you are prepared. Using this strategy you can have your cake and eat it too.

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20041794

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19887722

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1322250/

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10836917

[5] https://www.bulletproofexec.com/alcohol-without-the-hangover-bulletproof-partying-business-networking/

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20712596

[7] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/11/3327.full

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7419664

About Ben Austin

My friends call me the illegitimate love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Nye. I’m a bodybuilding-yogi-science loving-foodie bringing an engineering approach to lifestyle design. Join me as I analyze the systems that go into optimal mental and physical performance and explore the stories and tactics of people who set the standard for the rest of us.

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