How Does Overindulging Affect Your Liver?
A much as you strive for an all-things-healthy lifestyle, there may be moments when you overindulge on summer spritzers and campfire beer. As you get older, the days of excess alcohol consumption become fewer. But when those moments of excess happen, how can you bounce back, and what does excess alcohol do to your liver? We know that the liver is the body’s largest organ and that it has numerous functions, from metabolizing to storing. However, what it is most commonly known for is detoxifying the blood. Pretty much
everything you eat, or drink will find its way through the liver at some point, which removes harmful toxins from the body. When you consume alcohol, a particular enzyme in your body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is the toxin that is blamed for the hangover effect. The liver further breaks down this specific toxin to reduce the alcohol into carbon dioxide and water, where it can then be excreted through the skin, urine output, lungs and sweat. Did you know that the breathalyzer is based on alcohol output expelled from the lungs during the toxic removal of alcohol? 90% of the alcohol you consume is filtered through your liver, taking up a lot of space, energy and focus on ensuring the toxic effects of alcohol are removed from your blood. A healthy liver can metabolize one drink per hour on average and the drink size is considered 6 oz. Any more than this and your liver cannot keep up, resulting in several unpleasant effects, most of which is the dreaded hangover.
Can You Cure a Hangover?
A hangover is your body’s reaction to an overload of impurities and sugars found in the alcohol and your liver’s inability to keep up with the removal of the toxins. Dehydration also plays a significant role in hangovers because ethanol works in the body as a diuretic. Have you ever noticed you have to use the washroom more often when drinking? Your body is trying to heal itself by releasing the toxic overload. Allow it to do so, and in fact, give it a helping hand by staying hydrated. When you are dehydrated,
your blood vessels narrow, restricting the flow of blood and oxygen. Your body tries to compensate by dilating its blood vessels, which can lead to headaches and that achy feeling. Alcohol can cause your stomach to produce more gastric acid, causing inflammation of the gut and intestines, leading to nausea. The severity of your hangover will depend on several factors, including the health of your gut and liver, how much food you ate, how much sugar you consumed and the obvious one, how much alcohol you consumed. We are not saying you should never indulge; we are suggesting life in moderation and that you plan. Stay hydrated but not just with water, make sure to keep your electrolytes topped up as well. Electrolytes function to help form fluid in your body. More importantly, they are required to provide a small electric current within your body to jump-start several processes. They regulate nerve, muscle and tissue and hydrate the body. Some of the more common electrolyte substances in your body are sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate and potassium. A hangover is one sign of an imbalance of electrolytes; there are several more harmful conditions that can arise with long term dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. We suggest that you top up your electrolytes by adding some Ener C to your water. We love these small little packages for travelling anywhere. Open, pour into a glass of water and top up your electrolytes before you leave the house, during your outing if possible and most definitely when you get home. Ener-C Sport Electrolyte Drink Mix contains all the essential minerals for rehydration. Take a B vitamin complex that includes vitamin B12 before you go out and when you get home. B vitamins are water-soluble, and they are depleted when you are dehydrated. Natural Factors Chewable Ginger may be the only thing you can stomach when you have a hangover. Ginger helps to reduce nausea and vomiting. Give your liver a helping hand by removing some of those toxins by using Milk Thistle. It won’t cure your hangover, but it will help to remove some of the impurities that are causing your liver to work harder on removal. Ultimately, you need time and lots of rehydrating to get back to your pre-binge self.
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