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Intravenous hangover clinics don't work, could land you in hospital

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"amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

File this one under Woo. Borderline dangerous woo.

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

Not entirely woo. Part of the hangover experience is simple dehydration - putting saline into the blood will fix that, plus it reduces the concentration of toxins by simple dilution. It's one of the few hangover cures that will actually cure the hangover.

The vitamin stuff is woo though. Most vitamin supplements are, oral or IV - there are a some exceptions, but the vast majority of people get what they need in their food and adding more gives no benefit. It could at least be considered forgiveable woo as, unlike most woo, it does have a plausible mechanism of action.

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

The cannula should be made from oxygen-free copper and be plated with 99.99% pure silver. The saline + vitamins solution should have been stored for twenty four hours under a green light, to achieve the required activation state for this particular treatment. Unless they've done that then its not going to work properly.

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

The vitamin stuff is woo though.

Nope.

A single dose of B-complex goes a long way towards curing hangover. Tested. Multiple times (in my younger and wilder days). Any vitamins apart from C however can be quite dangerous when overdosed. While the B family is nowhere near as bad as A, D or E (these are lethal when overdosed), it can still be quite nasty.

By the way - absolutely no point to do it as an Iv - B and saline absorb fine so no need to go nuclear.

It's a pity the anti-salt warriors made a gluten-infested dog's breakfast out of OxO and Knorr so these stopped working as a hangover cure. It used to be - you have two cups and you are as good as new (hydration + salt and a significant contribution to your daily B-allowance). Not any more.

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

s/borderline//

Look at what you're getting: someone is sticking a cannula into a vein, and running a litre or two of saline plus other additives into your vein. This is about as invasive as a treatment can get; you are reliant on the operators being clean to hospital standards or above (they won't have a crash team and hospital pharmacy on hand to sort out any inconvenient infections or cardiac arrests on hand) and careful to hospital standards or above.

Even if running glucose saline fresh from a medical supplier, using fresh equipment each time and trying their damndest to keep everything ultra-sterile was all they were doing, they would still be doing something bloody dangerous. Instead they're mixing in other stuff into the glucose saline, which requires a skilled and aseptic lab to do this in, and this is not at all easy to do.

It is even less easy to do on a large scale, and do it repeatedly and to a high standard of accuracy and cleanliness. Even hospitals can't do this, and generally don't do this. If a hospital wants to run, say, some paracetamol solution into a patient, then they set up a known-sterile glucose saline drip, and run a known-sterile bottle of the paracetamol solution into the input stream of the glucose saline.

The hospital will try their best to keep everything clean, but if a patient does get an infection, they can sort this out. This cowboy clinic is taking people in, running in litres of saline, then discharging them before it is know whether the patient has caught anything from the procedure.

Quite frankly, I'm amazed they haven't killed people by now.

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

IIRC the only way of overdosing on vitamins is to exceed the level at which if becomes toxic in the blood which is something over 150000% of the Recommended Daily Allowance.

Yes, that is (over) one hundred and fifty thousand times the RDA. This frankly is somewhat difficult to do accidentely.

As Dr Dan Holdsworth mentions above through, poking holes in people to put in IV's when not required however...

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

"putting saline into the blood will fix that"

So will drinking rehydration mix (salt and sugar), with a lot less danger than poking holes in your arms.

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

"It's a pity the anti-salt warriors made a gluten-infested dog's breakfast out of OxO and Knorr so these stopped working as a hangover cure."

Vegemite for the win - a teaspoon in a glass of hot water.

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

"detoxifies"

That's all you need to read to know that it is either worthless, dangerous, or both.

The body is well set up to detoxify itself (or none of us would be alive right now) in all but extreme circumstances, and then, you'd better be under a doctor's care, since the cure is usually nearly as dangerous as the condition.

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Re: vitamins

@Peter2

Although your arithmentic is out by a factor of 100, I'd like to see you walk a few days after 1,500 times your RDA of vitamin A or D, let alone 150,000 x RDA!

As it happens the article is talking about rehydration and Vitamins B and C. I suspect that you could achieve the same effect by drinking a litre or more of carbonated fruit juice before walking to the clinic. (The carbonic acid will open the pyloric sphincter allowing the juice to rapidly enter the small intestine where it will be absorbed. That's how sparkling wine gets you drunk so quickly.) By the time you've got to the clinic, you'll be rehydrated and your brain will be working sufficiently to realise that this is just a shortcut to your bank account.

Personally, I like the greasy breakfast cure. Alcoholics prefer the hair of a dog.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

Getting a cannula is no minor thing. Especially when after an hour and ten goes the nurses send for an ultrasound machine. It's mind blowing that people would take these kind of risks rather than just drink a little less the night before.

