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Why It's Harder To Get Over A Hangover As You Get Older

The hair of the dog doesn’t work quite as well as it used to
by FHM Staff | Aug 13, 2018
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If you are wondering why getting over downing several shots of tequila and washing it down with beer or vodka feels much harder now that you’re in your thirties than it was back in college, turns out you’re not imagining things. There are very real and definite changes in our physiology that make it harder for us to recover from a bender as we get older.

Your liver isn’t what it used to be

The liver is the body’s filtration system. All the gunk we ingest passes through and gets cleaned by the liver by producing the necessary enzymes to break it down and get us back on track. As we get older (and the more gunk we take in), the liver goes through some wear and tear. Basically, it doesn’t produce as many enzymes as it did when we were younger which makes us feel our indulgences a little more than before. “The liver is the body’s detox engine; it processes and filters toxins like alcohol from the bloodstream,” explains Dr. Pescatore, author of The Hamptons Diet.

You’re literally getting softer

As men get older, muscle mass transforms into fat. Apart from its aesthetic change, having more fat cells affects your ability to process alcohol. Pharmacist John Mansour clarifies, “Muscle helps to process alcohol, whereas fat stores it, increasing your blood alcohol concentration.” Simply put, fat cells store alcohol in your body longer which is why the hangover does as well.

You lack practice

Normally (and hopefully), the opportunities to get dead drunk lessen as we get older and take on more responsibility in life. Because of this, the liver becomes less and less accustomed to handling massive amounts of alcohol. As a result, it has a harder time processing it—apart from it aging and producing fewer enzymes.

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Your meds may be working against you

Vitamins and supplements become more of a necessity than an option as we get older. The body, like any machine, needs a bit more help and maintenance as the years go by. Unfortunately, some of the medication we regularly take to balance our system can negatively react to our body’s ability to process alcohol. Antibiotics, antidepressants, and antihistamines are only some of the medications known to negatively react to alcohol so it is always best to consult with your physician first to make sure.

The inevitability of getting older is something no one can escape. So instead of foolishly holding on to youth and fruitlessly reliving our glory days, it’s better to be aware of the changes happening in our body and working with it so that we can still enjoy, albeit a bit more responsibly.

Everything in moderation

To make sure that the fun does not completely stop as we get older, remember to take things in moderation. In fact, institutions such as the Harvard School of Public Health have even found that moderate drinking can reduce the risk of getting a heart attack. Alcohol has also been known to increase HDL, commonly known as “good Cholesterol”, which improves the clotting of blood and sensitivity to insulin.

Befriend the good spirits

Choose clear drinks such as vodka, gin, or white rum which have fewer congeners, the chemical by-product of alcohol fermentation that is, among other things, responsible for causing hangovers. Conversely, avoid whiskey, tequila, bourbon, champagne, and brandy which have high amounts of congeners.

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