Ultimate Guide on How to Avoid a Hangover – The Light And The “Hardcore” Approach

how to Avoid a Hangover articleIn this post you will find out how to Avoid a hangover & cure it if it’s too late to prevent it with almost 100% efficiency by:

  • Choosing the proper alcohols to get drunk with
  • Using cheap supplements that will 100% enable you to avoid hangovers so you can go out during the week and still feel good for work!
  • Learning how to cure it by choosing the proper foods & extras the next day

For the past year I probably have drank an average of 2 liters of vodka a week. I was going out a lot, traveling etc and it became a massive habit to always drink to get myself social and to stop working (since I work from my computer usually as my “day” job, including in hostels/hotels when out of town). Most people will not drink this much but I wanted to mention this because I tried a LOT of ways to avoid a hangover and tested many different ways before getting my ideal methods described below which enabled me to wake up the next day productive, get a lot of work done and… party again šŸ˜›

Since I’m very into health I knew I would eventually have to stop this habit but I sough the most efficient way to prevent almost any hangover and more importantly, long term damage to my body for now.

I divided this post into two solutions, the “easy” solutions that most people who drink eventually stumble upon and the more hardcore solutions that require supplements (quite cheap and natural) but WILL prevent hangovers almost all the time if done correctly (combined with choosing the right alcohol from the “easy” solutions), and while preventing a lot of damage to your body.

The “Easy”/Low preparation Way to Avoid a Hangover By Choosing The Proper Alcohol Drink

my vodka of choice

I was taking 2 of these a week for a while, it`s cheap and I love it

You have to know the alcohols that contain the least toxic stuff. The big winner is vodka, hence why it’s my drink of choice. Besides the alcohol it contains pretty much nothing else because it’s usually triple distilled or more. After that, drinks like rhum, tequilla, jack daniels are also ok. Wine would be 3rd (red or white) and beer is BY FAR the worst. It contains a lot of terrible stuff that I won’t get into but suffice to say if you are a guy you want to avoid it, tons of estrogen, carbs etc… It’s also made off grains and contain gluten which probably makes it even worse for many. Vodka is also made from grains but it’s so distilled that it should not be an issue.

I choose to mix my vodka with a bit of sprite/water. you can put some lime in it. Alternatively you can mix it with coffee or hot chocolate. Basically while a bit of sugar in it tastes good… If you drink often you definitely do not want to turn it into a crazy girly drink of 75% sprike/orange juice if you want to be in good health.

What I tend to do to avoid drinking too much alcohol before I feel tipsy/drunk is I would only eat 2-4 hours before going out. So if I planned to go pre drink with friends at 10, my last meal would be at 8. That way I tend to get tipsy faster instead of feeling sober for a few hours and then all the drinks that I took in the past hours start hitting me one after an other. But that’s entirely up to you :). You can drink quite a lot if you follow the supplement section below and no risk of a hangover.

The “Hardcore” Almost Fail proof Way of Avoiding Hangovers

So this section requires a bit of preparation but it really works. It involves a few supplements and was heavily inspired by this post from Dave Asprey. Not only does it prevent hangovers, but it actually helps protect your body against alcohol`s toxicity without hurting any of the fun benefits šŸ˜‰

NAC, very useful to avoid a hangoverN-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is the main supplement to take. NAC must be taken 15-45 minutes before the first drink. 600mg before and about every 60 minutes of drinking. I usually only do it before and after 1 or 2 hours if I’m still drinking a lot so 1,200mg total. You can go to 1,800 if you want or if you are basically drinking happy hour to late night…

NAC is a precursor to Gluthathione, the body’s primary line of defense against alcohol toxicity. Basically it helps temporarily boost your bodies line of defense when alcohol is being digested and binds to the toxic part of alcohol (while leaving the “drunk” feeling intact). You want to take it BEFORE drinking because it needs to start building your bodies defense & MORE IMPORTANTLY NAC most likely actually accentuates damage in your body if it’s taken too late (according to some mice studies). You might as well forget it if you started drinking first.

