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Beating the hangover

Last Sunday, I had a hangover. Nothing unusual in that, you might say, particularly for someone with personal experience of more than one of the nine types of heavy drinker; I often have a hangover on a Sunday. Except, this time, I had taken deliberate precautions. I had, I thought, an Alibi.

A new-ish "active pretox drink", Alibi's makers, Solution Sciences Ltd., are careful not to sell it, explicitly, as a hangover prophylactic prophylactic /pro·phy·lac·tic/ (pro?-fi-lak´tik)
1. tending to ward off disease; pertaining to prophylaxis.

2. an agent that tends to ward off disease.

. They make no extravagant claims for Alibi's ability to ward off nausea, headaches and self-loathing. Instead, it's billed, rather coyly, as having been, "developed to prepare your body to receive and process toxins quickly and efficiently".

However, its target customer is obvious enough: 20 and 30-something professionals who still drink like students, but who don't have time to waste in recovery. As the Alibi alibi n. an excuse used by a person accused or suspected of crime. In the original Latin it means "in another place" which has to be the ultimate alibi.

ALIBI, in evidence. This is a Latin word which signifies, elsewhere.
 website puts it: "From the bar on a night out to the boardroom the morning after ... Alibi gets your body ready to be at your best."

Personally, I'm unconvinced. I tested it out over a couple of weekends and, while these were hardly laboratory conditions, results were distinctly mixed.

First time out, I downed a can midway through two nights of heavy drinking
  • Heavy drinking may mean drinking large amounts of water or alcohol.
  • Heavy drinking may also mean drinking alcohol to the point of Drunkenness.
 and not a lot of sleep. Come Sunday evening, I must admit that I did feel rather perkier than I normally might. I actually had the energy to reach for the remote and turn Scrapheap Challenge off. Remarkable stuff. But was that residual lift down to Alibi's 600% RDA RDA
recommended daily allowance

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are quantities of nutrients in the diet that are required to maintain good health in people.
 dose of vitamin B vitamin B
1. Vitamin B complex.

2. A member of the vitamin B complex, especially thiamine.

vitamin B, vitamin B complex

a group of water-soluble substances described separately.
12 or was it pot luck pot luck

take pot luck Informal to accept whatever happens to be available: we'll take pot luck at whatever restaurant might still be open 
? Was it science or psychosomatic psychosomatic /psy·cho·so·mat·ic/ (-sah-mat´ik) pertaining to the mind-body relationship; having bodily symptoms of psychic, emotional, or mental origin.

? Was it down to taking on 100mg of succinic acid, or because I'd been drinking in pubs which clean their pipes properly? Who knows.

Certainly, the second time I tried it - prior to six pints and several large brandies - I felt resolutely res·o·lute  
Firm or determined; unwavering.

[Middle English, dissolved, dissolute, from Latin resol
 bleugh all the next day. They may be selling Alibi in Harvey Nichols, but, less glamorously, I didn't come round until I'd had a half-time pie at the football. Of course, some of Alibi's herbal extracts, like the 280mg of milk thistle in each can, may be more about protecting your body long-term, than making sure you feel zingy zing·y  
adj. zing·i·er, zing·i·est Informal
1. Pleasantly stimulating: "The times are good. The living is easy. The vibes are zingy" Saturday Review.
 the next morning. But, really, what use is that? If I was some sort of health freak, I wouldn't be drinking in the first place.

No. What I was looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 was a solid steel hangover shield; a guaranteed get-out clause; a miracle. And, whatever Alibi is, it isn't that. The only thing I can tell you with any certainty, is that it tastes quite nice, like lime Lucozade, but with a slight medicinal tang.

But, then, what did I expect? "No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover," concluded a 2005 paper published in the British Medical Journal, which very much chimes with my own dedicated research. Over the years, I've tried everything to ward off the inevitable - lining my stomach with milk; boosting myself with Berocca; smoking / not smoking, taking paracetamol paracetamol

see acetaminophen.

acetaminophen, paracetamol

an analgesic and antipyretic drug in dogs. It is contraindicated for cats because of serious side-effects which include intravascular hemolysis, methemoglobinemia and hepatic necrosis.
 before staggering to bed - all to negligible effect.

The only things that do genuinely seem to help are: walking a few miles home to burn off some of the alcohol, and drinking plenty of water through the day before. Even then, some hangovers just feel like fate. One night, you can drink 10 pints and wake up all sunny. On another, you can drink half a bottle of wine and feel like Bacchus has embedded an ice-pick in your eye.

As regards the latter, it seems that everyone has a different favourite form of self-medication. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Modern Drunkard magazine, Kingsley Amis, who wrote three books on drinking, swore by a cure-all morning after mix of Bovril and vodka, known as a Polish Bison. The Scottish rely on Irn Bru of course, while hard partying New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded  has developed its own hangover soup, Yaka Mein.

Personally, I swear by bananas; Alka-Seltzer; long walks; and in rare moments of dire emergency - a seriously bad move though it is - the hair of the dog. It's not big and it's certainly not clever, but sometimes another drink, a good Bloody Mary or a small light lager, really is the only way forward.

But what about you? Do you have any failsafe harm reduction techniques? Or pre-session habits that make you feel better? And what about remedies for hangovers themselves?
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Date:Sep 19, 2008
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