Hangover Remedies – Vitamins

Guys, I’m giving you all the tricks of the trade here. First it was some food tips, and now it’s time to listen to your mothers and take your vitamins because they actually play a good role in preventing you from suffering a hangover the morning after a wild night (or a wine night, for you more sophisticated, yet equally as classy, folks).

Why Vitamins?

Like I’ve explained in earlier posts, alcohol is a diuretic. This means it is a substance that causes you to lose water – fast. It does this by inhibiting a hormone that’s important for your body’s water retention, which means all the water you would usually retain is lost in your urine.

Water isn’t the only thing that is lost in your urine. You also lose electrolytes, which are important to replenish and were discussed a bit in an older post, in addition to (…drum roll please…) Vitamins!

That’s right! Unfortunately, your kidneys aren’t the greatest filtration systems when you’re drinking, so they let anything that enters the nephron stay there and be converted into urine. This unfortunately means we lose nutrients and minerals, including some of the vitamins we may have circulating in our bloodstream.

Which Vitamins should we be focusing on?

The most important one, in terms of preventing hangovers, is probably B1 (also known asĀ thiamine). B1 helps prevent the accumulation of a particular molecule, glutarate, in the brain. So after you drink, B1 is released in your urine and glutarate accumulates in your head. This has been linked to headaches. So if you take a supplement for B1 earlier before drinking and then the morning after drinking, your head should feel a little happier with whatever decisions you made. B1 also plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins as well as the function of your nerves and muscles (which are a lot weaker after you have a couple drinks).

Hospitals also have these things called “banana bags” or “rally packs” that help patients with chemical imbalances or nutritional deficiencies. Yes, I’m comparing someone who experiences a hangover with a patient – take this comparison with a grain of salt. These banana bags have all of the things that can help restore a person who has lost a lot of their vitamins, fluids, and other important molecules. While you probably can’t, and shouldn’t, walk into the hospital to ask for a banana bag after going out all night, it is good to know which vitamins they would supply to you!

So here’s the list:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)
  • Vitamin B1 (Our bff a.k.a. thiamine)
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium Sulfate

I’m not saying to go out and buy supplements for all of these things, but make sure that you are eating foods that have these vitamins in it, regardless of whether you’re planning to paint the town red or not. And if you really want to have these vitamin supplements, look into multivitamins (after asking your physician for his/her opinion).

I’m giving you a lot of information about Hangovers and Alcohol in general, but please keep in mind that everything is great in moderation. Just because you have these tools under your belt doesn’t mean it’s time to re-enact every scene from the Hangover movies. Play safe! šŸ™‚

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Prostate Cancer – Risks and Prevention

The end of Movember is upon us, so I thought it would be good to cover a tidbit on the risks and prevention tips in regards to prostate cancer!

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

There are four main categories for the risk factors:

  • Age:Ā Men who are over the age of 40 with a family history of prostate cancer and are African Americans, for other men there is an increased risk after the age of 50. 60% of individuals with prostate cancer were found to be over the age of 65.
  • Family History: As mentioned in the point above, family history plays a role in a man’s risks for prostate cancer. Your risk is doubled if any close male blood relative has or had the disease.
  • Race: African Americans have been found to have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world.
  • Diet: If you’re not eating healthily (i.e. all meat, no vegetables), then your risk for developing prostate cancer increases. High fiber diets with low red meat/fatty foods consumption is recommended as an alternative diet to help lower your risks.

Tips to maintain and monitor your prostate

  • After you reach the age of 40, it is recommended that you get your prostate checked every year. Prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer, so it doesn’t always display symptoms. This is why it is so important to get your prostate checked yearly.
  • Exercising regularly to stay physically active is important in maintaining your health. Also, maintaining a healthy body weight is important as obesity appears to play a role in the development of cancers
  • Watch what you eat! I’m not saying that you need to count how many fries you eat, but make sure to incorporate more vegetables and fiber into your diet and try to stay away from the red meats and fatty foods when you can! Fish is also very helpful. Some studies found that diets that were high in calcium were also linked to the development of cancers, so let’s not take too many calcium supplements (if your doctor recommends you take a calcium supplement, stick to how much they tell you to take).
  • There are also drugs that help stop the conversion of testosterone into another hormone (dihydrotestosterone), which has been found to promote prostate growth. This growth can lead to abnormal growth (in order words, too much growth).

And those are the risks and prevention tips for prostate cancer! Know your body, stay safe and have a great weekend! šŸ™‚

 

Have a suggestion? Why not place itĀ here?

American Cancer Society. 2013. Can cancer be prevented?. Cancer.org. <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/prostate-cancer-risk-factors> November 28, 2013.

Men’s Health Network. 2005. Risk factors. ProstateHealthGuide.org. <http://www.prostatehealthguide.com/cancer_risk.html> November 28, 2013.

Electrolytes

Whenever you’re dehydrated, or experiencing the stomach flu or diarrhea, you hear people telling you the importance of restoring your body’s electrolytes. But what are electrolytes and where can you obtain them from?

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes, also known as minerals,Ā are ions that occur in your body.

Okay… what’s an ion?

Chemistry time, folks!

Each chemical atom or molecule has a specific number of negatively charged particles, electrons, associated with it. When the number of electrons of the atom/molecule deviates from Ā its usual number, it becomesĀ charged. It canĀ either be charged positively by losing electrons, or negatively by gaining electrons. Any charged atom or molecule is known asĀ anĀ ion.

Examples of mineralsĀ that occur in our bodies are:

  • sodium (Na+)
  • potassium (K+)
  • chloride (Cl)
  • calcium (Ca2+)
  • magnesium (Mg2+)
  • bicarbonate (HCO3)
  • phosphate (PO42-)
  • sulfate (SO42-)**

Why do we need electrolytes?

Electrolytes are essential for our motor skills as well as other nerve impulses and muscle contractions (including the beating of your heart!). They also affect how much water is in your body, and the acidity of your blood. They are important because they carry electric charges.

Replenishing electrolytes

Dehydration, which can result from the stomach flu, diarrhea and even profuse sweating, represents a state where a lot water has been lost. Electrolytes accompany this mass of water that leaves our systems, which is why we are told to replenish them. Without electrolytes, we are slower and weaker because they are so important to our biological processes.

People usually recommend drinking sports drinks to raise the level of electrolytes (and fluids) in your system when you are dehydrated, but this really does depend on why you are dehydrated! If you are dehydrated as a result of exercising, then aĀ sports drink is fine. For cases where you are dehydrated as a result of the stomach flu or diarrhea, it’s suggested that you drink an oral electrolyte solution such as PedialyteĀ®Ā in place of a sports drink.

Sports drinks have a high concentration of sugars, which will irritate you when you have a stomach flu and worsen diarrhea as it will draw more water into your bowels. Pedialyte doesn’t use sucrose, which is the sugar found in all GatoradeĀ® products and most PoweradeĀ® products. Gatorade is strictly a sports drink because of its sucrose levels, but I’m going to hand it to Powerade because they’ve introduced Powerade Zero which has no sugar whatsoever, which makes it a great candidate for an electrolyte replenisher.

All of these drinks typically focus on sodium and potassium as electrolytes. Why are these two electrolytes so important? That’s a story for another day.