How to prevent a hangover

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PHOENIX -- While the only sure-fire way to prevent a hangover is to not drink too much, there are some things you can do to mitigate the effects of over-indulging.

One thing to remember is that alcohol is absorbed more quickly when your stomach is empty. That's why it is generally a good idea to eat before and while you're drinking.

According to Dr. Art Mollen, taking a tablespoon of olive oil before you go out drinking also can help reduce the absorption of alcohol.

While some say burnt toast is a good option because charcoal is the universal antidote, Mollen says that's a myth.

"Burnt toast doesn't necessarily prevent the absorption of the alcohol," he explained.

There are many factors, including gender, weight and tolerance, that determine how much alcohol you body will absorb.

One key to preventing a hangover -- or worse -- is to replace fluids so that you do not get dehydrated.

"Alcohol is basically a diuretic," Mollen said.

That means you want to be sure to drink plenty of water, or perhaps some kind of sports drink to replace electrolytes.

The classic hangover remedy -- black coffee -- doesn't do what you think, according to Mollen.

"That's a myth," he said. "It's a stimulant."

He said while you might feel more wide awake, the coffee does nothing to get rid of the alcohol in your system.

Another myth, according to Mollen, is "the hair of the dog," or having another alcoholic beverage first thing in the morning after a night of drinking.

"The hair of the dog does not work," he said emphatically. "It prolongs the agony."

Other recommendations include taking multivitamins, especially B complex, before drinking. There are also over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen. They won't necessarily prevent a hangover, but they can help alleviate the symptoms of a hangover.

Whether you drink a lot or a little, remember that it is never acceptable to drink and drive.

Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St in Scottsdale. For more information call 480-656-0016 or log onto www.drartmollen.com.