Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: tkadm30 on 14/02/2018 09:58:31

Title: Why does low-dose alcohol gives me headaches?
Post by: tkadm30 on 14/02/2018 09:58:31
For some reasons, drinking small amounts of alcohol always gives me headaches the morning after.

My body and brain doesn't seem to tolerate alcohol very well.

What is the best way to prevent and mitigate this issue?
Title: Re: Why does low-dose alcohol gives me headaches?
Post by: Bored chemist on 14/02/2018 10:38:36
For some reasons, drinking small amounts of alcohol always gives me headaches the morning after.

My body and brain doesn't seem to tolerate alcohol very well.

What is the best way to prevent and mitigate this issue?
Don't drink alcohol.
Title: Re: Why does low-dose alcohol gives me headaches?
Post by: puppypower on 14/02/2018 12:15:06
For some reasons, drinking small amounts of alcohol always gives me headaches the morning after.

My body and brain doesn't seem to tolerate alcohol very well.

What is the best way to prevent and mitigate this issue?

During alcohol distillation, not only is ethyl alcohol produced, but other unwanted side products are also produced due to the heat of distillation. Alcohol distillation can also produce ethyl ether, as well as something called fusel oils.

The higher end spirits; top shelf, tend to compensate better for these by-products. This can be done during distillation; take off the by-products as sides streams, via multiple distillations,  as well as through aging. The fusels oils, in particular, are often responsible for head aches.

Since you drink only small amounts, buy upper shelf booze, instead of inexpensive well brands. The higher and top shelf brands take the extra cleaning steps. But also before bed, drink a large glass of water. De-hydration is another cause for morning headache, since the body uses water to process the alcohol.
Title: Re: Why does low-dose alcohol gives me headaches?
Post by: evan_au on 14/02/2018 21:03:56
A series of genes and enzymes are involved in breaking down alcohol, mostly in the liver. Some of the intermediate products (eg acetaldehyde) are more toxic than the alcohol itself, so if the production rate of one step is greater than the rate of elimination from the next step, a severe reaction can occur.

Different genetic variants operate at different rates; some people (and some human populations) have lower-activity versions of these genes, and feel the effects more. Alcohol dehydrogenase is one enzyme that is known to vary in this way.

If you don't like the after-effects, drink something else. These days it is becoming almost acceptable to think for yourself.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_metabolism#Physiologic_structures
Title: Re: Why does low-dose alcohol gives me headaches?
Post by: evan_au on 14/02/2018 21:47:46
Another impurity found in low-quality fermentation is methanol.

Your body metabolises methanol to formaldehyde and formic acid (as found in ant bites).

This can give a nasty headache (and cause blindness and death in severe cases).
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanol_toxicity#Mechanism