Days after the start of Germany’s legendary Oktoberfest season, a court in Frankfurt has ruled that hangovers are a legitimate “illness.”
The determination was made in a ruling on a lawsuit filed against an unnamed manufacturer selling anti-hangover “shots” and powders. The products were advertised as preventing the headaches, sluggishness and other symptoms associated with over-consumption, but the plaintiffs argued the company was making fraudulent health claims.
And the court agreed.
“Information about a food product cannot ascribe any properties for preventing, treating or healing a human illness or give the impression of such a property,” the justices determined on Monday. They defined illnesses as “even small or temporary disruptions to the normal state or normal activity of the body,” including the nausea, headaches and tiredness often associated with a hangover, also referred to as veisalgia.
Beyond a mere inconvenience, hangovers have been connected in numerous studies to poor academic and job performance, reduced productivity and workplace absenteeism.
Home remedies have existed since man first discovered fermentation, though there is no convincing evidence any are effective in preventing or treating a hangover. The only known remedy is giving the body time to process and excrete the alcohol and its byproducts.
A study publish in February in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that mixing beer and liquor had no noticeable effect on hangover “severity”: “Our findings dispel the traditional myths ‘Grape or grain but never the twain’ and ‘Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer,’ regarding moderate-to-severe alcohol intoxication,” the authors wrote, “Whereas subjective signs of progressive intoxication were confirmed as accurate predictors of hangover severity.”
The scientific causes of a hangover are still not entirely known, though it’s believed dehydration and sleep deprivation are key factors, as is the accumulation of acetaldehyde, a byproduct of ethanol that’s up to 20 times more toxic than alcohol and can remain in the system for hours. (A high concentration of acetaldehyde can also cause a flush reaction on the face and body.) The metabolic processes required to eliminate alcohol from the system drains electrolytes from the body, as well as vitamins B and C, potassium, magnesium, and zinc—leading to aches, tiredness and other symptoms.
Several factors can affect the severity of a hangover beyond the amount of alcohol consumed, including age, weight, health status and genetics. Smoking can also increase the potency of a hangover, as acetaldehyde is also absorbed from cigarettes.
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Fuente: / Source: www.newsweek.com