Written by Dr. Milliquet
Stampede is one of the best times of the year, however, the amount of alcohol that is usually consumed during the 10-day party can wreak havoc on your body. Combine this with a lack of sleep and a diet of mini donuts and deep-fried onions, you will find yourself in need of a serious liver detox.
The liver is the most important organ we need to support when it comes to hangover prevention. This is because preventing and treating hangovers is all about detoxification. Alcohol is broken down to a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. Inability to rid our bodies of this can lead to DNA damage, oxidative stress and inflammation. Drinking alcohol is fun, but it’s important to recognize the negative health implications it has, and do everything we can to prevent liver damage.
If you plan on drinking this stampeded, follow these 5 tips to prevent a hangover and protect your liver.
Our body can only metabolize about 15g per hour of alcohol (1 standard drink). To slow the absorption, be sure to eat something prior to drinking, and if it’s been a few hours since your last meal, have some snacks with your beverages.
Alcohol affects the hormones that are responsible for fluid balance – it causes us to urinate frequently, resulting in a fairly significant loss in body fluids. As we lose fluids, we become more thirsty, and usually go for another alcoholic beverage, perpetuating the cycle. Consuming a non-alcoholic beverage in between alcoholic beverages is a good way to stop this cycle.
Add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt to your water to help replenish electrolytes. Coconut water is another good source of electrolytes.
The best supplement for hangover prevention is a biologically active vitamin B-complex. Alcohol is metabolized through a series of reactions that all require B-vitamins. Furthermore, alcohol inhibits the absorption of these nutrients and with excessive consumption can lead to a deficiency – especially in vitamin B1 (thiamine).
If you plan on drinking, take one B-complex capsule before you drink, another one before you go to bed, and a third in the morning when you wake up. FYI: your urine will likely be a highlighter yellow colour if you do this trick! If you don’t do any of the other recommended tips – at least do this one! You will thank yourself the next day.
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), is another great supplement to take prior to drinking to help your liver process alcohol. NAC is the precursor to glutathione, one of the main antioxidants in our bodies. Glutathione is very important for neutralizing free-radicals, which are a byproduct of alcohol breakdown. Take one capsule of NAC 30-minutes before consuming your first alcoholic beverage.
Milk thistle is one of the best herbs for protecting your liver from the damage alcohol does to it. The active phytonutrient of this herb is silymarin. Long-term silymarin use has been shown to improve the health of the liver.
If you are allergic to ragweed, marigold or daisies, Milk thistle could potentially cause an allergic reaction for you – so stay away if you have an Asteraceae family allergy, and talk to your naturopathic doctor for an alternative.
Milk thistle supplementation is not going to prevent a hangover, but it will help maintain the health of your liver, which is absolutely necessary if you want to enjoy many more Stampedes to come!
Dr. Mandy Milliquet, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor at ProActive Health Group. She has a strong athletic background and works with active individuals of all levels using nutrition, supplementation, injection and intravenous therapies to help them achieve their goals and feel their best.