Why Do Hangovers Get Worse With Age?

With the New Year behind us, many people shared their tips and tricks on social media about curing hangovers. One response that’s echoed for years is that hangovers seem to get worse with age. Is this true?

Do Hangovers Get Worse With Age?

The short answer is yes; hangovers do get worse with age. While various factors can impact how severe your hangover is  – including overall hydration levels and how frequently you’re exposed to alcohol – certain biological processes that metabolize alcohol can indeed decrease as we age. 

Liver enzymes are one of those key factors. Liver enzymes help break down alcohol in our bodies. The older we get, the less efficient enzyme production is, which makes the impacts of heavy drinking take longer for our body to heal from as opposed to when we’re younger. 

As we age, the organs responsible for the breakdown of products that we consume begin to slow down a bit compared to our younger selves. There’s also an age-related decline in the rate at which the liver, the main detoxifier of our body, handles substances like alcohol.

How to Prevent a Hangover

Studies on the impact and causes of hangovers are still developing, so more research is needed to draw conclusions. However, one of the most significant predictors of hangovers isn’t necessarily the level of intoxication but subjective intoxication. This means that no matter how much you drink, if you drink more than your usual amount, your likelihood of experiencing a hangover increases.

Lack of proper sleep can also contribute to feeling next-day sickness, as regular REM cycles can be disrupted by alcohol consumption. In addition to this, people often stay up later when they drink.

Research from Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic states that your hangover symptoms can be caused by dehydration. People who are drinking may urinate more often, which can cause dehydration thanks to a hormone called vasopressin. Dehydration can also cause vomiting and sweating. Alcohol is a diuretic, so it pulls water out of our system. Having a drink of water after every drink can help keep you hydrated while also slowing down how fast you’re drinking. 

What you’re drinking and how much you’re drinking greatly impact the harshness of your hangover. Clear alcohol, like vodka and gin, tend to cause less severe hangovers than darker ones like whiskey and red wine. 

Another solution that can help with hangovers is consuming carbohydrates because drinking can lower your blood sugar levels. Drinks packed with electrolytes can also replenish you quickly, and developing research has shown some positive correlation between diets with Zinc and B12. However, more data is needed for this research.

If you’ve done everything mentioned above, and you’re still feeling gross, opt out of reaching for the Tylenol. This is because Tylenol has acetaminophen, and the mix of alcohol and acetaminophen can wreak havoc on your liver. Instead, consider a pain reliever without acetaminophen, like Advil. 

Staying Healthy

While all the above options can help prevent or even cure a hangover, staying in shape is another way to make it less likely for your body to experience a hangover in the first place. At West Coast Strength, we’re committed to your body’s overall health. Contact us to start your free trial.

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