Hangovers and the Kreb’s Cycle

I am easily side-tracked.

But something interesting, a hangover is caused by the lack of water in your TCA CYCLE. πŸ™‚


When alcohol is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and causes the pituitary gland in the brain to block the creation of vasopressin (also known as the antidiuretic hormone). Without this chemical, the kidneys send water directly to the bladder instead of reabsorbing it into the body. This is why drinkers have to make frequent trips to the bathroom after urinating for the first time after drinking.
According to studies, drinking about 250 milliliters of an alcoholic beverage causes the body to expel 800 to 1,000 milliliters of water; that’s four times as much liquid lost as gained. This diuretic effect decreases as the alcohol in the bloodstream decreases, but the aftereffects help create a hangover.

The morning after heavy drinking, the body sends a desperate message to replenish its water supply — usually manifested in the form of an extremely dry mouth. Headaches result from dehydration because the body’s organs try to make up for their own water loss by stealing water from the brain, causing the brain to decrease in size and pull on the membranes that connect the brain to the skull, resulting in pain.

Ethanol has a dehydrating effect by causing increased urine production (such substances are known as diuretics), which causes headaches, dry mouth, and lethargy. Dehydration causes the brain to shrink away from the skull slightly. This can be mitigated by drinking water after consumption of alcohol. Alcohol’s effect on the stomach lining can account for nausea. Because of the increased NADH production during metabolism of ethanol by the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase, excess NADH can build up and slow down gluconeogenesis in the liver, thus causing hypoglycemia.

Ethanol is converted to acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, and then from acetaldehyde to acetic acid by the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. Acetaldehyde (ethanal) is mildly toxic, contributing to the hangover. These two reactions also require the conversion of NAD+ to NADH. With an excess of NADH, the lactate dehydrogenase reaction is driven to produce lactate from pyruvate (the end product of glycolysis) in order to regenerate NAD+ and sustain life. This diverts pyruvate from other pathways such as gluconeogenesis, thereby impairing the ability of the liver to supply glucose to tissues, especially the brain. Because glucose is the primary energy source of the brain, this lack of glucose contributes to hangover symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, mood disturbances, and decreased attention and concentration.

There are various nervous system effects: the removal of the depressive effects of alcohol in the brain probably account for the light and noise sensitivity.

During the meatbolism of alcohol, one molecule of ethanol (the primary component present in alcoholic beverages) produces 2 molecules of NADH, utilizing Vitamin B12 as a coenzyme. So, over-consumption of ethanol may cause vitamin B12 deficiency as well.

Eggs, Banana, drinking lot of water and fruit juices are excellent remedy for Hangover.


10 responses to “Hangovers and the Kreb’s Cycle

    • thank you very much. so the question is, how do i link you back and how do i link everyone from the group? 😐
      i’d be much obliged if you could give me a coupla tips. πŸ™‚ thanks for taking the time to go through my blog πŸ™‚

    • hi there. πŸ™‚ well, i think it’s because the depth and scope of nursing is more superficial in comparison to medicine. πŸ™‚ like in nursing we’re taught that hangovers are caused by dehydration, but when I got to medicine, it became a totally different ballgame where the kreb’s cycle was involved and blah3x. 😐 so yeah. im glad you took the time to read this. my blog was getting quite lonely without anyone in it. thank you.~toodles. πŸ™‚

  1. Good biochemistry article! Is there any reason why an intense exercice (such as running) on a morning after heavy drinking night can wipe off hangover? In my case it would remove all hangover symptoms and all I keep is fatigue. Surely exercice forces the body to somehow overcome the lack of NAD+?

    • Hi. πŸ™‚ Well, this mostly invovles endorphins. During excessive alcohol intake, endorphins are barely released but upon exercising, this hormone is once again released into your system putting you in a better state of mind, minus the fatigue. Plus, you probably keep yourself hydrated during intense exercise which is why you barely have hangover symptoms. Hydration is key to surviving a hangover.:) NAD is actually energy released from the oxidation of fatty acids and glucose. πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks for this. I had a few questions from customers of my wine business about headaches after drinking. Not only did this answer their questions there–but it explained the phenomena of ‘breaking the seal’
    Good work!
    Linked you at facebook.com/mdwinetasting

    keep up the good work!

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