After drinking too much alcohol, you may experience a hangover. Common symptoms include headache, dehydration, difficulties concentrating, rapid heart beat, bloodshot eyes, vomiting and dizziness. The most effective way to avoid hangovers is to abstain from alcohol or drink in moderation. If you're already experiencing a hangover B vitamins may help relieve symptoms.
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Never take any vitamin supplement without checking with your doctor, especially if you're combining supplements with alcohol.
Increased Vitamin B Requirement
Alcohol metabolism may cause additional requirements of B vitamins. Alcohol is a diuretic, causing drinkers to need to use the bathroom often. Frequent urination increases the loss of water and numerous vitamins. B vitamins are critical for metabolism in the body and during a night of heavy drinking will be excreted in the urine, causing a deficiency. Taking Vitamin B complex, which includes vitamin B-1 or thiamine, B-2 or riboflavin, folic acid, B-6 and B-12 may help alleviate hangover symptoms.
Vitamin B May Help Alleviate Hangovers
A supplement containing vitamins B-1 and B-6 was shown to help reduce hangover symptoms. Work published in Advances in Preventive Medicine in 2012 sent subjects a supplement and encouraged them to take the supplement before and after drinking alcohol. Of the subjects who completed the study, 88 percent reported a reduction in hangover symptoms.
Further Research Needed
Work published in the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol studied the effect of a type of Vitamin B-6 known as pyritinol on the development of hangovers. Subjects received pyritinol or a placebo before, during, and after a party in which they drank alcohol. Those who received the pyritinol reported fewer symptoms of a hangover the next morning than those receiving a placebo. However, because this work was published in 1973, more up-to-date research is required to confirm its benefits.
Food Sources of B Vitamins
Thiamin is found in peas, pork, liver, legumes and is often added to different grain products like cereal, bread, pasta, rice and tortillas. Riboflavin is found in liver, eggs, dark green vegetables, legumes, whole and enriched grains and milk. Niacin is found in liver, fish, poultry, meat, peanuts and whole and enriched grains. Food sources of Vitamin B-6 include pork, meats, whole-grains, cereals, legumes, and green, leafy vegetables. Sources of folate include liver, kidney, dark green leafy vegetables, meats, fish, whole and enriched grains and cereals, legumes and citrus fruits. Vitamin B-12 is found from animal sources like meats, eggs, milk, oysters and shellfish.