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Re: "amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”,

I didn't say the IV method was safe. I just said it would help with the hangover, while possibly exchanging it for a more dangerous condition.

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Vitamin C?

I thought that going to sleep with a saline drip was the correct method for hangover prevention.

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Megaphone

Hmmm.

Some of the treatments include a vitamin C dose that will “super saturate your cells and get you feeling better from that cold or flu, as well as give your skin, hair and nails the love they deserve” give you expensive piss. Like all other water soluble vitamins, excess vit C will be peed out. (If you have scurvy you should consider getting some more vit C. If you don't, you can probably waste money in more fun ways.)

an “anti-ageing infusion” that “amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver” even in marketing material we can't actually claim is anti-ageing. Cos it isn't. So we'll make random, unprovable claims, as they have no basis in fact, which means we can't be held to them!

"prevention against aging": I know of only one way to stop getting older. Sounds like at least one patient required the attentions of a hospital and it's attendant expensive machines to allow the aging process to continue.

I hope, without much in the way of expectation, that those in charge of such scams are appropriately prosecuted.

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Pint

Re: Hmmm.

In fairness, it sounds like there was a chance they could stop someone getting any older, hence the legal involvement.

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Coat

You couldn't make it up.

"Set up by pharmacist Shadi"

Er, quite.

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Re: You couldn't make it up.

Em, is he the real Shadi, or just imitating?

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Not quite

Dehydration after alcohol is not a loss of saline but of water. The treatment would be iv d5w not saline, but oral water is perfectly effective. Not so easy to charge money for though.

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Re: Not quite

Actually it sort of is a loss of saline. Specifically, the dehydration is the result of an imbalance in salt levels in your body caused by a combination of imbibing large volumes of non salty liquids like beer and mixers, and the diuretic effect of alcohol causing you to excrete saline in the form of urine. Drinking water doesn't really address that imbalance, which is why you crave the sort of 'unhealthy' foods that are high in salt content after a bout of drinking and/or the next day.

If you're planning on downing way too many pints some night try taking a dozen salt pills a couple hours before your first beer (not all at once, it may give you a bit of an upset stomach and put you off drinking that night...they're best taken with food) That will raise the salt levels in your body 'too high' so your body will try to equalize the salt levels by retaining water from what you imbibe - a bonus meaning that you don't need to piss as often while drinking all those pints!

You'll feel much better the next day, because your salt levels will be better balanced. You still won't feel perfect because that's not all a hangover is, but I find I can function pretty well the day after a marathon drinking session when I've taken the salt pills beforehand versus laying around feeling miserable and doing pretty much fuck all if I haven't.

Of course this requires advance knowledge of a bender, so it is more appropriate for those past their 20s where benders tend to be planned rather than something that is equally likely to happen on any normal night out without any way to tell ahead of time.

As for the negative health effects of salt ingestion on blood pressure etc. that's up to you to work out if you're overweight or otherwise have high blood pressure. I'm not a doctor but dated one for several years (and it is she who taught me this highly valuable anti-hangover technique)

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Re: Not quite

Not so easy to charge money for though.

Oh I don't know. Have you seen the number of different brands of bottled water in your local supermarket? And in the UK at least it's no better that what comes out of most people's taps at home.

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Re: Not quite

Err, no. Alcohol is diuretic and some forms like beer have added "woomf" from other stuff. So you lose _BOTH_ salt and water. Just drinking pure water (unless it clanks like Perrier) will make your hangover much worse.

If you want to go "natural" to cure your hangover you need salt + water + something to keep your liver occupied so it stops making ketones and aldehides out of alcohol while your body gets rid of it via sweat or normal kidney function.

In order of effectiveness the natural cures are:

1. Tripe soup - as made on the Balkans, Caucasus, Turkey and (if memory serves me right) Iran. It is actually quite nice if done right by the way.

2. A couple of cups of stock cube + boiled water. Used to be more effective before the war on salt. Thew new "improved" cubes which have lower salt content need extra salt to restore potency.

3. Hydration + eating something with salt to spare (feta, etc).

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Re: eating something with salt to spare

Crisps?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not quite

Bacon sarnie + mugs of tea. That's all.

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Re: Not quite

Unfortunately, the explanation from the doctor you dated is a bit simplistic to the point of being wrong in terms of the electrolyte imbalance. Here's a reference to get you started if you are interested in the actual science behind this. Abstract attached.

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 1990 Nov;8(4):761-73.

Electrolyte abnormalities in the alcoholic patient.

Ragland G1.

