| Inconsistent Hangovers
by Madison Linkley
Hi Bob and Friends -
I really enjoy your column because of the diverse topics it deals with.
It's the first one I go to when reading BeerNexus since I never know
what to expect but regardless of what it's always interesting. I hope
you find my contribution just that. It's a topic I've never seen in the
column but one I unfortunately have dealt with on occasion. And
that's a hangover.
I really try to monitor what I drink but it seems being consistent and
careful doesn't always keep me from a hangover. What I means is if I
have three beers one day and the same three a different day my
body will often react differently. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has
had that experience. Well I decided to do some research why that's
As much as I wanted to find some iron-clad explanation for people
getting hangovers, the truth is, the only explanation for them is that
they drank too much. Yes, there are contributing factors—some of
which I’ll get into below—but the bottom line is simple - the less
alcohol we drink, the less likely we are to be hung over. Not earth
shattering news there but the question still is why some days and not
Hangovers are effected by your body’s absorption of alcohol. That
in turn is determined by things like whether you ate before drinking,
whether you’re a man or a woman (even at the same weight, men
and women process alcohol differently because of our body
composition). So if you had the same number of drinks yesterday as
you did a few weeks ago, but you ate differently or drank different
amounts of water, your body could process that alcohol differently.
Then, of course, there’s the variability in the alcohol content of the
beer you’re drinking. Are they all 5% ABV? 7%? The difference
between a 5% and a 6% beer might not seem like much, but, each
small bump in alcohol content has a cumulative effect over the
course of two to three beers.
Also there’s a core distinction between dosage (how much you
drank) and absorption (how much your body actually has to
process). In fact if you were to take a blood-alcohol content testing
on the same day of the week, having eaten the same meal, having
consumed the same amount of alcohol, your peak BAC would have
The source of that variability is really in your gastrointestinal tract.
The amount of transit time from your stomach to your small intestine
is variable and depends on your meal and even your emotional
state. So even if you are standardizing the amount, your gut is not
exactly the same every time.
There's a lot more but from all I've learned the basic lesson of all this
is to be cautions about using prior experiences with a certain
quantity of alcohol as your yard stick. Just because you felt okay
after once drinking a four-pack doesn’t mean that will always be the
As for hangover cures, I'll leave that to someone else to write about.
Hopefully they well since the only one that really works for me is
sleep and hydration.
Hope you found this interesting. Thanks, Bob.
Thanks Madison for your very informative article. It certainly is our first
about hangovers. More importantly you have given all of us who enjoy
a beer or two something to consider.
Again, many thanks for sending your article. I'm glad we could publish it.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer in any way just as Madisondid. I select the best and
publish them here. So join in and get writing!
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