Words by Dr Cris Beer

When you have kids it seems like every weekend is a reason (or an excuse!) to get together for a barbeque or party. The only problem with this is the inevitable alcohol and/or sugar hangover for adults and kids, respectively, which can easily ruin an otherwise good weekend or start to the new week. So what exactly causes alcohol and sugar hangovers and what can you do about recovering from these quickly?

Most of us have either experienced or heard of an alcohol hangover and have some idea of the symptoms. Few of us, however, are aware that the same symptoms can happen due to a sugar hangover including:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness and/or headache
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Abdominal pains with bloating and wind
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessively hungry and crave unhealthy foods

These symptoms are usually self-limiting but can last up to 24 hours. The reason for the delay in recovery is due to the fact that both the alcohol toxin and sugar need to be processed in the liver. Different individuals will process alcohol and sugar at different rates, some of us will be slower and others will be quicker.

So what can you do to fast-track your recovery from an alcohol or sugar hangover? The first step is to stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Also plan to stay away from alcohol and excessive amounts of sugar the next day to give your liver a break. Eating small, regular meals can help to stabilise your blood sugar too which helps you feel less fatigued.

A liver herb known as silymarin may also help you recover quicker from your symptoms as it helps to speed up liver detoxification processes. Although not recommended in children it can be very helpful in adults. This comes as a tablet supplement and can be purchased from Health Food stores. Another supplement which can help in both adults and children is N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) which restores normal glutathione levels, an important liver antioxidant that is often depleted in many individuals. When glutathione levels become depleted liver detoxification can become sluggish.

On that note, just a word of warning about self-prescribing supplements – it is always best to consult a nutritional medicine practitioner to make sure you are taking the right thing especially when it comes to giving supplements to children. Consider too speaking with a nutritional medicine practitioner if you are experiencing longer recovery times than expected from drinking alcohol or consuming sugar which can indicate a liver impairment to which there are various natural treatments available.

Hopefully by following some of the above tips party season this year will be much more enjoyable for the kids and adults alike!




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