Hangover Helpers

December 17, 2011
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While nothing ushers in the New Year like a tall glass of bubbly, it’s also true that nothing hurts quite like the morning after. We spoke with Sheila Devitt, a certified herbalist and lead practitioner at our San Francisco store, for some suggestions on preparing and restoring your body after you’ve had a few too many.

Plan ahead
The typical hangover feeling occurs because your body experiences a low level of toxicity after consuming alcohol. The main product of alcohol metabolism is acetaldehyde, which is responsible for causing free radical damage throughout the body. Fortunately, research has shown that antioxidants like vitamins C and E and the amino acid cysteine can help work against these free radicals.

For people who want to be proactive in their approach to avoiding hangovers, Sheila suggests Source Naturals Hangover Formula. This supplement is full of free radical fighting–antioxidants as well as Chinese and western herbs that help reduce alcohol’s negative effects on the body.

Ease symptoms
The first rule for any miserable morning after is to turn to the tap. Drink plenty of water to combat dehydration and, while you’re at it, Sheila recommends adding a vitamin-mineral packet like Emergen-C or UltimaReplenisher. These formulas help rehydrate quicker and add electrolytes.

To lessen headaches and other pain, Sheila likes Rainbow Light’s Pain-Eze, a combination of herbs, vitamins and minerals formulated to relieve all types of pain. “I also really like aromatherapy, which works really well for headaches,” says Sheila. Aroma MD’s Body Soother blend can help, she says, or Pharmaca’s Rosemary, Peppermint and Lavender essential oils. For alcohol-related nausea, she suggests a homeopathic remedy like Nux Vomica.

Support recovery
While you may not feel the damaging effects of too much alcohol on the liver, it’s still important to support its detoxifying abilities. “Take a good B-complex vitamin,” says Sheila. “B vitamins have a lot to do with how the liver gets toxins out of the bloodstream.” Since alcohol consumption disrupts the absorption of B vitamins, it’s important to replace these nutrients. She recommends Pharmaca’s Vitamin B Stress Formula as an extra boost the next morning.

Sheila also advocates for Milk Thistle as a powerful liver-helping herb. She suggests tinctures like Pharmaca’s Milk Thistle Extract or Liver Detox Liquid, which are great for increasing liver function. “Take this any time you’ve had too much to drink since you’re asking your liver to work hard,” says Sheila, who says you can also take Milk Thistle ahead of time to prepare your body.

For more advice on combating the aches and pains that accompany a night of overindulgence, speak with a practitioner at any Pharmaca location.

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