Beer before wine does not help with a hangover
You have probably experienced a hangover at some point in your life. Most people do. Hangovers can lead to reduced productivity, impaired performance and a risk of injuries, besides feeling miserable after a bout of excessive drinking. Hangover symptoms occur when higher than normal blood alcohol concentration levels drop back down to zero. This phenomenon is not clearly understood. However, the underlying causes for hangover symptoms may be related to dehydration, immune response, and disturbances to your hormones and metabolism. Colourings and flavourings added to drinks can also make hangovers worse at the same alcohol concentration. There are no effective hangover remedies and people seem to rely on old folk aphorisms that exist in numerous languages and variations, such as, “Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer.”
The next day, the participants were asked about their hangover and given a score from 0-56 (the Acute Hangover Scale) based on factors including thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate and loss of appetite.
To understand whether these remedies actually reduce the severity of a hangover, researchers from the Witten/Herdecke University in Germany and the University of Cambridge in the UK conducted a randomized controlled matched-triplet crossover trial over the course of the summer of 2017. Ninety volunteers, aged between 19 and 40 years old, were recruited and divided into three groups. The first group consumed around two and a half pints of beer followed by four large glasses of wine. The second group consumed the same amounts of alcohol but in reverse order. Participants in the third group (control) consumed either only beer or only wine. A week later group one and two switched to opposite drinking order. The control group participants who only drank beer in the first round switched to only wine in the second round ( and vice versa). The researchers asked participants about their wellbeing at regular intervals and also asked them to judge their perceived level of drunkenness on a scale between 0 and 10 at the end of each study day. Before going to bed, all participants received an individualised amount of refrigerated drinking-water tailored to their body weight. All volunteers were kept under medical supervision overnight. The next day, the participants were asked about their hangover and given a score from 0-56 (the Acute Hangover Scale) based on factors including thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate and loss of appetite.
The researchers found that none of the three groups had significantly different hangover intensity and the order of the drinks did not make any difference. Women tended to have slightly worse hangovers than men. Blood and urine tests and factors such as age, sex, body weight, drinking habits and hangover frequency did not help predict hangover intensity. However, vomiting and perceived drunkenness were associated with a heavier hangover.
The research debunks the idea that drinking beer before wine will give you a milder headache. In fact, it emphasises that the only reliable way to predict how terrible your hangover will be the next day is by how drunk you feel and whether you are sick and vomiting.
Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
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