Looking for a sure bet to avoid your impending St. Patrick’s Day hangover? Don’t get your hopes up.
“I’m not aware of any hangover cures that work,” says Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Instead, he suggests moderation as a way of prevention. “Just pace yourself,” Koob says. “Sip slowly, have a glass of water between drinks. Dehydration contributes significantly to a hangover, so the more water you have, the better.”
But in case you wake up with a classic case — throbbing headache, nausea, fatigue, weakness and thirst – there are products ranging from tablets to drinks to IV infusions that promise to relieve those symptoms.
From the Mayo Clinic, alcohol:
• Is a diuretic, and dehydration makes you light-headed and dizzy.
• Causes inflammation, and the immune response to suppress it can cause memory problems and difficulty concentrating.
• Increases production of stomach acid, causing nausea and pain.
• Can lower your blood sugar, and hypoglycemia can make you feel moody, tired and shaky.
• Dilates your blood vessels, which can cause a headache.
• Makes you sleepy but hurts your quality of sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling groggy.
• Has congeners, a common flavoring in darker liquors, that can worsen hangovers.
Blowfish, which was developed in New York City, offers a refund if its effervescent tablets containing aspirin and caffeine don’t work. “In terms of the guarantee, we do occasionally have people take us up on it,” founder Brenna Haysom notes.
Another longtime favorite hangover remedy comes from Australia. Berocca is an orange tablet that creates a fizzy drink full of B vitamins, immune-boosting zinc, caffeine and vitamin C. If your only option is a vending machine, go for the sodas in a green can.
A couple of years ago, researchers at Sun Yat-sen University in China concluded that lemon-lime soda was best in cutting the length of a hangover. They tested 57 beverages ranging from teas, herbal drinks and sodas, and concluded that Sprite or 7-Up was the most effective.
If you need relief badly enough, visit a hydration clinic (or get one to come to you). For fees ranging from $130 to $250, medically trained personnel will hook you up to an IV solution that rehydrates and delivers vitamins and minerals lost during the binge.
“This treatment has been around in ERs to treat dehydration for a long time,” says Dr. Adam Nadelson, founder of The I.V. Doc, which offers in-home services in New York City. “If you get fluid into your body, you’ll feel better within 30 minutes.”