Before we can even discuss the best hangover drink, it’s important to discuss what causes a hangover. The obvious answer here is alcohol consumption, but what exactly happens to your body when you get a hangover?
Alcohol contains chemicals and compounds that cause debilitating changes in your normal bodily functions – usually through dehydration. These changes result in a range of hangover symptoms from the need to urinate more to vomiting and throbbing head pain.
Here, we’ll show you how alcohol dehydrates you and how dehydration can impact your well-being. You’ll learn how an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS can help you manage and relieve alcohol-related dehydration. It’s a low-cost, proven remedy for mild to moderate dehydration and may save you from unwanted hospital visits and pricey at-home IV treatments designed for hangover relief.
5 Ways Alcohol Dehydrates You
Hangovers are the result of heavy drinking and alcohol consumption, but the real cause of hangover symptoms is dehydration. Dehydration is a condition where your body loses more fluids and electrolytes than it can replace. Symptoms of dehydration including headache, dry mouth, low blood pressure, nausea, and excessive thirst.
Alcohol dehydrates you — it’s a diuretic and contains enzymes that affect normal digestive processes. It contains ethanol as well as congeners — substances produced during fermentation — that can wreak havoc on hydration. Read on to learn more about how drinking alcohol can lead to or worsen dehydration.
1. It’s a Diuretic
Alcohol is a diuretic — a substance that increases urination. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “break the seal,” you understand. When your blood alcohol levels increase, your body responds by increasing urination to eliminate toxins. That’s because your liver converts alcohol into a compound known as acetaldehyde — which can be toxic in higher quantities. That also means you lose more water and electrolytes than normal.
In addition, alcohol increases the amount of sodium released in urine. Sodium is an electrolyte that plays a key role in hydration. It boosts water retention and also decreases osmolality — the amount of pressure required for electrolytes to enter a cell membrane. Without enough sodium, it’s even harder for your body to stay hydrated.
Since you urinate more often when you drink alcohol, it’s even more likely that dehydration will set in. This is especially worrisome if you aren’t replacing lost fluids and electrolytes with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS.
2. It Causes Electrolyte Imbalances
The diuretic effects of alcohol can also lead to electrolyte imbalances that can cause dehydration. As mentioned, alcohol consumption increases the amount of sodium in your urine, depleting vital resources in organs throughout the rest of your body. When your sodium levels are low, you can suffer from a type of dehydration known as hyponatremia.
If you don’t have the right balance of electrolytes, you may suffer from dehydration symptoms including headache and extreme thirst. Drinking a glass of water won’t remedy this type of dehydration. You need a precise balance of electrolytes like those found in oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS.
3. It Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Drinking alcohol can reduce the body's ability to produce glucose. The result is hypoglycemia — also known commonly as low blood sugar — which can leave you with feelings of lightheadedness and fatigue as well as dizziness.
Here’s why. Your body uses both glucose and sodium for hydration. Known as the sodium-glucose cotransport system, these two nutrients work together to help your body retain water and make it easier for you to absorb electrolytes. The process starts with glucose receptors that make it easier for sodium to enter the bloodstream. From there, sodium lowers osmolality, making it easier for water and other electrolytes to enter cells and organs.
When you drink alcohol and you don’t produce enough glucose, hydration can be impacted. Combined with lost electrolytes caused by increased urination, dehydration sets in, bringing with it symptoms including headache, dry mouth, and nausea.
4. It Affects Gastrointestinal Processes
Drinking alcohol can cause vomiting and diarrhea that can further dehydrate you. Alcohol does this by irritating your stomach lining and increasing stomach acid. It can also affect the speed at which food is digested in your system.
If your night of drinking results in vomiting and diarrhea, your chances of dehydration skyrocket. That's because vomiting and diarrhea are among the main causes of dehydration. Through these processes, you lose many fluids and electrolytes, leading to dehydration and its uncomfortable symptoms.
5. It Lowers Blood Pressure and Blood Volume
Alcohol inhibits the production of the antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin — a peptide that helps to regulate blood volume. When you drink in excess and dehydration sets in, your blood volume decreases and so does blood pressure.
In normal conditions, your body pumps blood filled with fluids, nutrients, and oxygen to organs so they can carry out healthy functions. When your blood pressure drops, your body is unable to deliver nutrients properly — especially to your nervous system. As a result, you may experience headaches, confusion, sluggish thoughts, and difficulty focusing.
Is There A Hangover Drink?
A quick online search for a hangover drink or hangover remedy will turn up dozens of home remedies. From milk thistle, coconut water, pickle juice, and even hair of the dog to beverages with antioxidants, amino acids, and B-vitamins, the results are endless. However, we can’t back the science behind all hangover remedies.
Other remedies like over-the-counter pain relievers — such as aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen — address short-term hangover symptoms but don’t do anything to manage dehydration, the underlying cause.
And the fact is, no hangover drink will fix your symptoms unless it addresses the underlying dehydration responsible for the symptoms of a hangover.
That means the best way to mitigate a hangover is to manage dehydration — both before and after a night of drinking. Hydrating before you have your first sip of tequila or a bloody Mary can help stave off dehydration and symptoms. If you start drinking when you’re already dehydrated, you’ll only feel worse the next morning.
To stay hydrated, try drinking an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS throughout the day. You can add a few packets to your purse or work bag so you always have an effective dehydration protocol on hand. Plus, the convenient packaging means it’s easy to put in your jacket pocket for when you and your coworkers grab a drink.
You can also minimize the risk of dehydration and the compounding effects of alcohol by alternating between alcoholic beverages and an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. It contains medically relevant electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, that can help support hydration and avoid dehydration that can cause nausea and headaches.
While it’s great when it comes to managing alcohol-related dehydration, you can also incorporate DripDrop ORS into your morning recovery protocol. If you wake up hungover the next day, don’t wait to take an oral rehydration solution. Avoid coffee, as it contains caffeine — another diuretic that can further compound dehydration and hangover symptoms.
Oral rehydration solutions are a better choice compared to drinking water and sports drinks like Gatorade. That’s because — unlike sports drinks — DripDrop ORS provides a precise balance of electrolytes to provide dehydration relief fast. By comparison, sports drinks contain about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop ORS and twice as much sugar.
The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards with its amazing taste. The result is a medically viable ORS that also tastes great.
How DripDrop ORS Can Aid Hydration
Just because alcohol can dehydrate you and lead to hangovers doesn’t mean you have to swear off your favorite alcoholic drinks. By using an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS, you can get ahead of dehydration that can exacerbate hangover symptoms.
Medical-grade DripDrop ORS allows you to tackle mild to moderate dehydration outside of a hospital setting, without the need for IV therapy. Our patented formula is powerful enough to help patients suffering from dehydration caused by Ebola and cholera, but safe enough for everyday use. Plus, DripDrop ORS tastes fantastic and comes in a variety of flavors you can enjoy hot or cold.
When you're in a state of dehydration, water alone is not enough. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. DripDrop ORS also supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium which are essential to support your overall health.
For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great tasting remedy. Its convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it.Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. Or, if you're ready to make a purchase, and you're a first-time buyer, enjoy 15% off your order with code: FIRST15.