Hangover ‘Pre-Tox’: Do This Before You Drink
A great example confirming the validity of this approach that you might relate to is if you ever took vitamin C prior to going to the dentist who gave you a local anesthetic to numb your tooth before dental work.
You would most likely have noted that the anesthetic did not work at all, took a much larger dose, or wore off quickly. This is because vitamin C accelerates your liver’s ability to detoxify it.
Alcohol is a different animal, though, and since it impacts your body on such a wide scale, the more steps you take to circumvent the ill effects, the better. If you know you’ll be having a few drinks, take this natural protocol beforehand to help ‘pre-tox’ your body:
1. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
NAC is a form of the amino acid cysteine. It is known to help increase glutathione and reduce the acetaldehyde toxicity that causes many hangover symptoms. Try taking NAC (at least 200 milligrams) 30 minutes before you drink to help lessen the alcohol’s toxic effects.
If you’re wondering just how powerful NAC can be, consider that, like alcohol, one way that Tylenol causes damage to your liver is by depleting glutathione. If you keep your glutathione levels up, the damage from the acetaminophen may be largely preventable. This is why anyone who overdoses on Tylenol receives large doses of NAC in the emergency room — to increase glutathione.
2. B Vitamins
NAC is thought to work even better when combined with thiamine, or vitamin B1. Vitamin B6 may also help to lessen hangover symptoms. Since alcohol depletes B vitamin in your body and they’re required to help eliminate it from your body, a B-vitamin supplement taken beforehand, as well as the next day, may help.
3. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle contains silymarin and silybin, antioxidants that are known to help protect the liver from toxins, including the effects of alcohol. Not only has silymarin been found to increase glutathione, but it also may help to regenerate liver cells. A milk thistle supplement may be most useful when taken throughout the entire holiday season if you know you’ll be having cocktails on more than one occasion.
4. Vitamin C
Alcohol may deplete your body of vitamin C, which is important for reducing alcohol-induced oxidative stress in your liver. Interestingly, one animal study showed that vitamin C was even more protective to the liver than silymarin (milk thistle) after exposure to alcohol. Just as with a dental anesthetic, vitamin C will also help detoxify alcohol, so make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C, either via supplements or food, before indulging in alcoholic beverages.
Magnesium is another nutrient depleted by alcohol, and it’s one that many are already deficient in. Plus, magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce some hangover symptoms. If you don’t eat a lot of magnesium-rich foods, taking a magnesium supplement before an evening involving drinking may be helpful.