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This Is What Will Scientifically Help Your Hangover

And no, it's surprisingly not just plain water.

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We recently spoke with Kevin Strang, Ph.D., a physiologist in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical School, to ask him why we do stupid shit when we're drunk.

Like a gift that keeps on giving, Strang didn't stop there. He also gave us some important tips on hangover prevention and treatment.

"I already know how to get rid of a hangover," you say. "Just chug water, right?" ... WRONG.

Showtime

Not so fast. One of the big things that booze does, according to Strang, is block a hormone that lets your kidneys regulate how much water you lose when you pee. Pure water won’t hydrate you, Strang explained, because it will pass right through you. “If you drink pure water you’re going to pee like crazy all night long and in the morning you’ll just continue to pee.”

To properly re-hydrate your body and feel like a human again, you need a mix of salt, sugar, and water. Strang's hangover cocktail (either pre or post-hangover) is this yummy combo:

Now for the science behind it.

NBC

There are two main things that happen after you drink a lot that make you feel like crap: dehydration and low blood sugar. Dehydration, Strang explained, happens because alcohol blocks your body's ability to absorb water. That's partly where the headache comes from.

As for the blood sugar, Strang told us, one of your liver's biggest jobs is to convert energy stored in the form of glycogen into something your body can use — glucose. If your liver is busy detoxifying alcohol, Strang said, it doesn’t have as much ability to give you the glucose you need. “So you wake up with low blood sugar, and low blood sugar makes people irritable.”

To make your body stop hating you, you need salts, sugars, and B vitamins as well.

The sports drink gives you those salts and that sugar.

ESPN

What you want, Strang said, is "a salty solution with electrolytes, like sodium or potassium — what you'll find in a sports drink." The salt makes it possible for your kidneys to absorb water without the missing hormone, he explained. Sugar, which is in abundance in most sports drinks, is also important because of your poor overworked liver's inability to create it on its own. A sports drink, he adds "comes with carbohydrates that will immediately raise your glucose."

The soup gives you salt and super important vitamins.

TBS

The same enzyme that your liver uses to break down alcohol also helps produce the glucose you need, said Strang. That enzyme comes from a B vitamin called B3, or niacin. "So B vitamins will increase the availability of that enzyme and it'll help you with the detox process and with your blood sugar," Strang explained. B vitamins can be found in meat and there's a bunch in chicken broth. A good vegetarian alternative would be miso soup.

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