Fed up with hangovers? Try Chlorella!
Updated: Apr 3
The joys of getting older
Generally I really don’t mind aging. My excitement over my birthday hasn’t gotten less since Year 5 and rather than wanting to stay a certain age, I’m grateful for the lessons learned every year and am looking forward to the days when I’m old and wise and can tell my grandkids all about my life adventure.
BUT ever since I passed my “early twenties”, my resistance to alcohol has consistently decreased, making me dread the day after even before I’ve gone out.
I’m not talking about a mild headache after a bottle of wine (which seems to be the threshold of most of my friends) – No, what I’m experiencing is a day in hell that includes nausea, vomiting, splitting headaches and the inability to move much after (and this is a personal record) as little as 2 pints of cider.
I always thought hangovers occur only because we’re dehydrated the next day, but when drinking gallons of water during the night still didn’t help, I went a into a deep-dive of what exactly happens in our bodies when we drink alcohol. Bear with me, we’re getting chemical!
What happens when we drink?
When we drink or ingest alcohol, there’s 3 enzymes in our liver that can break it down into acetaldehyde, a highly poisonous by-product. The main enzyme that breaks down the majority of the alcohol is alcohol dehydrogenase.
This enzyme is the one that people from Asia often lack, resulting in a lower tolerance for alcohol and the infamous 'Asian Glow'.
Our bodies work hard to get rid of acetaldehyde as soon as possible and convert it into acetyl radicals, which then get broken down into carbon dioxide and water. However the enzymes that convert the alcohol are quicker than the ones converting acetaldehyde, resulting in a backlog of acetaldehyde in our system.
What causes our hangovers?
There is still a lot of research being done on what exactly causes hangovers and why it affects some people more than others, but a few studies agree on the following causes:
1. Acetaldehyde poisoning
Acetaldehyde causes oxidative stress, meaning it attacks our cells in our liver and nervous system and even our DNA (which is why regular drinkers often look much older than they are). Some studies suggest that the toxic effects on our cells are also directly linked to the nausea and headaches we experience the next day.
2. Nutrient depletion (& Dehydration)
There are several reasons why our bodies run out of nutrients when we’ve been drinking alcohol. One is the fact that the conversion of acetaldehyde costs a lot of nutrients. The more we drink, the more nutrients our body needs to break it down. The second reason is that alcohol is a so-called diuretic which acts on the kidneys and gets them to produce an increased amount of urine. The more we pee, the more nutrients we’re also flushing out, leaving us dehydrated and nutrient depleted the next morning.
3. Excess acidity
Not only does the breakdown of alcohol leave an acidic residue in our system, the alcohol itself also gets our stomach to produce a higher amount of gastric acid, which adds to the nausea we feel and can cause stomach aches.
A couple of years ago, I started looking into natural hangover prevention or cures and I came across Chlorella.
Chlorella is a fresh-water algae mostly grown in Japan or Taiwan and packed with nutrients.
It contains more chlorophyll than any other plant on our planet, is rich in antioxidants and has a high protein content (containing most essential amino acids).
Chlorella is widely known for its ability to remove heavy metals and toxins out of our system, which is why some scientists have eventually linked it to hangover prevention as well.
Many articles quote a study that took place in 1996 at the Sapporo Medical University in Japan, which determined that ‘consuming 5 grams of chlorella two hours before an evening of drinking lowered the effects of a hangover in 96% of participants’.
The high antioxidant content reduces the damage that acetaldehyde can do to our system, while the chlorophyll, which is highly alkaline, balances our body pH.
My kinda Night-Out
I usually take a few tablets (depending on what the packaging says about the suggested amount) before I drink and after as well, to make sure all the nutrients I lost are replenished and I’m telling you, it works. Every. Time.
Finding out about the process of poisoning my body with alcohol has been a bit of a hangover prevention in itself, because it made me want to drink much less, but I’m the last person to speak against the occasional night out and I’m so glad I can still do these, without feeling my life is over the next day.
So here you go everyone, you’re welcome and drink responsibly 😊