As people think about plans for New Year’s Eve there are inevitably thoughts about drinking alcohol as part of the evening festivities. People like to drink and enjoy feeling the buzz or the happy giddy feeling that comes along with drinking alcohol but don’t like feeling poorly the day after. Do you ever wonder why that happens?
I know that I use to before I learned about how alcohol affects the body. Let me share what I learned in during my medical training that explain alcohol’s effect on the body. Alcohol causes the body to lose water. This is why when people drink they have to go to the bathroom more. Our kidney’s are responsible for the water balance in our bodies they monitor whether water stays in our system or goes to our bladder to be peed out. We have a hormone Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) that is produced in the brain and travels to the kidneys keep water in the bloodstream and prevents us from peeing it out. ADH is important to help keep our water in our blood and prevent dehydration in our bodies. It also helps to regulate our blood pressure.
Alcohol prevents the ADH from being released from the brain to the kidneys. Remember ADH is the hormone that causes us to keep water in the in body. When we drink alcohol ADH does not get released so we pee out all the water. If you are drinking alcohol and not drinking enough water to replenish all the water you are peeing out, when we wake up the next day, we wake up feeling dehydrated and many people call that a “hangover”.
So how do we enjoy a couple glasses of alcohol without the hangover? Make sure you have a cup of water for each glass of alcohol you drink. Before you go to bed have another 16 ounces of water and drink water as soon as you get up. This will reduce the dehydration many people experience.
A separate but good tip as well is to make sure you eat protein based foods before and as you drink, it helps the body absorb the alcohol so you don’t get drunk as quickly.
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