Coffee seems to be the worst treatment for hangover, according to a new study that contradicts traditional views, conducted by U.S. researchers and published in Behavioral Neuroscience. The results of this study conducted on lab rats, indicates that this drink offers only the illusion of physical recovery. In fact, people who drink coffee to wake up from their hangover is even more difficult to realize that they are still under their influence.
The researchers tested how adults lab rats were navigating inside a maze where they have been placed nasty stimulus , as lights and sounds. Some animals received doses of caffeine and alcohol in different combinations and their behavior were assessed by comparison with other lab rats that received a neutral saline solution.
Alcohol has made the animals more relaxed, but were less able to avoid nasty stimuli. Animals receiving caffeine showed a better capacity of orientation in space and were more alert. Alcohol-caffeine combination seemed to relax animals, which have not been able to avoid obstacles. Researchers believe that, in humans, the combination makes them believe that they are not drunk when in fact they are. Doses of caffeine administered to mice was equivalent to eight cups of coffee.
A hangover is caused in part by dehydration. This dehydration is caused by the alcohol consumed as alcohol inhibits the antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH is released by the pituitary gland and is responsible for promoting the absorption of water in the body, in order to prevent the release of dilute urine. Alcohol inhibits the release of ADH, thereby promoting the production of dilute urine, resulting in frequent bathroom trips and dehydration.
Caffeine is not indicated for hangovers as it promotes a similar response in the body. It too inhibits ADH which would further the dehydration process. Although the caffeine would make one feel more alert, it simply only masks the symptoms of the hangover.