New Year’s Eve is a drinking holiday. Which means that New Year’s day is inevitably spent nursing a hangover.
Everyone has their own hacks for relieving the symptoms of a hangover (black coffee, Sprite, exercise, and so on), but the fact is there’s still no single hangover cure that’s proven to work. Even in 2014.
Sure, people have asked tons of questions about what causes morning hangovers and how we can alleviate that pounding head, I-want-to-puke feeling. Ultimately, we just don’t have very good answers.
“The science behind hangovers is terrible,” Adam Rogers, a Wired editor and author of a new book “Proof: The Science Behind Booze, said earlier this year in a “Top Line” television interview with ABC’s David Kerley and Yahoo’s Oliver Knox.
“Most of the stuff that you got told the first day before your first night at college about how to avoid a hangover is just wrong or at least not proven,” he added.
This includes the misconception that brown liquor is worse than clear liquor and other falsehoods about how ethanol affects the brain.
An article from The Telegraph written last year had a similar conclusion: “Plenty of research has been done on what a hangover is, what causes it and what you can do about it, and the answers are pretty inconclusive. Studies of hormone levels, levels of dehydration, blood glucose, toxins etc, all seem to point in different directions.”
A hangover is “an inflammatory response,” Rogers said, and that can prompt some flu-like symptoms. But in the case of a hangover, the primary culprit is alcohol, not a virus.
In the interview, Rogers also talks about the popular hair-of-the-dog approach, where one consumes alcohol to help after a night of drinking too much alcohol. You’re probably already familiar with a class of drinks that he calls pick-me-ups, which were specially created at one point to cure a morning hangover. These elixirs include the bloody Mary, the mimosa, and something called a Corpse Reviver #2, a mix of gin, cointreau, lemon juice, and perond.
These drinks may be delicious and distracting, but Rogers doesn’t recommend downing them purely as way to help your hangover.
In any case, something to mull over in the new year.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.