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Recovering from sugar and alcohol hangovers

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With the promise of good intentions around the corner, the end of the year can turn into a downward spiral of too much sugar and alcohol.

It's hard to get back on the healthy eating wagon, but knowing a few things about how sugar and alcohol affect the body can help.

Recovering from the sugar hangover

Has a sugar hangover left you with an upset stomach, a headache, brain fog, skin issues, chronic pain, mood swings, allergy symptoms, lethargy, and self-loathing?

Steps for recovering from a sugar hangover include:

No sugar. Holiday desserts shoot your blood sugar levels up and down. This taxes the immune system, imbalances brain chemistry, and skews hormones.  To stabilize blood sugar, eat protein every two to three hours, never skip breakfast, and avoid sweets and starchy foods. Focus on proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Hydrate. Staying hydrated with filtered water will help flush toxins from your body.

Support your liver. Help your liver flush toxins with compounds such as as milk thistle, dandelion, N-acetyl L-cysteine, beet root, panax ginseng, and more.

Heal your gut. Unstable blood sugar inflames the gut and promotes yeast and bacterial overgrowth. In addition to stabilizing blood sugar, follow the  autoimmune paleo diet  that eliminates common immune triggers (such as gluten), and use gut support compounds like probiotics and L-glutamine.

Exercise. If you've been morphing into the couch, go easy initially to avoid more inflammation. Appropriate exercise will help tame inflammation, improve brain function, and help flush toxins.

Recovering from the alcohol hangover

Alcohol hangovers are their own special hell.

We don't fully know why hangovers happen, but a few facts can help us recover from them.

Alcohol blocks the production of a hormone that helps the body absorb water. As a result, the body immediately excretes the water—up to four times as much as the alcohol consumed. This is what causes fatigue, dry mouth, and a headache. Drink plenty and use electrolytes to help rehydrate.

When that water is excreted, many of our water-soluble vitamins go with it, contributing to that lousy hung-over. A b-complex supplement before drinking and another the next day can help compensate.

Alcohol also breaks down the body's store of glycogen, an energy source, thus causing weakness, fatigue, and lack of coordination. It's important to remember to eat.

Drinking alcohol creates the powerful toxin acetaldehyde in the body. The body attacks it with an antioxidant called glutathione, our body's most powerful antioxidant. Using natural compounds to support glutathione can help with recovery.

Alcohol inhibits glutamine, one of the body's natural stimulants. When you stop drinking, the body responds by producing more than it needs, disrupting sleep and causing hangover tremors, anxiety, restlessness, and increased blood pressure. Allow yourself to take it easy.

The New Year is a great time not to focus on unrealistic goals, rather on simple daily strategies to not only recover from holiday excesses but also improve how you feel and function all year. Ask my office for more advice.

Meet the Author

Dr. Matz DC

Dr. Boyle D.A.C.M., LAc., DiplOM. is the founder of the Holistic Wellness Center of the Carolinas where he is the Director of Functional Medicine. He holds a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine and is acupuncture physician and primary care physician in the state of Florida. His post-graduate focus has been in the fields of functional neurology, functional immunology, and functional endocrinology.

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