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oxygen for hangover

Evidence based

Is Oxygen Therapy Good For Hangovers?

Afterdrink Author Kathy Caldwell
Kathy Caldwell

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Evidence based

Is oxygen good for hangovers? If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you’ve seen oxygen therapies that claim to cure hangovers. But you’re not sure if it really works.

Well, you’re not alone. With so many hangover cure myths out there, it’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t.

Is pure oxygen really a remedy for a hangover?

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at whether oxygen is good for hangovers, based on the available science.

Table of contents

Causes of a hangover

Before we can see whether oxygen therapy is good for hangovers, we first need to go over how drinking too much alcohol damages the body. After all, without knowing the underlying cause, it’s hard to know what works.

The science of hangovers is complex. There’s still some debate around the cause of hangovers, but scientists generally agree the following factors play a part:

Inflammation: The process of alcohol metabolism produces toxic by-products such as acetaldehyde. And acetaldehyde is a highly toxic and reacts with your cells causing inflammation.

Dehydration: Dehydration is probably the most well-known cause of a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic which means it causes your kidneys to flush out water, leading to dehydration.

Congeners: Congeners are by-products that are formed when alcohol is manufactured. They are what give drinks like red wine and whiskey their distinctive taste and aroma. Unfortunately, they also make hangovers a lot worse. You can find out more about this in our article about congeners.

Reduced sleep quality: Alcohol prevents your brain from reaching the deep stages of sleep that are required to wake up fully rested. Sleep quality with alcohol in your bloodstream is always massively reduced.

In summary, Hangovers are caused by many different damaging effects of alcohol. Next up, we’ll take a closer look at where oxygen therapy fits into the picture.

Is oxygen good for hangovers?

So, now on to the all-important question. Is oxygen good for hangovers?

Off the bat, we can quickly rule out oxygen being good for hydration and sleep. Clearly, the only thing to solve these issues is to drink more water and go back to sleep. In addition, oxygen is unlikely to have any effect on inflammation.

So, does oxygen have any benefits for hangover symptoms?

Well, supporters of oxygen bars claim that it improves mood, energy levels, and concentration. However, these claims haven’t been scientifically proven.

Your blood oxygen levels should be around 98%. And if you checked any healthy individual, it’s always going to be around this number +/-2%. That means pushing more oxygen into your lungs is unlikely to have any benefit in boosting your blood oxygen saturation.

In summary, there’s no scientific basis for oxygen therapy being good for hangovers.

What does the research say?

Oxygen therapy for people without underlying lung conditions is limited to a few conditions. These include cluster headaches and carbon monoxide poisoning.(1)

But don’t mistake cluster headaches with hangover headaches because they are completely different!

Other than these niche uses for high flow oxygen, there isn’t much evidence to back up the claims that oxygen therapy is good for any hangover symptom.

Perhaps the anecdotal benefits are related to the placebo effect!

Is oxygen therapy a hangover cure?

You’ve probably guessed the answer to this question already. Oxygen therapy is definitely not a hangover cure.

In fact, a true hangover “cure” does not exist. And is unlikely to ever do so.

So, if you’re planning on going to an oxygen bar to cure your hangover, you’re going to be disappointed.

Are there any dangers?

Short bursts of high-flow oxygen are unlikely to be dangerous for healthy individuals.

However, for people with underlying lung conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), it can be very dangerous.

If you do have any medical conditions or have been smoking cigarettes for many years, it’s very important you speak to your doctor first before trying oxygen therapy.

Anything else to consider?

Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much alcohol. Trying to remedy your hangover symptoms with oxygen is not the ideal approach.

The best way to prevent a hangover is by drinking less alcohol at a slower pace, eating before going out, and drinking plenty of water throughout the night.

We mentioned earlier that drinks with higher congener concentration cause worse hangovers. And darker colored drinks usually have more congeners. So, staying away from drinks such as red wine and whiskey may help slightly.

With that said, if you drink enough of any type of alcohol, regardless of congeners, you’ll wake up with a nasty hangover. So, the same core hangover prevention tips mentioned above always apply.

Oxygen for hangovers – Final verdict

That brings us to the end of our look into oxygen therapy for hangovers.

We’ve walked you through the causes of a hangover and all the things that contribute to your hangover symptoms.

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence to say oxygen is good for hangovers. Not just for a hangover, but most other symptoms it claims to be beneficial for as well.

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