Rough start to new year? Here are the best hangover cures
THERE is a lot speculation about what we can do to alleviate these dreadful symptoms (other than regret). But what causes hangovers and what can we do to defeat them?
December and January are the booziest time of the year for Aussies, according to ABS data.
It shows alcohol consumption is up in Australia with the average person drinking 9.7 litres of pure alcohol last year.
WHAT CAUSES A HANGOVER?
The Alcohol Hangover Research Group (AHRG) says lazy scientists have been neglecting hangover research for years.
It adds that this has led to a common misconception that they are caused by dehydration - which has not been backed up by any credible scientific research.
Rather, AHRG scientifically define a hangover is "a combination of mental and physical symptoms, experienced the day after a single episode of heavy drinking, starting when blood alcohol concentration approaches zero", on its website.
Basically, drinking takes all the things our body needs and replaces it with pure nastiness.
AHRG's Dr Sally Adams told The Australian there are, in fact, many causes, including dehydration, but also inflammation, electrolyte imbalance, sleep disturbance, alcohol metabolism and low blood sugar.
Brilliant, but how do we get rid of this dreadful feeling? Here are just some of the ways you can give your hangover a kicking.
IBUPROFEN, WASHED DOWN WITH GRAPEFRUIT JUICE
Nutritionist Hannah Richards said drinking grapefruit juice was the best way to speed up your recovery - after taking an Ibuprofen.
She said the juice limits the activity of the enzyme that breaks down drugs, giving the Ibuprofen more of a chance to get to work.
Richards said to avoid aspirin which can upset your stomach.
Eastern Europeans and Russians are renowned for their drinking ability so they should have a good cure too, right?
In the midst of bleak Baltic winter, vodka-swiggers swear by drinking pickle juice - which allegedly replenishes the electrolytes your body lost the night before and perks you up a bit.
Just don't forget to pinch your nose.
If you have a well-stocked pantry and fridge you most likely have what you need to cure any hangover. You may feel like a greasy burger or fry-up but steamed asparagus helps break down the alcohol, enabling toxins to exit your system. Eggs are also a winner as they have a high level of cysteine, an amino acid which helps breakdown toxins. Bananas are also good as they are full of potassium, and ginger is a well-known cure for nausea, so try adding some to fresh juice or water. Finally, try a spoonful of honey as it is made up of fructose which helps breakdown the alcohol.
GO FOR A RUN
This would be at the bottom of my to-list on a chronically-hungover sweltering Aussie summer day.
But apparently, if you make sure you're nicely rehydrated, a bit of light exercise sparks up your metabolism and releases endorphins. However, no scientific studies have proved this - so we're just going off speculation from crazed gym junkies here.
One of my mates, alcohol fanatic and web developer, Patrick Shelley swears by the classic hair-of-the-dog technique.
"The only real way to combat a hangover is to delay the inevitable," said 25-yaer-old Shelley.
"My go-to is obviously beer but bloody marys are a classic hair of the dog bevvie."
Medics advise otherwise - saying you should give 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol to give your body time to recover.
THE HANGOVER CLINIC
Intravenous hangover "clinics" are popping up around the world. Being hooked up to a drip doesn't sound ideal, but then again neither does pickle juice or going for a run.
Despite a morbid fear of needles, I decided to find out after a sociable but vigorous evening on the fizzy stuff.
I was sceptical going in, having read the AMA's vice-president Stephen Parris slam the service - saying it can "cause harm ... with unnecessary insertion of intravenous cannula".
But Max Petro, co-founder of The Hangover Clinic in Surry Hills, seemed like a pleasant enough guy as I rolled up, bleary-eyed, to sample his wares.
I was given the works in the form of the "The Resurrection" ($200). This premium package is designed for hangovers of biblical proportions and supposedly does the trick if you are really dehydrated, groggy, with a strong headache and nausea. Cheaper services are available.
In the name of investigative journalism, I'd given myself a decent amount of grogginess by ingesting a half-dozen Victoria Bitters with a gin and tonic chaser the previous evening.
I started with a classic round of ibuprofen to attack the headache before being wired up and given a litre and a half of "fluids", adjustable oxygen mask and a vitamin cocktail to sup on.
"The way we treat hangovers is by treating the symptoms. So, the fluids treat dehydration, the anti-nausea medication is the same medication you would use to treat chemo patients - so that's a very strong and effective anti-nausea medication and then the anti-headache tablets and oxygen to clear your head."
"We also give out a vitamin cocktail - which reintroduces some of the vitamins back into your system after a big night. So, if you had a cheeky kebab or a slice of pizza late at night - it's good to get some of those good vitamins back into your gut."
I must admit, I felt pretty decent as I strolled out of the door. But, the hefty price tag combined with the fear of the dreaded pin prick means, if I was to go again, it would have to be a pretty bad hangover indeed.
What's your hangover cure? email@example.com or follow @bengrahamjourno on Twitter.