Before you get buzzed, consider eating some beef. A new study found that vegetarians and vegans may experience hangovers more severely than meat-eaters do.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands analyzed the after-effects of drinking alcohol in 13 social drinkers.
Twenty-three hangover symptoms were monitored in participants on a control night and after a night out drinking, which included headaches, nausea, heart palpitations, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, sensitivity to light and sound and thirst.
Throughout the study, participants recorded everything they ate and the analysis discovered that those with less nicotinic acid, otherwise known as vitamin B3, and zinc in their diets suffered more severe hangovers. Low zinc intake, in particular, was “significantly associated” with vomiting, and low nicotinic acid created more severe hangover symptoms, the study showed.
Zinc is most commonly found in meat, shellfish and legumes. Vitamin B3 is prevalent in animal products like meat, poultry and fish, as well as in whole grains, peanuts, avocados and mushrooms.
Rabia De LaTour, MD, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, says that vegans having low alcohol tolerance is something she hears anecdotally from patients, but lacks serious scientific backup.
“Nicotinic acid and zinc are required to break ethanol, which is alcohol, down into acetaldehyde,” she tells The Post. “You need these two nutrients to digest alcohol … It makes sense that if you’re lacking in it, you would experience a worse hangover.”
But taking in a lot of zinc of B3 isn’t an end-all cure for a Saturday night on the town. Genetic makeup, total food intake and other factors can determine how a person experiences a hangover, she says.
De LaTour warns of taking the small study’s findings too seriously and you should be wary of anything marketed as a hangover cure.
“Now whether or not you can … package up a pill and tell people that if they take the pill before they drink they won’t get hangovers, I don’t think we’re there yet,” she says.