Sunday, February 6, 2011

FOOD SCIENCE: THE KRYPTONITE TO YOUR HANGOVER


For those of you who have lived or visited Asia, the name Pocari Sweat doesn't sound weird to you, however, for most of us, the name is quite unusual.  

I have no idea what Pocari means or refers to but I think I know why the word Sweat is in the name.  In my kinesiology class, I learned that sweat is comprised mainly of water but is also consists of salt and various other compounds including (urea, ammonia, lactic acid, Vitamin C, and salt / NaCl). This is where the energy drinks comes in.  What we all know is that these drinks are consumed to replenish the electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, chloride etc that we lose through the sweating process.  Essentially you are drinking flavoured sweat to rehydrate you.

Like most people I will buy an energy drink after my hockey or soccer game, but I also always have a few in my fridge for after a night of drinking.   Here is why.


In my opinion you really want to prevent getting extremely dehydrated.  Being dehydrated is one of the reasons why you may have a headache, and feel lethargic aka the hangover.

Water Re absorption In The Kidneys
The kidneys  function to regulate the composition and volume of the fluids and electrolytes circulating through the body. The kidneys regulate water, acid/base balance, certain hormones and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and sodium.  The excessive consumption of alcohol will inhibit your body to release a hormone called Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) which when released amplifies water re absorption in the body.  So if the release of ADH is inhibited, your body will experience excessive water loss in the urine, further dehydrating your body.  Hence the reason why people go to the washroom more when they are drunk.   

Water Re absorption In The Small Intestine

The salt in the sports drink will help the small intestine absorb water.  As sodium enters into the small intestine it creates an osmotic gradient which forces water to diffuse into the cell, and then into the blood thus hydrating the body.  This is a similar concept to brining.

If you don't believe me just think that when people who are severely dehydrated  show up at the hospital they give them saline solution (water with salt).

So at the end of a night of heavy drinking, try to drink as much water as possible but if you are still drunk  less of that water will be absorbed and you will find yourself just going to the washroom more.  If you can, try and get your hands on some Gatorade or my favourite Pocari Sweat, this is the kryptonite to the hangover.  Getting those added electrolytes and salt from Gatorade or Pocari Sweat into your body will help prevent you from waking up with a headache.  


There are other things you can do to prevent a hangover but I am a big subscriber to drinking a sports drink before bed.


Other remedies include

  • Alka Seltzer
  • Advil
  • Eggs
  • Vitamin C
  • Bananas
  • Chicken Soup

Drink em if you got em.


Tom Edo.


Oh I am sure someone out there is asking why does salt water/sea water dehydrate you if the salt in sports drinks and saline help rehydrate you.  The answer is in the quantity of salt.  Too much salt and the body will have to use up it's water to dilute the salt.

Tom Edo Web Developer

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