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Hangover cure: What really works?

photo: Flickr/Antoine K photo: Flickr/Antoine K
Searches of the term "hangover" greatly increase on Jan. 1 in the U.S. (FOX19) Searches of the term "hangover" greatly increase on Jan. 1 in the U.S. (FOX19)
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Going out for New Year's Eve? Have a few drinks and you could be looking at a hangover in the morning. 

Fitness Magazine looked at 9 rumored hangover cures and asked Ruth Engs--a registered nurse and professor at Indiana University who has done extensive research on the effects of drinking--if they really work. Here's what they found out:

  1. Sweating it out? That actually could make things worse. Engs says the rush of endorphins may make you feel like it's working but if you are not properly hydrated when you work out, your symptoms will get worse.
  2. But sleep, on the other hand, could help. Alcohol is typically metabolized at the rate of .015 BAC every hour, according to Fitness Magazine. So, catching some extra zzz's could be the key. Just make sure you stay hydrated!
  3. Feeling like a Bloody Mary? Bad idea, says Engs. "The body is going through withdrawl symptoms from overindulging, and drinking more just prevents more withdrawl symptoms," she said. 
  4. You've got a headache but over-the-counter pain meds can do more harm than good. If you only drink occasionally, it could help the hangover. But if you are a frequent drinker, Tylenol can contribute more damage to your liver and ibuprofen can irritate your stomach. 
  5. Coffee is fine, as long as it's preceded by water. The sugar rush from coffee will likely cause a crash later and that will add to your already existing dehydration. It's best to hold off on coffee until you're fully recovered, Engs says.
  6. What about Gatorade? It's a great option! Not only does it hydrate you, it also gives you electrolytes. Want to go natural? Try coconut water.
  7. Greasy food might sound delicious after a hangover but it's actually best to eat it before. "Eating a high-protein dinner before drinking can help slow the absorption of ethanol into the circulatory system," says Engs. 
  8. Do hangover pills and drinks really work? It depends on the person. Very little research has been done on the effects of such products. While some people swear by them, others say they aren't worth the money.

Read Fitness Magazine's article on the topic here. 

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