Vitamin C if used alongside NAC is very useful to prevent hangoversVitamin C is taken with it because it helps NAC properly do it’s job (it renews it while it defends you against the toxic side of alcohol). It’s also really cheap and overall probably might bring other benefits ofĀ vitamin C and poses no risk for health. The supplement recommended in the picture is time released to help spread it out. I take 1g per 600mg of NAC I take.

Vitamin B1Vitamin B1, 100mg. I never noticed a huge difference when I take it or not but in rats that were given mortal doses of alcohol, those with B1 survived. So… It’s pretty cheap too so I take it. If for some reason you take a multivitamin earlier in the day and it contains B1, you can skip this (unlike the NAC and vitamin C which have to be taken before and while drinking because they last ~2 hours in your body). I strongly recommend to never take multivitamins though.

“In one experiment with rodents [Sprince et al., 1974], a LD-90 dose of acetaldehyde (the dose that would normally kill 90% of the animals) was completely blocked by pretreatment of the animals with cysteine and vitamins B-1 and C. In other words, none of the cysteine-treated animals succumbed to the lethal dose of acetaldehyde! N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) protected almost as well as cysteine.” Taken from Steve Fowkes’ site here, which has great in dept information on why this supplement stack works to combat alcohol if you want to go into the nerdy details.

activatedcharcoal(Somestimes) Activated Charcoal: If you take beer or wine, you might also want to use activated charcoal at the end since it will bind with residue of those drinksĀ still present in your body. I usually skip this step since I don’t drink beer & wine in big quantities.

 

I do like to have some off hand though if I get something like food poisoning (which happensĀ a few times a year for meĀ while travelling, especially in Thailand). When you feel the start of food poisoning and your body gets weaker, I take a few capsules, then a few more a few hours later and almost always it prevents the food poisoning from getting worse and the pain/weakness stops increasing. It remains the same level for a few hours then starts dropping until I feel ok again. It’s a lot more effective n this scenario the earlier you take them. I don’t think brand/quality matters much for these (its been made for hundred of years and I tried a few and they have all been effective…), but this is the one I’ve been using.

Do not take Activated CharcoalĀ before or during though, I think it might prevent the other supplements from working!

Below are the links for each of these on amazon or iherb if you live outside of the US, use coupon code IFI934 on iherb.com to save $5-10 off your first order, I also get a small commission if you do!

NAC and Vitamin C are definitely the main ones. They together easily come down to under $1 per night of drinking if you take 2 of each… Quite cheap for avoiding hangovers, skin wrinkling and other problems due to alcohol toxicity šŸ˜‰

NAC on amazon and iherb.

Vitamin C on amazon and iherb

Vitamin B1 on amazon and iherb

Activated charcoal on amazon and iherb (Personally, I rarely use this when drinking whisky/vodkaĀ but if you intend to drink a lot of beer/wine instead of pure spirits you probably want to get it, test how you feel the next morning whether you took it before going to bed or not and see how worthwhile it is over time. Do not take this before or during though, I think it might prevent the other supplements from working!)

My Favorite Best Hangover Cures

I’m not the best at “curing” hangovers since I rarely get them (and you shouldn’t either if you apply both the easy and the “hardcore” sections of this guide) but I did stumble on a few things that worked for me when they do happen.

Re-energize after a night outWhen I get back home after drinking I immediately eat a good meal, drink a lot of water and preferable if you have some sea salt/coconut water you want to drink some to re-energize your body (electrolytes). Drinking water/coconut water is very important because alcohol depletes a lot of your bodily fluids while being digested, it’s a major cause of the headache/hangover the next morning. The reason coconut water helps is because the electrolytes in your body are depleted during drinking. Taking 1/4 or 1/2 of a teaspoon of sea salt (and not table salt) will also help as sea salt contains a lot of minerals that will help avoid a hangover or it will help cure a hangover faster in the next morning.

