What causes a hangover? Pathophysiology of a hangover (the science)

A hangover is the unpleasant physiological and psychological effects following the excessive indulgence of alcohol. Several pathophysiological changes propagate a hangover including increased levels of acetaldehyde, decrease of the availability of glucose, dehydration and metabolic acidosis. As the by-product of fermentation and the wine aging process, congeners play an important role as methanol is metabolized to the notably toxic substances formaldehyde and formic acid.



After being ingested, alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol-dehydrogenase and then to acetic acid within the liver. Acetaldehyde is the first metabolite of alcohol and is 10 to 30 times more toxic than alcohol. Acetaldehyde is a Free Radical able to cross the blood-brain barrier, the semi-permeable layer that separates the central nervous system and the brain from the circulatory system. The blood-brain barrier prevents the influx of most compounds from crossing the central nervous system into the brain.



Most alcoholic drinks contain congeners. Congeners are a chemical by-products formed in  fermentation and the wine aging process. Congeners include toxic substances such as amines, amides, acetones, methanol, histamines and tannins.  Different types of alcoholic beverages contain different amounts of congeners. In general, dark spirits have a higher concentration.

acetic acid (the acetate ion) can cause additional problems. High acetate levels cause adenosine to accumulate in many parts of the brain.


Low blood sugar

Studies show that alcohol hangover is associated with a decrease in blood glucose concentration.



Ethanol has a dehydrating effect by causing diuresis, increased urine production which leads to an electrolyte imbalance.



Research on Indulge has been ongoing for the last five years. The basic building molecule is Phenol which is found in the ingredients of Indulge. The best studied Phenols are bioflavonoids. These are natural antioxidants found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Antioxidants are helpful in reducing and preventing damage from free radicals. A free radical is a molecule with a single unpaired electron. Antioxidants are able to donate electrons without becoming free radicals themselves, vitamin C for example is one of the most powerful of the antioxidants.

The bioflavonoids within Indulge combine with acetaldehyde altering its shape, size, compound and polarity and so prevents it from crossing the blood-brain barrier exerting any toxic effect on the brain. The enzymes responsible for breaking down the alcohol in the liver cannot keep up and maintain the body’s blood sugar level. This is why blood sugar is usually reduced after drinking alcohol.

The glucose and fructose in Indulge provides the sugars required to remedy this drop-in blood sugar level, helping the liver maintain its balance and functionality to lessen damage and reduce the incidence and severity of a hangover.