Such a Headache: Scientists Explains Why Bubbly Bothers Us So Much
Nothing like starting the new year with a splitting headache and squinty eyes.
University of Colorado pharmacology professor Boris Tabakoff offered an explanation for why Champagne causes such intense hangovers, a topic well-trod by millions of NYE revelers. You can thank carbon dioxide for your woes, Tabakoff told ABC News in a recent interview.
“The carbon dioxide in carbonated beverages like Champagne helps absorb the alcohol,” he said in the interview. “You get a faster rate of absorption, higher blood alcohol levels – and brain levels – if you drink Champagne as opposed to something non-carbonated.”
European wine-and-spirits industry website The Drinks Business noted a 2001 study done at the University of Surrey (U.K.) in which researchers gave some subjects two glasses of freshly opened Champagne and gave some subjects two glasses of flat Champagne.
“Volunteers given two glasses of freshly opened Champagne had an average of 0.54 milligrams of alcohol per milliliter of blood after five minutes,” the article stated, “while those given the flat Champagne had just 0.39 milligrams.”
In other words, the average person's blood-alcohol level rises approximately 40 percent faster after a glass of sparkling wine as opposed to a glass of still wine.
The results of these statistics are head-splittingly obvious, ABC News pointed out.
“Most people – about two-thirds of them – get drunker faster when they drink Champagne or other carbonated alcoholic beverages,” the ABC article said.
The science behind a hangover explains why ragged revelers avoid as much light and noise as possible, preferring the hermit's way over harm's way.
“Hangovers, in theory, are caused by two things: the brain inflammation that alcohol consumption causes, and the brain's lingering overcompensation in the face of alcohol's depressant mechanisms,” Tabakoff told ABC.
These factors make the brain's sensory mechanism more sensitive; factors exaggerated the more a person drinks.
Other side effects are well known among partiers, The Daily Mail pointed out in a recent article.
Because alcohol is a diuretic, those who drink in excess are almost guaranteed to become dehydrated, “which in turn leads to symptoms such as headache, dry mouth, reduced concentration and irritability.”
Coupled with the blood-sugar drop associated with drinking copious amounts of booze and the result is a hungover, hungry lot, the article said.
“Alcohol also irritates the stomach and disrupts sleep, causing nausea and exhaustion,” The Daily Mail reported.