Bad news for those who hope to stave off a hangover after a night of drinking with a heavy meal or a several glasses of water. According to researchers from Canada and the Netherlands, these common hangover cures are ineffective at preventing the inevitable ill feeling you get after consuming too much alcohol. About the only thing that does work at lessening a hangover is –unfortunately– drinking less alcohol the night before, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Researchers in the Netherlands and Canada questioned more than 800 Dutch students and 789 Canadian students about their drinking habits and the resulting hangover severity in the past month. More than half of the students ate a meal and two-thirds drank water as a way to combat a hangover. Based on the survey results, neither the food nor water had any significant effect on how the person rated the severity of their handover.
“Drinking water may help against thirst and a dry mouth, but it will not take away the misery, the headache and the nausea,” said lead researcher Dr Joris Verster, from the Netherland’s Utrecht University.
The only correlation observed was with the amount of alcohol consumed — the more a student drank the night before, the worst they felt the next morning. Those who reported not having any hangovers weren’t “super-drinkers. Rather, they were found to not have drank enough alcohol to experience any negative side effects from their light drinking.
The team used the information provided on the surveys and calculated the estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the students. Their results show that four-fifths of those who claimed not to suffer from hangovers had a theoretical BAC of less than 0.1 percent. This calculated BAC is equivalent to drinking approxiamtely two large glasses of wine or two and half bottles of beer in an hour.
Verster’s study suggests food and water are not panaceas for those who imbibe too much, but he is not giving up on finding a cure. Verster plans future controlled studies designed to study the hangover process in hopes of identifying an effective remedy. While dehydration is involved, the exact factors that cause a headache and nausea following alcohol consumption are currently not known. “We know the immune system is involved, but before we know what causes it, it’s very unlikely we’ll find an effective cure,” says Verster.