You don’t have to be James Bond to know what you like to drink. Whether it’s a Pornstar Martini, two Jägerbombs or an endless number of VKs, we can all unite in how awful it feels the next day, when even the leftover Maccies isn’t helping. So, what does alcohol actually do to us? Megan Cuerden explains.
When we drink, the alcohol we take in goes straight into the bloodstream and travels all around the body. Firstly to your brain, then your liver, kidneys and lungs. This initial influx of alcohol into the bloodstream causes your blood vessels to widen. That flush you might feel after your first drink is from a big rush of blood to the surface of the skin. It can also cause a drop in blood pressure, making you feel a bit dizzy or light-headed.
You may have a lot or a little of this enzyme – this determines how bad of a hangover you’re going to have
As alcohol travels to the brain first, neurological effects can be felt in the first ten minutes of drinking, meaning you start struggling to focus, remember things or even walk properly! And that urge to head to Maccies after singing your heart out at Ocean? That’s all due to the alcohol too. Drinking alcohol increases the flow of stomach juices, which stimulates your appetite.
Now, if you’re any sort of a pro when it comes to a night out, you’ll have heard the term ‘breaking the seal’ a million times over. Whilst going for a ‘pre-wee’ before your night out doesn’t make you need to go any more than usual, alcohol does. Alcohol is a diuretic which means it increases urine production, this also makes you thirstier – so it’s acceptable to get another round of Jägerbombs, right?
Now: the dreaded morning after. To get rid of alcohol from the body, a toxin called acetaldehyde is created during the metabolic processes of the liver. The only way to break down acetaldehyde is by a specific enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase, and depending on your genetics, you may have a lot or a little of this enzyme – this determines how bad of a hangover you’re going to have.
Your quickest road to recovery involves drinking all the water, eating nutritious meals, and getting as much fresh air as you can handle
If you’ve ever heard the rule of drinking a glass of water before you go to bed, you should probably follow it. Alcohol being a diuretic means you’re more likely to experience headaches, nausea, and a super dry mouth the following day. Alcohol also causes havoc on your endocrine system as a depressant, which means your body isn’t able to regulate or control hormone levels as well as it normally does. This can lead to you dealing with anxious or depressive moods the next day, so be sure to practise extra self-love as you recover!
As tempting as it is to order a hungover takeaway and stay in bed all day, your quickest road to recovery involves drinking all the water, eating nutritious meals, and getting as much fresh air as you can handle. So, remember this after your next pub crawl.
Featured image by Giovanna Gomes on Unsplash. Image licence found here. No changes made to this image.
In article image by Lisa Fotios from Pexels. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.
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