Wine Hangover Cure: How To Recover Fast
By James Petra
Updated on December 03, 2020

How to cure a wine hangover? If you’re asking this question and have landed on this page, chances are, you’ve had a few too many glasses last night and are looking for a fast remedy.

Wine hangovers are arguably the worst type of hangovers you can get. And there’s a good reason why they particularly severe (more on this later).

For some people, even a glass or two of wine is enough to give you a hangover.

But why are wine hangovers worse? and more importantly, how do you cure a wine hangover fast?

In this article, we’re going to a closer look at everything there is to know about wine hangovers and what you can do to prevent them.

What are the causes of a wine hangover?

To understand how to cure a wine hangover, we first need to go over the cause of them in the first place.

The science of wine hangovers is complex and there are several different causes. Firstly, we’ll go over how the alcohol in wine causes damage and then focus on specific factors in wine which makes things a lot worse.

Alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes you urinate more fluid than you are drinking. As a result, it can make you dehydrated. In addition, when alcohol is broken down by your liver, it produces toxic by-products. These by-products react with your cells and cause inflammation. Finally, alcohol significantly reduces sleep quality by preventing you from reaching the deeper stages of sleep, also known as the REM stage.

In summary, inflammation, dehydration, and poor sleep quality are just some of the ways in which alcohol causes a hangover.(1)

But what are wine hangovers known to be a lot worse than your standard drinks?

Next up, we’ll look into specific compounds in wine which make hangovers notoriously bad.

Are wine hangovers worse than others?

The quick answer to this question is, yes. And it’s been proven in research studies.

Wine contains a higher concentration of congeners. Congeners are by-products produced during the aging and fermentation process it requires to make wine.

Congeners have been shown in research studies to significantly worsen hangover symptoms as they promote inflammation.(2)

In fact, all drinks which are darker in color such as whiskey and bourbon also contain high concentrations of congeners.

That said, wine can still cause worse hangovers for some people. The reason has been liked to histamine and serotonin.

Red wine, in particular, contains high amounts of histamine. Histamine dilates blood vessels and this has been linked to one of the reasons why wine causes worse headaches. It’s thought that the dilation of blood vessels in the brain and surrounding meninges (outer layers of the brain) adds pressure and inflammation.(3)

Wine is a well-known trigger of migraine headaches. This association has been linked to the fact that wine stimulates the release of serotonin (5-HT).(4)

Once again, it’s thought that serotonin causes blood vessels in the brain to dilate and also sensitizes nerve endings to pain.

The bottom line: Wine hangovers are worse than hangovers from other types of alcohol because of the high concentration of congeners, histamine and serotonin release. Studies have shown that red wine is significantly worse in terms of hangover severity compared to white wine and rose.

How to cure a wine hangover fast

So, now it’s time to take a look at the all-important question of how to cure a wine hangover.

A wine hangover “cure” would technically mean doing or taking something that will completely eliminate your hangover symptoms. Before we start this section, it’s important to mention that a “cure” doesn’t exist. And anyone who claims there are things you can do which will magically ger rid of your wine hangover is selling you a dream.

That said, there are plenty of things you can do to soften the blow of a wine hangover.

1) Water

We mentioned before that one of the main causes of a hangover is dehydration. Therefore, rehydration is essential. A great way to speed up how fast you rehydrate is adding rehydration sachets to your water. It’s the same ones people commonly use to rehydrate when they have diarrhea and can be purchased from any pharmacy over the counter.

Other than this, you could also make yourself a juice. Check out our post on hangover juices for more information.

2) Ginger

Ginger is a research-backed anti-sickness remedy.(5)

You can make yourself your very own ginger-based hangover tea by slicing some pieces and putting it into hot water.

If the taste of ginger isn’t your thing, alternatively you could purchase a hangover supplement that contains ginger.

3) Painkillers

Acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin or Iburpfen are your main choice of painkillers. They definitely work by taking away some of the pain of a hangover.

That said, these drugs do have side-effects and you should read the product labels to check if its safe for you to take.

4) Sleep and time

Sleep and time are the best cures for a wine hangover. More often than not, your body just requires a period of respite to get itself back in shape after a night out.

5) Take a cold shower

There’s no evidence that having a cold shower will actually help “cure” your wine hangover. However, it’s something that can make you feel more alert and refreshed.

What to avoid?

There are some things you’ll probably want to avoid when hungover that could make you feel worse.

1) Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant and will make you feel more alert. You’re probably thinking that this is ideal when you’re lacking energy when hungover.

You may be right, however, it’s important to be aware of the negatives that come with caffeine as well. These include feeling more on edge, shaky and anxious. Not to mention that caffeine is also a diuretic which can exacerbate dehydration.

2) “Sweating it out”

Going for a run or sauna to “sweat out” your hangover does not work. There are no studies to show it helps. In addition, it could make you feel worse by putting extra pressure on your already tired body. Furthermore, sweating out the precious little fluid you have in your system can make you more dehydrated dehydration worse.

3) Hair of the dog

Drinking more wine is not advisable as it’ll only delay the inevitable hangover.

4)  Hard to digest food

If you’re feeling queasy in the morning, stick to food that’s easier to digest. Carbohydrates such as pasta, potatoes, and rice don’t take much effort for your digestive system to break down.

On the other hand, meat, salads, and vegetables are a lot more difficult to digest and could make you feel sicker.

Best wine hangover prevention tips

When it comes to hangovers, prevention is always better than cure. Taking all the steps to prevent a wine hangover from happening in the first place is key.

For some, even one or two glasses of wine can cause a hangover. In these people, it may be better to just avoid drinking it altogether.

Remember, hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking more than your body can handle. The best prevention tactic is to limit your alcohol intake and leave a long enough time between drinks to give your liver a chance.

1) Stick to rose or white wine

Rose and white wine naturally contain fewer congeners and should give you less of a hangover. That said, if you drink enough, it won’t make a difference which wine you chose in the end

2) Eat before you go out

Drinking on an empty stomach speeds up how fast alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream.(6)

Contrary to popular belief, eating any food before you go drink wine will help slow down alcohol absorption.

3) Vitamins and minerals

There are several hangover supplements on the market which contain a mixture of vitamins, minerals and herbal ingredients that can support your body during periods of over-indulgence. You can find out more by following the link below.

Wine hangover cure – Final words

So, that brings us to the end of our look into wine hangover cures.

We’ve walked you through the basic things you need to know about why wine hangovers are worse than other types of alcohol.

There’s no fast cure for a wine hangover and prevention is your best bet at beating it. You can also invest in hangover prevention supplements that could help support recovery. You can find out more about this in our article about hangover prevention pills.

James Petra

James is a beer-loving Biochemist and natural health enthusiast from Hull, which is in Yorkshire, England.

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