Abstract

The acute effect of ethyl alcohol ingestion is to induce diuresis with excretion of free water and preservation of electrolytes. This occurs as the blood alcohol concentration is increasing and is due to the suppression by alcohol of the endogenous release of ADH. During a steady blood alcohol concentration, alcohol acts as an antidiuretic, causing retention of water and electrolytes. While at steady state, additional doses of alcohol will produce progressively smaller and eventually absent diuretic responses. The chronic effect of alcohol is to promote isosmotic retention of water and electrolytes due to increased ADH levels. Excess water and electrolytes are acutely excreted in response to additional alcohol ingestion. With the cessation of alcohol intake, this excess will be excreted over several days. Routine parenteral fluid administration to chronic and withdrawing alcoholics should be avoided. The role of potassium and magnesium in the genesis of specific manifestations of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome is not clear.

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Re: Not quite

Good reference. This is why people who are not chronic alcoholics are dehydrated after drinking alcohol because of reduced retention of water and an osmotic diuresis, whereas chronic alcoholics are not dehydrated but have low sodium because of increased retention of water, decreased sodium intake and increased sodium excretion in urine (in an attempt to increase water excretion to counteract the increased water retention because water follows sodium along the osmotic gradient between blood and urine across cell membranes in the kidney).

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@IvoryT

I wasn't trying to imply (nor did she say) that it was a salt imbalance alone. Just that taking care of that to fix the problem of your body excreting water to balance salt levels on its own handles enough of the hangover symptoms that you aren't miserable the next day - just a little run down.

Your link is interesting but I was speaking from the point of view of the occasional binge drinker, not a chronic alcoholic. When I have college friends come into town a few times a year for a football game I'll drink more on the Friday night and subsequent Saturday day/night than in the previous month, so all I want is something that will leave me feeling reasonably OK on Sunday. I found from experience the alternative without taking the salt tablets is not feeling reasonably OK until Monday no matter how much water I drink (or whatever I eat along with it) on Sunday!

I'm sure this 'cure' (or rather prevention, since it must be done in advance) could be improved by adding some other stuff to better balance electrolytes etc. but I'm not drinking like this often enough that's its a big concern. Besides, I figure you should have to pay a little something for drinking to such ridiculous and glorious excess....if it didn't hurt at all it would be too tempting to do it all the time and then I'd be in that chronic alcoholic category and this cure apparently wouldn't work anymore :)

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Vic
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Re: @IvoryT

I figure you should have to pay a little something for drinking to such ridiculous and glorious excess

I don't. Hangovers are a waste of time.

The single most important aspect to avoiding hangovers, IMO, is being fussy about *what* you drink. How much doesn't matter - but if you drink shite, you'll feel like shite.

Being properly hydrated, and walking a good half-hour home from the pub are also useful tips to a better morning after :-)

Vic.

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Re: @IvoryT

Ah yes, one of those who believes that drinking top shelf vodka (or scotch or gin or what have you) makes you immune to hangovers in a way that drinking cheap vodka does not. I've never noticed any difference in that regard, I think it is an excuse people like to tell themselves since they know if challenged they pass a double blind test between the cheap stuff and the expensive stuff once its been drowned in mixer.

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Vic
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Re: @IvoryT

Ah yes, one of those who believes that drinking top shelf vodka (or scotch or gin or what have you) makes you immune to hangovers

Well - I don't get hangonvers. Ever. You, apparently, do.

I think it is an excuse people like to tell themselves since they know if challenged they pass a double blind test between the cheap stuff and the expensive stuff once its been drowned in mixer.

If I'm drinking decent spirit[1], it doesn't get any mixer. IMO, if I need to mix a drink to make it palatable, it's probably not something I wish to drink.

Vic.

[1] I don't drink spirits all that much - but I do have a nice collection of scotches and gins for when I'm in that sort of mood.

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Re: Not quite

My tap water might be clean, and arguably healthy, but it tastes disgusting - way too chemically for me. It's OK with fruit cordial in, but on it's own, no thanks, pass the San Pellegrino, even if it does cost more!

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Anonymous Coward

Not quite

Dehydration after alcohol is not a loss of saline but of water. The treatment would be iv d5w not saline, but oral water is perfectly effective. Not so easy to charge money for though.

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Old school remedy

Battle of Britain pilots used to fix their hangovers by breathing pure oxygen.

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Vic
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Re: Old school remedy

Battle of Britain pilots used to fix their hangovers by breathing pure oxygen.

So do modern-day tech divers[1] :-)

Vic.

[1] Yes, I hate the term as well.

