Monday, September 19, 2011

The Argument for Temperance

"Uh oh."

It's the immediate visceral reaction when one's eyes open for the first time in the morning, realizing that the previous night's consumption had spiraled out of control. Like, "Irish Wake" out of control. The mouth full of cotton. The stinky kitten breath. Roiling guts and Manny Pacquiao using my skull as a speed bag. Where did I go awry, and why am I wearing this potato sack and 6-inch pumps?

Hangovers, fortunately, are a rare occurrence these days. I think the drinking/hangover continuum is a self-correcting one. As the human body ages; as kids come along; as the opportunity to lay in bed until mid-afternoon fades into pipe-dreams of the college days, the scales that were formerly skewed heavily to shots all-around begin to balance. Back then, knock back a bloody mary, a plate of fried eggs, bacon, and copious amounts of gravy, and back in business. These days, the bottle of vodka in the cabinet had to be tossed to make room for formula and multi-vitamins. And, everyone knows a hearty bowl of oatmeal is better for one's cholesterol. It's the sensible solution to a good morning. Oh yeah, and you feel like death... after a bender.

According to a particularly half-assed search on the internet, the cause of the hangover is generally unknown. Fusel alcohol, a general byproduct of fermentation, is rumored to be a culprit.  In red wines, significant presence of tannins- which contain histamines- can cause allergy-like symptoms that may contribute to hangovers.  Some say to drink liquor first.  Funny how consuming something that's 40% alcohol on average doesn't start me off on the good-foot.

The most generally-accepted cause of pain is dehydration.  Alcohol is a well-known diuretic, inhibiting the body's production of AVP, which- as basically as I can read- helps the kidneys retain water in the system.  With the AVP production blocked by alcohol, the kidneys filter out water (causing all that pee), thus, dehydration.  Thus, the headaches caused by said dehydration.  And I don't think I have the energy to look up the science behind that.  Help me out, doctors.

So, if you're going to get crunk, drink lots of water.  Like, twice as much water as alcoholic drinks.  Mix 'em in.  It won't dilute the absorption of alcohol in your system, but the water will offset the affects of dehydration.

But more importantly, unless you're Andre the Giant, don't drink 4 bottles of wine.  Keep it reasonable, and you should feel okay the next morning.

If you ARE Andre the Giant, thank you so much for stopping by the blog.  We hardly knew ye...

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