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Is vitamin C good for hangovers?

Is vitamin C any good for hangovers? Interesting question. And if you’re British, an important one. A 2016 survey found that the average Brit spends 2 years of their life nursing a hangover. That’s 2 years of headaches, nausea, fatigue and aching. So if there’s something easy like vitamin C supplements that can help, it’s got to be a good thing.

Vitamin C supplements and tablets have been sold for many years to help with hangover recovery. They offer all-in-one support for your energy levels, tiredness and fatigue, immune system and skin that a hair of the dog, frankly, does not.

More recently, intravenous infusions (which always include vitamin C!) targeting hangovers have arrived and gained popularity as a quick fix. These can be pretty pricey though, and as an average Brit perhaps not the best option for tackling a seemingly regular hangover. A tasty, easy to use vitamin C supplement, like Vitamin C Zooki, makes an excellent alternative.

Symptoms of a hangover

Firstly there’s the dehydration. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, pulling water away from the brain and cells to dilute it. It also inhibits a hormone called vasopressin that usually regulates water excretion. Instead, the loss of water is increased, resulting in dehydration, which causes the classic hangover symptoms of headaches and fatigue. 

Alcohol can also cause the muscles of the blood vessels to tighten, resulting in temporary high blood pressure and headaches. 

Next, it’s the liver’s turn to work as this is the organ responsible for getting rid of the toxic alcohol in your system. But that detoxification process itself will produce damaging free radicals and it is thought that these free radicals also provoke hangover symptoms.

Can vitamin C help with hangovers? 

Apart from the obvious reason that alcohol depletes your body of key nutrients, like vitamin C, there are many other ways vitamin C helps with a hangover.

Vitamin C as an antioxidant

We know that as a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C can help neutralise free radicals before they cause more damage around the body. This can support the liver in detoxifying from alcohol, ridding it and the free radicals it creates from your body. Vitamin C also helps recycle other key antioxidants, like glutathione (a key player in the detoxification process) and vitamin E. 

Vitamin C and energy

On top of this, vitamin C works within your cells' mitochondria (also known as your cell's powerhouse) to help produce energy. It's also required by your body to absorb iron from plant food, so if you're vegan, it's essential for getting energy that way. Both of these actions reduce fatigue and increase energy levels!

Vitamin C and skin

Have you ever noticed that your skin looks dull after a night out, and potentially you've developed a few spots that weren't there before? Thankfully, vitamin C is an essential co-factor in collagen production so it helps replenish your skin's glow and strengthen and support your skin from within. 

Vitamin C also plays a supportive role in protecting blood vessels (which expand when you drink). This is part of what causes headaches when you're hungover, as well as what might be making you red-faced when you drink. You'd need to be taking vitamin C supplements over a longer time period to see an effect on this though.

Vitamin C and immunity

Last but not least, vitamin C is most well known for supporting your immune system. Since alcohol (and the other things that often come with drinking - smoking, unhealthy takeaways and lack of sleep) depletes your immune system, you'll want to top it up so you don't get sick after a boozy night.

There's also other things you can do too - learn more about vitamins for a hangover here.