How long can you feel the effects of a hangover?
You had promised yourself that you would no longer feel the symptoms of a hangover, but on the day after the evening
Headaches, nausea, digestive problems, vomiting, fatigue, tremors... The list of symptoms of a hangover , or "veisalgia" is long and reflects the state of discomfort caused by alcohol abuse. .
Fortunately for you, this is only a transient state , the duration of which depends in part on the metabolism of alcohol by your body and we will also explain to you why excessive alcohol consumption causes such symptoms.
First of all, to understand the appearance of a hangover and its duration, we must know how alcohol is metabolized by our body, that is to say what it becomes from the moment you drank it.
There are 3 main stages in the metabolism of alcohol that we are going to decipher:
Step 1: Absorption of alcohol by the body
The alcohol you drink is absorbed in your stomach into your bloodstream. This absorption is influenced by different factors: if you are on an empty stomach, the absorption of alcohol will be faster, the same if you consume a carbonated alcohol or mixed with a carbonated drink.
Maximum absorption is also reached more quickly for strong alcohols. Therefore, you can reduce your state of intoxication and therefore your future hangover by taking into account these factors: do not drink on an empty stomach, avoid carbonated drinks as well as strong alcohols.
Unfortunately there are also factors influencing your alcohol absorption that you have no control over:
Gender: Women absorb alcohol faster than men.
The weight: The lower it is, the more quickly you will reach the state of inebriation because part of the alcohol absorbed lodges in fat.
Step 2: The distribution of alcohol
The second stage of metabolism is called distribution: once the alcohol is absorbed into the blood, it will be distributed in your body. Due to its physico-chemical characteristics, alcohol diffuses very rapidly into the tissues. This diffusion is maximum when the absorption peak is reached - that is to say when the blood concentration of alcohol is the highest.
On average, this concentration peaks 30 minutes after alcohol ingestion. As mentioned above, if you are fasting, the absorption peak will be reached sooner. Alcohol is distributed very quickly in tissues that are highly vascularized such as the brain and the liver, which is why it is particularly deleterious for these two organs.
Drinking alcohol is intoxication!
The body will have to metabolize the alcohol in order to then be able to eliminate it: this is the stage called metabolization and it takes place in the liver.
Step 3: The metabolism of alcohol by the liver
To put it simply, the ethanol molecule (the alcohol present in alcoholic beverages) will undergo chemical transformations to end up with a molecule that can be eliminated by the body. During its transformation, ethanol will become acetaldehyde which is a toxic molecule for our organism. Indeed, this molecule is largely responsible for the adverse effects of alcohol such as nausea, tachycardia, headaches...
The more you drink, the more ethanol will have to be metabolized, and therefore there will be an accumulation of acetaldehyde. You will have a good chance of suffering the undesirable effects of alcohol, the same evening, then the next day, because the elimination is long: around 0.15 g/L per hour. For a blood alcohol level of 0.6 g/L, it will take 4 to 5 hours for the alcohol to be completely eliminated.
Now that we have seen the metabolism of alcohol and its impact on hangovers, let's look at the other effects that will increase the intensity and duration of your "hangover" when drinking too much alcohol. During a hangover , you are dehydrated . Alcohol accentuates water loss because it disrupts the activity of our brain. The latter no longer secretes the hormone called vasopressin, which is responsible for the reabsorption of water: this explains why you more frequently want to go to the toilet after drinking. As a result, the body becomes dehydrated since it no longer reabsorbs water or electrolytes , and you suffer from the symptoms of dehydration: feeling thirsty, muscle cramps, headaches... This dehydration will also be accentuated in the event of vomiting after a alcohol consumption.
Alcohol also causes hypoglycemia . Indeed, one of the major roles of the liver is to produce glucose to meet the energy needs of the body, but the latter is too busy eliminating the alcohol consumed and can no longer fulfill this task. Hypoglycemia is responsible for the fatigue you may feel the day after the evening, tremors or even the difficulty you may have to concentrate. Finally, hypoglycemia associated with excess alcohol can cause ketoacidosis, ie acidification of the blood causing vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.
Paradoxically, it is when the blood alcohol concentration returns to 0 that the symptoms of a hangover are the strongest: the elimination of alcohol requires a lot of effort from the body and causes many metabolic disorders (accumulation toxic metabolites, dehydration, hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis) whose symptoms appear gradually, between 8 am and 4 pm. In addition, alcohol also disrupts the nervous system, in particular the transmission of painful messages, which also explains the increase in unpleasant symptoms once alcohol is eliminated. In conclusion, although it is difficult to estimate the precise duration of veisalgia, its speed of onset is directly related to the speed of alcohol metabolism. As a result, it appears more or less quickly depending on your sex, your weight and the amount of alcohol you have ingested. Rest assured, it rarely lasts more than 24 hours. Its disappearance will mainly depend on your body's ability to recover from the metabolic disorders it has suffered. By knowing the effects of alcohol on your body, you can take care of yourself by making up for the losses suffered by your body and thus recover more effectively . To help you in your task, we invite you to read our article "10 remedies against a hangover " in order to make it disappear as quickly as possible.
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