Help with the Hangover

Advice that saves business hours and bodies, from Functional Medicine Associates

With the “Christmas drinks” season rapidly approaching, it’s a great time of year to wind down and re-connect with friends, family and the tribe at work. There is real value to these connections both from a social biological and business perspective.

The downside, however, is that despite our best efforts to avoid overindulging, the majority of us inevitably end up doing exactly that. The consequence of this overindulgence is a condition many of us are all too familiar with, the dreaded hangover. This leads to unproductive days in work as we struggle with the symptoms and the damage done to our bodies.

Most of us are familiar with the unmistakable symptoms of a hangover; headache, nausea, sweating, a rapid heartbeat, shaking and feeling altogether rotten. The causes of these symptoms are simply due to the toxic effects of alcohol and its’ metabolites on both the brain and the body. The toxic effects of alcohol on the brain are numerous and can probably be best illustrated by the tendency for people to ‘stagger’ when drunk. The ‘stagger’ is due to the brain’s balance and motor control centres being scrambled by the alcohol.

When alcohol is metabolized (broken down) in the body it is formed into a substance called acetaldehyde, a substance that is toxic at high levels and can be a major cause of your hangover symptoms. Increased acetaldehyde and the associated free radical damage (called ROS) is the mechanism that drives these symptoms.

Science diagram!

Our body naturally tries to neutralize these toxic compounds through a powerful antioxidant called Glutathione. If we drink alcohol in greater amounts or over an extended period of time (i.e. Christmas drinks season) then Glutathione becomes depleted and toxic damage accumulates. Our body’s ability to detoxify is then compromised and in turn its’ ability to make the immune cells that protect us from colds and infections. Hence why many of us get sick over the holiday season.

We can help to neutralize this toxic situation by adding external sources of Glutathione. This is a strategy we have implemented with the executives we work with. Depending on how much alcohol our executive is going to be exposed to, we can advise on different dosing strategies. This is especially important to 75% of the Asian population as they have a genetic problem with one of the enzymes that help to reduce alcohol’s effects. Alcohol in these populations has more toxic effects.

You can buy Glutathione online although the quality of the product, the dose and its delivery system are very important. The right product is expensive, but our experience shows it consistently reduces hangover symptoms and also gives us confidence that we are offsetting damage to the body and keeping immunity stronger over the festive season.

No product can eradicate the damage excessive drinking causes, but we can at least offset some of this damage.

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