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milk for hangovers

Evidence based

Is Milk Good For A Hangover?

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

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Evidence based

Wondering if drinking milk is good for hangovers? It’s a popular hangover cure remedy and lots of people drink milk to prevent and treat a hangover.

You may have heard that drinking milk can “line your stomach” acting like a barrier to alcohol.

But is any of this true? Is milk actually good for a hangover?

That’s what we’re going to find out today.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at all things to do with milk and alcohol. More specifically, we’re going to answer whether drinking milk can prevent a hangover. And also, whether it can “cure” your symptoms if you’re feeling rough in the morning.

Table of contents

What are the causes of a hangover?

Before we get into whether milk is good for hangovers or not, we first need to go over what the causes of a hangover are. After all, without knowing why we get hangovers, it’ll be hard to know if milk can help.

The science of hangovers is actually quite complicated and involves several different factors:

Dehydration

You may already know that dehydration is one of the main causes of a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes your kidneys flush out water. That’s because it blocks the release of a hormone called vasopressin. That’s why drinking over several hours can result in quite severe dehydration. You can find out more about this in our article about why alcohol dehydrates you.

Inflammation

Inflammation is a less-known cause of hangovers. Alcohol is a toxin and produces ever more toxins after it’s broken down in your liver. One of the main by-products of alcohol metabolism is acetaldehyde. It’s a highly reactive and noxious substance which inflames the cells it comes into contact with.

In fact, several alcohol-related gastrointestinal cancers are linked to repeated acetaldehyde exposure. (1)

Sleep disturbance

Sleep is not the same when alcohol is in your bloodstream. That’s because alcohol greatly reduces the quality of your sleep by blocking your brain from reaching the REM stage. This is the deepest stage of sleep and is essential for fully resting your mind. Even though alcohol will make you fall asleep much easier, the sleep is light and easily disrupted.

In summary: The cause of hangovers is “multi-factorial”. Meaning, there is no single cause. Rather a combination of the damaging and disrupting effects of alcohol are responsible. So, for milk to be good for hangovers, it’s going to have to have some really remarkable health benefits.

Next up, we’ll take a closer look at what milk is made of to see whether anything in it is good for hangovers.

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What is milk made of?

Well, it all depends on what milk you go for. As an example, we’ll compare cows milk and almond milk.

One 240 ml cup of cow’s milk with 3.25% fat provides:

Calories: 150
Water: 90%
Protein: 8 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Sugar: 12 grams
Fiber: 0 grams
Fat: 9 grams
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B2
Calcium
Phosphorus
Vitamin D

One cup (240 ml) of commercial almond milk provides:

Calories: 39
Fat: 3 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Carbs: 3.5 grams
Fiber: 0.5 grams
Calcium
Potassium
Vitamin D
Vitamin E

The main difference is that cows milk is made from animal protein, more specifically casein. Whereas almond milk is plant-based protein. Also, cows milk has a lot more milk and calcium in it.

On the other hand, almond milk is very high in vitamin E which is an antioxidant.

Is milk good for a hangover?

Now on to the main question, is milk actually good for hangovers?

To explore this more, we’ll split up the answer into drinking milk as a hangover drink first. Then we’ll move onto drinking milk before alcohol for hangover prevention.

Can milk cure a hangover?

The simple answer to this question is no. Milk will definitely not cure your hangover. In fact, nothing on the planet will because a “hangover cure” doesn’t exist.

On the other hand, it may be a tasty, more palatable drink to have than plain water. Also, it provides some essential nutrients and is a good source of energy.

There’s nothing else in it that will reduce the symptoms of a hangover or speed up your recovery though. That goes for almond, cow or any other type of milk for that matter

Does drinking milk before alcohol prevent hangovers?

Once again, the answer is definitely not. If you drink enough alcohol, you’re guaranteed to wake up with a hangover. Milk or no milk.

However, if you’re comparing drinking alcohol on an empty stomach to drinking milk before, then milk is definitely better.

The reason is, drinking on an empty stomach leads to big spikes in blood alcohol concentrations which wreaks havoc on your insides. On the other hand, eating or drinking something nutritious beforehand massively reduces the absorption rate of alcohol.

And in this case, cows milk is probably marginally better than almond milk because it contains more carbohydrate, fat, and protein.

With that said, eating a meal is better than any type of milk. That’s because food sits in your stomach for much longer than a liquid drink.

What about oat milk or chocolate milk (or any other type of milk) for hangovers?

The truth is, the difference is marginal. Milk does not contain magic hangover-curing ingredients. It’s a nutritious drink that will provide you with some energy and hydration.

And more importantly, you may be able to tolerate it better than a meal in the morning when hungover.

But it really doesn’t matter what type of milk you go for.

Anything else to consider?

Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much alcohol for your body to handle. Trying to drink milk to prevent or cure your hangover is the wrong approach.

When it comes to hangovers, taking all the steps necessary steps to prevent getting one in the first place is key. Over and above everything, that means drinking less alcohol. Then after that, drinking at a slower pace, keeping well hydrated, and eating before going out is also important.

Milk for hangovers – Final verdict

There are a lot of hangover cure myths out there and drinking milk for hangovers is one of them.

Lots of people drink “milk to line the stomach” before going out. In actual fact, eating any solid food is probably better.

Others drink milk in the morning in the hope that it’ll take away some of their symptoms. Unfortunately, it’s not going to.

We’ve also explained that it doesn’t really matter what milk you go for. It’s all going to have the same non-effect on your hangover.

With all that said, if you’re feeling rough and like drinking milk because it’s easier to hold down, then, by all means, it’s a good drink to start off with. And it certainly won’t do you any harm.

If you’re interested in this topic, check out our article on the best hangover cure drinks.

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