Does it actually matter what you drink when it comes to your chances of getting a hangover?
Some people swear by sticking to top-shelf booze. Others say steer clear of brown liquors and go for vodka instead.
Well, it turns out there’s some truth to both these strategies if you want to avoid a pounding headache in the morning. Certain types of alcohol cause worse hangovers and it has to do with congeners.
What Are Congeners?
Alcoholic drinks are made through either fermentation alone or fermentation followed by distillation. During the process, sugars are converted into alcohol using different types of yeasts.
Along with alcohol, a substance called a congener is also produced.
The amount of congeners depends on the type of sugar that was used to make the alcohol, for example, grapes used for wine or grains used to make beer.
Congeners contribute to the color, odor, and taste of the alcohol.
Darker colored alcohols like bourbon, brandy, and red wine typically contain more congeners. Lighter colored drinks such as vodka, gin, and white wine often have lower amounts of congeners, although the number of congeners in beer and wine can vary a lot.
One exception to the rule is tequila, which in spite of its lighter color has a higher level of congeners.
Typically, more highly distilled alcohols have fewer congeners, which is why top-shelf brands may result in a less severe hangover than their cheaper counterparts.
Are Congeners Bad for You?
Many congeners are pretty toxic, such as methanol which breaks down to the substances formaldehyde and formic acid in your body.
Studies show that the higher the number of congeners in a drink, the more likely you are to have a significant hangover.
In a study of 95 people drinking either bourbon or vodka, researchers found that the bourbon drinkers reported worse hangover symptoms the next day.
One theory is that your body can’t metabolize the congeners and the alcohol at the same time and it may prioritize the breakdown of the congeners. This means that more alcohol accumulates in your system if a higher level of congeners is present.
The buildup of alcohol in your system is one of the key causes of hangover symptoms so you can see why this is a problem.
Another theory about congeners is that they cause your body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine, which prompts an immune response. The inflammation from your immune system can mimic hangover symptoms like fatigue and muscle aches.
How You Can Avoid a Hangover
The easiest way to save yourself the trouble of a hangover is to drink less, but we get that sometimes you just want to throw back some drinks with your friends.
If you choose your booze wisely and opt for alcohol with fewer congeners, you have a slightly lower chance of suffering the next day.
But the truth is that even if you stick to vodka all night, the biggest issue isn’t the congeners… it’s the alcohol building up in your system.
So the best strategy for beating a hangover is to help your liver process the alcohol effectively using FEELGOOD™ to increase your body’s production of glutathione.
Glutathione is the antioxidant that assists your liver enzymes in metabolizing alcohol so that you don’t have toxins accumulating in your body. As you drink more, your glutathione levels decrease.
By increasing the production of glutathione, you’re prompting your body’s natural detoxifying processes so that you wake up feeling like a human being even if your night got a little out of hand (no judgment here).Take our advice and say no to hangovers.