NAC Glutathione and Alcohol - It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Ho, ho, ho and all that. During big holidays or special occasions, many of you are going to end up drinking alcohol. Let’s face it – it’s is everywhere and social interactions often involve it. So chances are you will imbibe now and then. Life’s too short not to indulge once in a while.  Fortunately, it’s possible to have a few drinks on occasion without completely destroying your brain and mental health. In fact, you can enjoy it safely and wake up the next day feeling great. So here are some drinking tips for the holidays. Starting with the best choice of alcohol to drink and ending up with the least desirable. You may be surprised.

The number one choice is highly filtered and distilled liquor such as vodka, gin and rum. And it’s best to drink them straight. Carbonation or sugar mixers increase the absorption of alcohol, which may increase the chance of you experiencing a hangover the next day. And believe it or not the least favorable choices are wine and beer. Beer and wine contain low amounts of mycotoxins which can make you feel sick if you’re sensitive to them. Not everyone will be sensitive to them. But if you are, your hangover will be worse and your cognition will suffer the next day.  Refined sugar and wheat in beer can activate the immune system and trigger inflammation, which can negatively affect your brain and make you feel mentally unstable and foggy.  If you must have wine or beer, I recommend you take activated charcoal along with each drink. Activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment that can trap toxins, gluten and chemicals, allowing them to be flushed out of your body. Activated charcoal is also very good at protecting you from the congeners (distinctive elements in wine, tequila and whiskey that is responsible for some of its physiological effects).

Your body breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde, a highly-reactive compound that is actually much more toxic to your brain than alcohol itself. Hangover symptoms can be prevented or significantly reduced if you help your body get rid of the acetaldehyde.  Hangover symptoms are caused when your liver enzymes and antioxidants try to detoxify and eliminate it, but often cannot keep up. You can help your liver by supporting your body's natural detoxification process. One way to mop up acetaldehyde is by increasing glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant. I talked about this in a recent blog about liposomal glutathione. Regular alcohol exposure depletes glutathione. So, if you can’t take the supplement glutathione for some reason another way you can increase glutathione is by taking n-acetyl- cysteine (NAC) and Vitamin C together. NAC is the precursor to glutathione. I like Pure Encapsulations NAC 900mg. I suggest 2 before you drink and 2 at bedtime. Understand that glutathione, NAC and Vitamin C before or during alcohol consumption does not prevent you from getting drunk. It simply blocks alcohol toxicity and that nasty hangover the next day. It’s important to note that. If you are deficient in Vitamin B6 or magnesium, NAC can give you a headaches from taking too much NAC along with alcohol. Obviously we’re trying to avoid headaches, so if this happens, either bone up on magnesium and B6 or just stick with glutathione and Vitamin C. 

And last but not least don’t forget to hydrate. The tissue around your brain is made up of water. So as you drink, and you lose water, the tissues around your brain start to shrink. This leads to pressure around your head that can contribute to headaches, fatigue and dizziness, so drink an equal amount of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. Please drink responsibly and have your party arsenal of Liposomal glutathione, or NAC and vitamin C. Happy and safe Holidays!