Are blends really responsible for hangovers?

Verified on 12/30/2022 by PasseportSanté
Les mélanges, vraiment responsables de la gueule de bois ?

According to popular belief, mixing different types of alcohol can worsen hangovers. But is this really true?

To help you understand, we explain how hangovers are caused, and reveal whether mixing alcohol actually increases their effects tenfold…

Ethanal, the culprit behind hangover symptoms

When we drink alcoholic beverages, we ingest ethanol (the molecule contained in alcohol). Once in the body, a small part of the molecule is eliminated through sweat and urine. The rest must be filtered by the liver.

When it reaches the liver, ethanol is converted into ethanal (or acetaldehyde), a highly toxic substance which is partly responsible for hangover symptoms such as fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, headaches…

While the liver is capable of eliminating ethanal by producing enzymes, its capacity is reduced when the quantities of alcohol are too large. In other words, the liver can only process ethanal in small quantities.

Other molecules in alcohol that can aggravate hangovers

While ethanol, or rather ethanal, is responsible for the effects of hangovers, other molecules can aggravate the symptoms. These include the by-products of alcoholic fermentation, such as methanol and other organic compounds.

However, some alcoholic beverages contain several of these molecules, which can worsen the effects of hangovers. These include whisky, wine and brandy.

More a question of quantity than type of alcohol

Although some alcoholic beverages are more harmful than others because they contain several molecules that are harmful to the body, numerous scientific studies have shown that types of alcohol and mixtures have no impact on hangovers.

In fact, it is the quantity of alcohol ingested, and therefore the concentration of alcohol in the blood, that is really responsible for the side effects of a hangover.

Put simply, hangovers simply occur after excessive alcohol consumption, regardless of the nature and order of the alcoholic beverages consumed.