Why Hangovers Get a Helluva Lot Worse with Age

©Flickr, Mislav Marohnić

Uggggggghhhhhhhh. I know I’m going through this. When I was a young lad, I could indulge in some MPD (Midwestern Power Drinking) with the best of them. These days…not so much.

It’s a question we all ask at some point. Why do hangovers get so much worse with age? Why can’t I still walk down to the bar and have 10 beers and 4 shots of Jägermeister and be ready for work at 8:00 am like I did when I was 25?

The answer is the same reason why you don’t recover from injuries the way you did when you were younger. As you age, your body’s processes are becoming less efficient. Depressing, I know.

Scientists aren’t 100% certain why we get hangovers, but it’s most likely because of the way our bodies metabolize alcohol and the byproducts we create. One particular byproduct, acetaldehyde, is between 10 and 30 times more toxic than alcohol and causes a lot of those horrible side effects like sweating, vomiting, and nausea. Studies on rats show that the older you get, the less able your body is to produce enzymes that are needed to break down toxins.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Paul Townsend

Your lifestyle (for many people, at least) obviously changes as you age, too. You were probably able to sleep off a hangover on Saturdays and Sundays when you were in your 20s, but those new obligations (kids, spouses, work, etc.) don’t allow for the recovery time. So instead of fretting about your age, use it to your advantage. Drink on a full stomach, take it slow, and hydrate with a ton of water.

And now you know!

Photo Credit: Max Pixel

h/t: Curiosity