If you tend to get cramps, it’s probably a magnesium deficiency symptom that I got for a LONG time until I realized I needed to supplement with magnesium, especially when I started drinking because alcohol depletes magnesium. I take 450mg when I drink, you can see it in my daily supplement list here.

The next day, the best hangover food is something with fat, such as egg yolks, butter, coconut oil/milk along with your normal meal. If you have some coconut water that will probably help cure it too. If you wanted to go the unhealthy route perhaps a sports drink like Gatorade could also work since it contains electrolytes but I’ve avoided sugary juices a long time ago, especially when they are extremely artificial and most likely contain high fructose corn syrup.

Other Important Things to Consider for Health

If you are concerned about fat loss, you probably want to avoid eating too much fat before drinking. Your body stops burning fat and focuses only on alcohol so you end up storing more fat.

Finally, while I was drinking a lot, it’s definitely NOT recommended, some side effects of drinking this much CANNOT be prevented. I prevented almost everything and maybe had 2-4 hangovers in the 300 nights I drank in the past year but drinking this much made it extremely hard for me to gain muscle, most likely due to low testosterone from my body constantly fighting alcohol poisoning… It definitely was a lot of fun, especially when you can avoid hangovers and feel great the next day regardless of if you drank or not. But ya, this has all been extensively tested by me and it definitely works. You just have to be smart about it and take your NAC + Vitamin C before drinking and perhaps bring another 1 of each in your pocket for at the bar/club to take 1-2 hours later to cover the rest of the night.

Update: Fish oil supplements & Alcohol

Something Leeshoes in the comments made me remember is that alcohol quickly OXIDIZES the fats from fish oil supplements. It’s a most likely a waste to take them within 2-3 hours before drinking or during. Not only that, oxidized fats are inflammatory for you and you definitely want to avoid that.. Just don’t take fish oil supplements if you are drinking all day ;).

19 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide on How to Avoid a Hangover – The Light And The “Hardcore” Approach

  1. good stuff. probably gonna give NAC a try… the glutathione molecule looks pretty healthy overall.

    Btw have you tried supplementing with the antioxydant astaxanthin? Ive found that it helps a ton preventing hangovers. I take 1pill/day regardless of when I go out or not and its working really well.

    • I tried astaxanthin as it comes with krill oil naturally. While traveling I don’t use cod liver oil because it comes in a glass container… Anyway I wanted to give krill oil capsules a try and astaxanthin is rumored to help with protecting you against the sun which was really good because I was in the south of Italy :). You know, it might have actually helped a lot with hangovers because during those 3 weeks I had 1 week where I was drinking every night in budapest and I never even had the SLIGHTEST hangover. I was taking the same supplement stack before hand (but probably a bit less strict) and I can’t remember having ANY hangover when I woke up in the morning. Wow maybe Astaxanthin helped…

      However one important point your comment reminded me with fish oil supplements and alcohol… Take your fish oil supplements the furthest away from alcohol as possible! Alcohol damages the PUFa (the fats) inside of it, pretty much making them worthless and possibly harmful for you. If you are drinking all day… Just skip taking fish oil supplements that day.

      • I also noticed astaxanthin to help noticibly with hangovers, taking 5 mg twice daily. I was quite surprised, and this was testament to me at what a good supplement it is. I suspect it is because astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier, providing a lot of antioxidant activity to the brain.

  2. Pingback: Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms And Supplementation Advice (Half of Americans are deficient!) | Peak Modern Living

  3. I drink Bacchus for hangover. Itā€™s a Korean energy drink, but it works wonders on my hangover. I keep them chilled in my fridge and drink one after a night of getting mortaled.

    • Haha good to know! I head some people like tomato juice (ketchup). For me anything coconut works well if I do fail and get a hangover.

  4. I try and steer clear of fishoil after a night out of drinking. The after taste and fishy burps (lol) just make me nauseous.

