Your Liver And Alcohol

Find out how your liver processes alcohol in two views.

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How does your liver process alcohol?

Doctors and scientists believe that there really isn't any upside to the way excessive alcohol intake is processed in your body. Or, as they put it, metabolised by your liver. So that often thankless organ is basically doing a ton of extra hard work just to keep as much of the poison out of the rest of you as possible. Remember that before you order that one last drink.

liver with beer


Your liver is what actual processes alcohol and it does so in two rather simple stages.

First, there's an enzyme found in your liver cells called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). This ADH converts the alcohol it comes in contact with into a toxic substance called acetaldehyde.

Acetaldehyde is then converted to acetate (a non-toxic substance) by another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Normally, this conversion is quickly done and excreted from your body. But when you've consumed a lot of alcohol, your liver often does not convert the acetaldehyde as quickly. At this point it may build up enough of that bad stuff it can't convert and that's what contributes to the nausea, vomiting and sweating of a hangover.

It's not just ethanol that causes our hangover since it isn't the only type of alcohol in beer, wine and/or spirits. Methanol can be present, particularly in cheap wine, and that is a poison to humans.

When the liver breaks down methanol, formic acid is formed - a really nasty chemical that you don't anywhere near your body. So take it easy the next time you decide to pour another glass of that good ol' methanol. Your liver will thank you for it.

There are far too many good reasons to seek help if you believe some of these symptoms to be true about you or anyone you know. A good place would be to start here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are hangovers?
How does your liver process alcohol?
How does excessive alcohol effect you?
What does excessive alcohol do to your body?
Is there a cure for a hangover?

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Hangover Remedies.

Here's a list of home remedies we've found that supposedly taking care of that massive, pounding hangover. Some are from bartentders, some are just folklore. Some are even billed as natural ways to take care of 'the dog that bit 'ya'. Just remember, only time and water are what most doctors and scientists believe in. That, and the fact that prevention is often the best form of medicine.

5 Most Popular Hangover Remedies

They may not be scientifically sound. They may not even be remotely effective. But ask around and these top five hangover 'cures' seem to be the most popular around.

Top Bartender Hangover Remedies

If you think the person who makes their living getting people to drink each night has more of an insight on hangovers than any doctor, then this list of top remedies from bartenders is for you.

Mom's Natural Hangover Remedies

Maybe it's because they came from our Moms. Maybe it's because these so-called cures are all natural foods. Either way, people believe this list work wonders on a hangover.

Top Remedies From Around the World

The opinions of a bazillion people can't be wrong, right? Here's a list of hangover cures from all around the world. But beware, some of them might be worse than what got you there.


We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Best Hangover Cures and Remedies in Two Views®

IMPORTANT: The information on this page, and throughout the entire site, is not intended to provide advice or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s). Images are shown for illustrative purposes. Do not attempt to draw conclusions or make diagnoses by comparing these image to other medical images, particularly your own.

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