This is why hangovers are worse for some people than for others

The holiday season can be a difficult time in many ways. Meals are often eaten late, are rarely balanced, and nights can be short. This change of pace, combined with strong emotions, contributes to altering our habits. All these changes can put extra strain on the body’s ability to assimilate – and eliminate – what we consume.

The after effects of drinking alcohol vary “depending on the number of drinks you have, the rate of absorption, your gender, age, height and weight, your drinking pattern, your mood at the time, your level of fatigue and physical condition, and whether you have eaten or not”, explains the Aide Alcool website.

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Can genetics play a role?

The aftermath of parties, dinners and other celebrations when alcohol is on the menu can be difficult for some people. Headaches, fatigue, discomfort and pain are all characteristic signs of veisalgia, more commonly called a hangover. Various factors come into play, such as a person’s age or gender or psychological state. Thus, anxiety, depression, stress levels and personality could contribute to making the experience more or less difficult.

Even more surprising, one of the explanations can be found in biology, according to an American study. When we drink alcohol, liquid acetaldehyde is released into the body, a chemical compound that plays a role in the onset of hangover symptoms. At this point, the ALDH2 gene comes into play. This “limits the breakdown of acetaldehyde, leading to a greater build-up of the chemical compound – hence more hangover symptoms,” explains Craig Gunn, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Bristol, in an article on the website The Conversation. Therefore, people with a variation of this gene could suffer from worse hangovers.

To limit the onset of hangover symptoms, it is advisable to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the night. Also, remember to drink alcohol in moderation.

NOW READ: 5 hangover myths debunked by science

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