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Re: Old school remedy

"So do modern-day tech divers[1] :-) "

And welders

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Vic
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Re: Old school remedy

And welders

Indeed. Many CCR divers cultivate welders as friends because they have the gas[1] :-)

Vic.

[1] We use tiny amounts of gas - about 1l/min on average. So my 3l cylinder could theoretically give me nearly 12 hours on-loop. But we need high pressures to fill those cylinders - so the top of a J is ideal, but the rental on the cylinder is prohibitive unless you dive commercially.

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Dr Stephen Parnis warned that unnecessary vitamins create expensive urine

How does he know the price of urine - has he had to take a /lot/ of work-related drugs tests?

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Pint

Hangover cures.

There's no such thing. If there was, someone would be making a fortune. The sad fact is that the only 'cure' is to drink less or wait until you feel better. People swearing by vitamins, rehydration, oxygen, blah, blah, blah, are deluding themselves. Study after study knocks these ideas into touch. Drugs can mask the symptoms a bit, for example ibruprofen can help, but that's not a cure.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34072712

That said, the world's top boffins haven't given up yet...

"Cambridge, Mass. (SatireWire.com) – According to a new study on female alcohol use and blood pressure, young women who consume two or three alcoholic drinks a week are much more fun to do research on than women who do not consume alcohol."

http://www.satirewire.com/content1/?p=154

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Easier answer.

Don't get crocked. Or, if you must[0] get crocked, don't do so the night before you have to go to work in the morning. Simples.

[0] Must? WTF?

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Everyone knows the answer is bacon

I believe El Reg ran a report a few years ago showing that a bacon sarnie was a good hangover cure

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/07/bacon_sarnie_hangover_cure/

I'm not sure how effective this is, but I take the view that even if it doesn't cure the hangover you'll probably still feel better about the world with a bacon sarnie in one hand and a cuppa in the other :)

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Re: Everyone knows the answer is bacon

From what I've read, fatty foods are best taken before drinking. The idea is to coat your insides and provide absorptive mass. Both help to slow down the rate of alcohol going into your bloodstream, so the bender comes more gradually making it easier to handle.

Also, I hear eggs are good thing to have after a hangover. Apparently, the aminos in the eggs are good for breaking down the alcohol byproducts that contribute to hangovers. Poultry in general is supposed to have some good stuff. As for electrolytes, don't forget the potassium along with the sodium, meaning a banana or some yoghurt wouldn't hurt.

PS. Did you know that Gatorade was originally invented as a hangover cure? It's still useful for that purpose today, as it's meant to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes.

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Vic
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Re: Everyone knows the answer is bacon

From what I've read, fatty foods are best taken before drinking.

I often drink a pint of milk before going out on the lash. It seems to work for me.

Did you know that Gatorade was originally invented as a hangover cure? It's still useful for that purpose today, as it's meant to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes.

Isn't that Brawndo?

Vic.

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Re: Everyone knows the answer is bacon

Nope. Brawndo was created for plants.

Thus the advertising slogan:

Brawndo's got what plants crave.

It's go electrolytes.

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Re: Everyone knows the answer is bacon

I often drink a pint of milk before going out on the lash. It seems to work for me.

The milk probably coats your stomach, though I think not as well as solid lipids.

Isn't that Brawndo?

In all seriousness, Gatorade was invented by the University of Florida (thus the "Gator") to treat their football players who kept showing up for practice hung over.

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I find drinking a pint of water with some electrolyte tablets in before you sleep is a good way of reducing the hangover, especially if you then have another pint containing some caffeine electrolyte tablets when you wake up in the morning.

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I've said it before, but...

if you're sober enough to remember to drink a pint of water, chances are you don't need it.

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Re: I've said it before, but...

> if you're sober enough to remember to drink a pint of water

I appear to be in the fortunate situation where I've never lost my awareness while inebriated[1]. I might lose common sense but I've always known what I was doing..

[2] 3 bottles of 15% red wine in 6 hours can do that. No hangover but I did feel a little fragile.. Or (in the old days) playing draughts with whisky. Followed by some pints to re-hydrate..)

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Re: I've said it before, but...

I appear to be in the fortunate situation where I've never lost my awareness while inebriated

You're clearly not drinking enough.

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I find drinking a pint of water with some electrolyte tablets in before you sleep is a good way of reducing the hangover, especially if you then have another pint containing some caffeine electrolyte tablets when you wake up in the morning.

So you're basically whipping up homemade Gatorade?

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Coat

The Mayo Clinic???

'The Mayo Clinic notes that an overdose of Vitamin C can cause “nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting”...'

Well rivals are going to say that aren't they. Can't see how a vein full of pure Hellman's is going to be any better. Might make me taste nicer though.

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