New Year's Eve and a hangover the next morning seem to go together like pizza and beer.
But there's no need to suffer the throbbing headache, dry mouth and sore stomach that inevitably follow a night of partying too much.
There are steps you can take to speed your recovery from the previous night's celebration or, better yet, to head off a hangover in the first place.
Dr. Mehdi Khosh, owner of Lawrence's Natural Medical Care Clinic, 2601 Sixth St., suite D, can offer you preventative measures against hangovers, as well as some remedies to bring you relief on New Year's Day.
Anything you can do to boost the function of your liver either before you imbibe or after is a good step.
"When you drink alcohol, it mostly goes to the liver, which metabolizes it. There's a couple of things I can advise that work really well," the naturopathic doctor says. "Green vegetables are good for the liver, and vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B-6 and B-1. These improve the enzyme activity of the liver to detoxify alcohol."
Other substances that boost the liver's enzyme function are milk thistle which comes in an extract, tea form or a powder and beet juice. The dispensary in Khosh's clinic carries all of these products.
While you're consuming alcohol, and before you go to bed, drink lots of water. Alcohol is a diuretic it dehydrates the body, contributing to how lousy you feel after hoisting a few too many.
"If you drink enough water, you will reduce the amount of nausea you feel (later)," Khosh says.
He also recommends taking a few drops of a homeopathically prepared solution of either nux vomica or ipecac.
Nux vomica comes from the seeds of a tree, and ipecac is from the dried root of a bush. Both are good for reducing nausea and a stomach ache. A liquid preparation of these substances costs about $10 per ounce at Khosh's dispensary.
It's also good to strengthen your adrenal gland function if you want to stave off a hangover.
For this, Khosh recommends buying bovine adrenal gland extract, which he sells for $16 to $17 for a bottle of 60 capsules.
Dr. Mehdi Khosh, owner of Natural Medical Care Clinic
DHEA, a master hormone, serves much the same function. Khosh sells a bottle of 90 DHEA 25-milligram pills for $12 to $13.
Hair o' the dog
Popping a few aspirin, Tylenol or Ibuprofen capsules the day after drinking too much might relieve your headache. But it's dangerous to take these products before or during alcohol consumption.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. found that taking aspirin before you drink alcohol increases blood alcohol levels by 26 percent.
And the alcohol actually stays in the body longer because your metabolism is slowed.
Ibuprofen and Tylenol also can increase your risk of liver damage when combined with large amounts of alcohol, says Lynn Quiring, owner of The Medicine Shoppe, 1807 Mass. Quiring's a certified clinical nutritionist and a registered pharmacist and has a diploma in homeopathic pharmacy.
As far as having another drink to cure your hangover known as "the hair of the dog that bit you" remedy it's dumb.
"If your system is toxic already, why flood it more?" Quiring says.
The benefits of caffeine for a hangover are oversold, too.
"Caffeine does activate certain enzymes in the liver. But I don't recommend people go out and buy (caffeine pills)," Quiring says.