  5. After following this advice for a while and getting sick of trying to explain my dozens of pills to bouncers, I now use sustained release versions of all the involved vitamins.

    Aside from less pills, this also means you can take pills before you sleep for the evening, when your BAC may still be high. So one set before you go out, one set when you go to sleep: that’s it. In my experience this approach works *better* than constantly popping NAC pills while actually drinking.

    You happen to have already listed the exact same sustained release Vitamin C pill I use. Here are the NAC and B Complex / trace minerals pills I use:

    Jarrow Formulas Nac Sustain 600mg
    http://www.amazon.com/Jarrow-Formulas-Sustain-600mg-Tablets/dp/B0013OVVK0

    Rx Health Labs Sustained Release B Complex
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MS06X6U

    I have no idea if these are the best, but they do work in my experience.

  6. You guys may want to try throwing in some alpha lipoic acid before you go to bed. It is another supplement that raises glutathione and is relatively cheap. It always helps me avoid a hangover after a night out.

    • You are right actually I will update my post I have been using ALA for a while before, sometimes during (if I have it on me, but I don’t consider it a must like Vitamin C/NAC during) and usually after drinking.. Its a bit more expensive to add especially if you go for the r-ALA form which has been shown to be more bio available for the body but since for me my priority is to avoid hangovers and prevent damage to my body I add it.

      I made a post about ALA here which I think has many possible benefits and little to no downside risk (though I don’t take it everyday… Only when I am doing something like drinking that I think my body would benefit from a temporary boost of antioxidants)

  7. Interesting, however it is wise to take 600mg of NAC after drinking?
    The study state that pre-administration does good and post-administration without pre-administration does bad things to the liver.

    May be the post-administration cancel the pre-administration of NAC.

    • Thats a question I have also but from what I understand post administration will still work until your liver is overloaded / can’t keep up. Either way if I forget about it for more than like 30 minutes I tend to just take ALA + Vitamin C

    • Thanks for linking that, I had seen it a few years ago as the reason why to take NAC before starting to drink and not after and why on the rare days I forget to take NAC before drinking I just forget about it and only use vitamin C + ALA. I still would like to know “proof” that if I continuously take NAC every 1-2 hours while drinking (with the first dose being before I started drinking) if it does keep being beneficial.

      From my own personal experience in terms of hangovers and how I feel the next day it does… If For example I take NAC at 10pm and I’m still drinking at 2am without taking more NAC I might get a hangover the next day (depending on how much I drank later in the night). If I take for example another dose of NAC at midnight, then 2am I probably won’t or at the very least its a lot weaker then I expect the next day for the amount and time I was drinking the previous night so I think its safe to keep taking (along side ALA and vitamin C) as long as NAC was started before drinking.

  8. I’ve been using NAC for years with substantial success. One thing about this whole pre- and post- alcohol issue is that if one takes NAC and drinks regularly, one is always consuming NAC post-alcohol consumption (though also pre-). I wonder if you have any thoughts on this conundrum.

    • YOu are right but for me I always keep my drinking to mostly 9pm + to give myself a break, of if I drink earlier I usually stop earlier in the night.

  9. I’ve been trying your NAC + Vit C method for a while and it doesn’t seem to do much.
    I’ll take 4 NAC capsules and 1 Vit C within an hour before, then 4 more during and then 2 more when I’m done drinking. I’ll drink for less than 3 hours (mostly clear liquor).
    Is this not enough NAC?

    • Whats the quantity per NAC capsules ? I get 600mg per capsule, and 1g of Vitamin C per “wave”, so 600mg NAC +1g Vit C 30 min-1 hour before drinking, another 600mg + 1g vit C 1 hour after I start drinking, and I usually try to do a third one, around the second or third hour mark after I started drinking. Something I saw first recommended by Tim Ferris is to take L-Lysine as well, before and after. I tried it a few times and I think it makes a difference but for me NAC + VitC as long as I took it consistently while drinking was good.

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