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The Pathology of Alcohol Hangover

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Research on human subjects analyzing blood and urine samples determined biological correlates that may explain the pathology of alcohol hangover. These analyses showed that concentrations of various hormones, electrolytes, free fatty acids, triglycerides, lactate, ketone bodies, cortisol, and glucose were not significantly correlated with reported alcohol hangover severity. Also, markers of dehydration (e.g., vasopressin) were not significantly related to hangover severity. Some studies report a significant correlation between blood acetaldehyde concentration and hangover severity, but most convincing is the significant relationship between immune factors and hangover severity. The latter is supported by studies showing that hangover severity may be reduced by inhibitors of prostaglandin synthesis. Several factors do not cause alcohol hangover but can aggravate its severity. These include sleep deprivation, smoking, congeners, health status, genetics and individual differences. Future studies should more rigorously study these factors as well as biological correlates to further elucidate the pathology of alcohol hangover.

Keywords: Acetaldehyde; Acetate; Alcohol; Alcohol consumption; Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH); Alcohol hangover; Alcoholism; Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH); Aldosterone; Atrial fibrillation; BAC; Biological correlates; Blood; Blood pH; Cortisol; Cytochrome P450 (CYP2E1); Cytokines; Dehydration; Drinking; Drugs; Electrolyte; Endocrine system; Ethanol; Free Fatty Acids; Gluconeogenesis; Hangover severity; Human subjects; Hypoglycaemia; Immune response; Immune-related factors; Intoxication; Ketone Bodies; Lactate; Metabolic acidosis; Methanol; Migraine; Opuntia ficus indica; Pathology; Renin; Smoking; Symptoms; Triglycerides; Urine; Vasopressin; acetaldehyde; biological correlates; c-reactive protein; immune response; pathology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Current Drug Abuse Reviews aims to publish the highest quality reviews, meta-analyses and drug clinical trial studies on all latest advances on alcohol and drug abuse and addiction.

    Book reviews are also published. The Journal will further comprise an agenda listing relevant meetings and conferences that will take place in near future, and advertisement.

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