Food & Drink | June 28, 2016 9:00 am

Hangovers Really Do Get Worse as You Age, and This Is Why

Drinking less but feeling it more? Here's what to do about it.

(Courtesy Dubai Design Week)
(Courtesy Dubai Design Week)

Alcohol generally improves with age.

The bodily effects of drinking it, unfortunately, do not.

It’s a sobering lesson, but even the toughest of us will at some point figure out that the the length and severity of our hangovers are directly proportional to the number of candles on our birthday cakes.

So why exactly is Father Time so tough when it comes to hard stuff?

1. Slower Body: A 30-year-old’s liver enzymes function much slower than a 21-year-old’s, which means it takes the body longer to turn a compound called acetaldehyde — which causes headaches, dry mouth and nausea — into carbon dioxide and water.

2. Heavier Body: Alcohol is not absorbed by fat, so the more an individual has of it, the less available space there is for booze to be diluted.

3. Weaker Body: The onset of immunosenescence — “the gradual deterioration of the immune system brought on by natural age advancement” — leads to the body healing slower from just about everything, hangovers included.

4. Drier Body: Bodies lose water with age, which causes alcohol to stay more concentrated in an individual’s system at age 40 than it would at, say, age 20.

While there isn’t much you can do about the aging process, there are a few things you can do about the getting-a-hangover process.

In addition to drinking more water and less booze, you may want to consider methods like chugging a morning-after Pedialyte, renting an IV bag or loading up on cured pork products.

Mmm. Cured pork.

Via New York Magazine