If you’re someone who suffers badly from hangovers, there’s a good chance you’ve been trying and testing all different methods to reduce some of the discomfort.
But have you ever considered vitamins to support your body’s natural defenses?
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the best vitamins for a hangover and evaluate the research behind them.
What causes hangovers
To understand whether vitamins are good for a hangover, we first need to go over how alcohol affects your body in the first place.
There are several different factors that are responsible for your hangover symptoms including:
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been driniking more than your body can handle.
Alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes you produce more urine than you are consuming. As a result, drinking can cause dehydration
2)Poor sleep quality
Alcohol is well-known to reduce sleep quality by preventing your brain from reaching the deeper stages of sleep. It’s why you won’t feel fully rested even if you’ve had a good number of hours sleep.(2)
3) Inflammation and damage
Alcohol is broken down by your liver to produce toxic by-products such as acetaldehyde. If you’re drinking at a faster rate than your liver can safely break down alcohol, you get a build-up of acetaldehyde which wreaks havoc on your insides.
Acetaldehyde breaks down to form free-radicals which react with the cells it comes into contact with causing inflammation and damage.(2)
These are some, but not all, of the ways in which alcohol can cause or exacerbate hangover symptoms.
What vitamins are good for a hangover?
Before we start this section, it’s important to mention that vitamins are not going to protect your body from the damaging effects of alcohol and they’re certainly not a hangover cure.
That said, there are some vitamins that could help support your body’s normal metabolism.
AfterDrink contains all the vitamins mentioned in this article.
Vitamin B Complex
B vitamins are very important for your body’s metabolism of nutrients. Some of which are particularly important when it comes to alcohol.
Your body’s requirement of some B vitamins goes up during periods of overindulgence.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B1 has an important role in energy production from the food you eat.
It’s the most common vitamin deficiency in chronic alcohol abuse. A small study in an American emergency department also found that binge drinking can drop vitamin B1 levels.(3)
Vitamin B3 (Also known as Nicotinamide or Niacin)
Vitamin B3 is a precursor to a co-factor called NAD. NAD is essential for the metabolism of most of the nutrients you consume including alcohol.
Over-indulgence in food and drink can increase your body’s requirement of vitamin B3.
This vitamin is required by your body to package and make amino acids, carbohydrates and fats.
Vitamin B2 is what makes your urine turn fluorescent yellow after you take multivitamins. Once again, it’s important for metabolism and also helps regenerate antioxidants, as well as other B vitamins.
In summary, the above-mentioned B vitamins are vital components for keeping your liver working and alcohol can increase your body’s requirement of them.
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Vitamin E is purely an antioxidant vitamin. Its main function is to clear up “reactive oxygen species”, also known as free radicals.
Deficiency in vitamin E is rare and usually only occurs in people who aren’t able to absorb it properly.
We mentioned earlier that drinking increases the production of free-radicals which react with the cells they come into contact with. Antioxidants like Vitamin E neutralise free-radicals.
You’re probably more used to knowing about vitamin C with its role in the immune system than to do with alcohol and hangovers.
Vitamin C has an important role in your immune system, wound healing and collagen production.
Aside from this, it’s a powerful antioxidant.
In fact, it works in harmony with Vitamin E because one of its functions is to restore and regenerate the antioxidant function of vitamin E.(4)
The antioxidant properties of vitamin C and E could be beneficial for neutralising free-radicals before they cause damage.
What about Vitamin B12 for a hangover?
Vitamin B12 is a cofactor in DNA synthesis and amino acid metabolism. It has a vital role in your nervous system and red blood cells which keeps things working.
Unlike the other B vitamins mentioned in this article, your liver has the capacity to store Vitamin B12 and supply your body for 3 to 5 years before you develop a deficiency.(5)
Therefore because of its function and the fact that you’ll have a significant store of B12, it is unlikely to be beneficial for alcohol metabolism and hangovers.
Furthermore, the study we mentioned earlier from the American emergency department found no difference in B12 levels after drinking.
Can vitamins cure a hangover?
There are some vitamins that could help support your metabolism. Ideally taken before, during or directly after drinking so that they are available if needed.
That being said, there are currently no good studies that have specifically tested vitamins as a hangover prevention remedy.
One thing is for sure, vitamins aren’t going to cure your hangover.
Anything else to consider?
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve drunk too much. Although vitamins could help, they’re certainly no magic cure.
The only real way to prevent a hangover is drinking within your limits and making sure you give your liver a chance to clear alcohol and its by-products before they cause too much damage.
Drinking plenty of water throughout your night and having a full meal before going out can go a long way in preventing the worst hangovers.
In addition, sticking to lighter coloured drinks can also help a lot.
So, that brings us to the end of our look into the best vitamins for a hangover.
We’ve walked you through the basics of how alcohol affects your body and explained how some vitamins work to support your body’s normal metabolism.
Remember, supplements are here to support your goals but they must be combined with a healthy lifestyle overall. No supplement can beat sticking to drinking within your limits and plenty of rest.
With that said, AfterDrink contains all the vitamins mentioned in this article.