Libations and Your Liver: Understanding Alcohol's Impact

Man holding whisky

As another year wraps up and celebrations begin, saying "yes" to another round of drinks might feel like the norm. Whether enjoying neat whiskey in the evenings or catching up with friends over drinks during a game, feeling your best matters. Waking up with a hangover—pounding headaches, thirst, and sluggishness—can ruin anyone's day.1

Ever wondered why a night of drinking leaves you feeling this way? Let's dive into how alcohol affects your liver and explore ways to have better mornings after a night out.

Alcohol and Your Liver

Your liver is a multitasking marvel. According to the American Liver Foundation, this organ handles hundreds of crucial functions to keep your body working well.2 Among its primary tasks is filtering toxins out of your blood. Every minute, your liver filters more than a liter of blood—over 250 gallons every 24 hours.

This vital organ acts as a filter, catching harmful substances your body doesn't need and breaking them down. So, where do these toxins come from? Your liver processes the foods you eat, drinks you consume, and medications you take.2 Your body also produces its own toxins as part of basic bodily functions that need to be eliminated.3

When you drink alcohol, it introduces more toxins. Your liver utilizes specialized proteins called enzymes, such as alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), to break down ethanol (alcohol) and process it.4 The end result is acetaldehyde.

Although your body swiftly breaks down acetaldehyde into another chemical known as acetate, it can still cause damage. These chemicals might be behind your hangover symptoms.5 Acetaldehyde can also lead to inflammation in the liver, gastrointestinal tract, brain, and other organs.1

Caring for Your Liver After a Night Out & Mindful Drinking

While there's no instant remedy for a hangover, taking extra steps can help your liver and overall health.

Set limits intentionally while enjoying alcohol. Some find it helpful to cap the number of drinks in a night.6 Less alcohol means less strain on your liver. Drinking a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage can stave off dehydration and hangover effects.1

Next-Day Care: Allow your liver time to clear remaining toxins and alcohol. Avoid the "hair of the dog" method—drinking more alcohol—since it adds fuel to the toxin fire.7

Supplement Options: Consider "Better Morning," a supplement formulated to ease hangover symptoms. Take 1 capsule an hour before consuming alcohol. Ingredients like N-acetyl L-tyrosine (NALT), theacrine, and green tea extract aim to provide mood and energy boosts, fight fatigue, and improve brain function.8-13

For a better recovery after your nights out, wake up refreshed with Better Morning.

Better Morning Supplement

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References
  1. Alcohol’s Effects on Health: Hangovers. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Updated March 2021. Accessed November 28, 2023. 
  2. The Healthy Liver. American Liver Foundation. Updated September 6, 2023. Accessed November 28, 2023. 
  3. The Liver Is a Filter: Liver Basics. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Accessed November 28, 2023. 
  4. Alcohol’s Effects on Health: Alcohol Metabolism. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Updated May 2022. Accessed November 28, 2023. 
  5. The Science of Hangovers. Cedars Sinai. Updated September 11, 2018. Accessed November 28, 2023. 
  6. How To Start Drinking Less. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated January 2, 2023. Accessed November 28, 2023. 
  7. The Science of a Hangover. Northwestern Medicine. Updated December 2018. Accessed November 28, 2023. 
  8. Bloemendaal M, Frobose MI, Wegman J, Zanbelt BB, et al. Neuro-cognitive effects of acute tyrosine administration on reactive and proactive response inhibition in healthy older adults. eNeuro. 2018;5(2):ENEURO.0035-17.2018.
  9. Fernstrom JD, Fernstrom MH. Tyrosine, phenylalanine, and catecholamine synthesis and function in the brain. J Nutr. 2007;137(6 Suppl 1):1539S-1547S; discussion 1548S.
  10. Ziegenfuss TN, Habowski SM, Sandrock JE, Kedia AW, Kerksick CM, Lopez HL. A two-part approach to examine the effects of theacrine (TeaCrine) supplementation on oxygen consumption, hemodynamic responses, and subjective measures of cognitive and psychometric parameters. J Diet Suppl. 2017;14(1):9-24.
  11. Nathan PJ, Lu K, Gray M, Oliver C. The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30.
  12. Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr. 2008;138(8):1572S-1577S.
  13. Dodd FL, Kennedy DO, Riby LM, Haskell-Ramsay CF. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015;232(14):2563-76.