Does Potassium Help a Hangover?

Fun nights spent drinking with your friends can plague you the next day in the form of a hangover. A hangover is a sickness caused by drinking alcohol. You can get a hangover from drinking just one alcoholic beverage or several. Alcohol increases urination, which increases potassium excretion and causes dehydration. Drinking fluids or eating foods that contain potassium may help ease some of your hangover symptoms.

A bowl of sliced bananas. (Image: Almaje/iStock/Getty Images)

Hangover

Hangover symptoms begin when, after drinking, your blood alcohol level returns to near zero. Hangover symptoms include fatigue, thirst, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, sensitivity to light, shakiness, decreased concentration, depression and anxiety. Different factors contribute to hangover symptoms. Alcohol causes an increase in urine production, which leads to dehydration, thirst and headaches. Alcohol also triggers an inflammatory response by your immune system, which affects memory, concentration and appetite. And alcohol irritates your stomach lining, causes blood sugar to drop and expands blood vessels, which can trigger headaches.

Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral your body needs to function properly. It is also an electrolyte, and helps conduct electricity. You need adequate intakes of potassium for your heart to function properly. It is also necessary for muscle contractions, particularly the contractions of your intestinal tract. Potassium is found in a number of different types of foods. Fruits and vegetables are your best sources, including orange juice, prunes, bananas and potatoes. Low blood levels of potassium can make you feel weak and cause muscle cramps.

Potassium and Hangover

You lose potassium through urination. Drinking alcohol may cause you to lose more potassium than normal, which may exacerbate your hangover symptoms. Potassium is not a cure for a hangover, but making sure you take in adequate amounts through your diet may help ease your symptoms.

Other Hangover Remedies

Time is the only cure for a hangover. To ease symptoms, drink water to rehydrate yourself. Electrolyte sports drinks and juice are also good choices to help you replace potassium. Eating snacks to help boost blood sugar levels may also ease symptoms. Choose bland foods to prevent stomach irritation. Foods that contain fructose, such as bananas or cantaloupe, may help you burn the alcohol quicker. Pain relievers and sleep are also recommended.

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