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I can't get hangovers. No, seriously.
May 28, 2007 5:30 PM   Subscribe

I've never had a hangover in my life, how common is this and will it stay this way?

Could this be a genetic thing and therefore be permanent or am I just lucky now and will the hangovers appear over the years? I'm only 25 now, so obviously still young. Legal drinking age is 16 in my country, so that's how long this has been apparent to me, although I've never really given it much thought. There must be other people with this trait, but I don't know anyone except for my brother. My friends also don't know any other people besides me who can't get hangovers. In short: How common is this? What could be the reason? Is it permanent?

I've tried searching about this, but I only get tons of information on how to cure a hangover. I think I can safely exclude these factors which could explain the absence of hangovers:
  • I've always had it, whether I was extremely thin or rather fat, so weight isn't an influence.
  • I'm a plain caucasian girl, so it's not something obviously genetic.
  • I used to work out three times a week, now I haven't been to the gym in three years and I'm completely out of shape, so obviously fitness isn't an influencing factor.
  • Eating before drinking or not doesn't make a difference. Eating different kinds of meals also doesn't have an influence. (Of course it influences when I start to get drunk.)
  • Different kinds of alcohol do not seem to matter: drinking only beer, or only wine or only cocktails or everything mixed together gives the same result: no hangover.
  • The amount of alcohol doesn't matter. I can get a bit tipsy, quite drunk, completely wasted and absolutely repulsivly comatosely smashed, I still don't get hangovers.
  • Frequency of drinking isn't a factor. Whether I'm drunk a few times a week, or only once in a year, whether I drink moderately every day or only once every few months or nothing for a very long time, it doesn't matter.
  • I rarely vomit when drunk, so it's not that either.
  • I always combine drinking and smoking, but my brother is a non-smoker, so smoking probably has nothing to do with it.
  • I don't drink water or soda between the alcoholic beverages, nor do I drink water before falling asleep. I just plunge into my bed drunk and wake up eight hours later, fit as fiddle and hungry for a good breakfast. (Ironically, I'm normally a terrible sleeper, while when waking up after being drunk I feel much more rested and refreshed than usual.)
Disclaimer for people who advise me to see a therapist for my drinking problem: I rarely drink nowadays and only get a bit drunk maybe once or twice a year.
posted by lioness to Health & Fitness (51 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've got two sayings for you, which may (or may not) help:

1. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
2. There's no hangover like a Manischewitz* hangover.

*Altough whisky is a close second.

Seriously, though, I've known a few people who weren't particularly prone to hangovers. Perhaps you're not drinking too excessively? (Well, ok, you might be, but not too too excessively.)
posted by JMOZ at 5:35 PM on May 28, 2007


Yes, I used to be this way, and invariably it will end.
posted by filmgeek at 5:39 PM on May 28, 2007


I can drink most people I know under the table. I never got a hangover till I was 38 or so.
posted by dobbs at 5:39 PM on May 28, 2007


I'm sure it's partly genetic, since your liver's ability to filter out alcohol is the primary point of concern. There's lots you could to do help your liver, however, so maybe all of this time you've just had good habits (such as drinking lots of water, avoiding other diuretics, etc).
posted by spiderskull at 5:45 PM on May 28, 2007


I'm sure you could get one if you really tried. Drink lots of vodka other high-proof liquid (not beer) and avoid drinking water. You should have a hangover in the morning.

I usually don't get hangovers if I remember to drink water after booze. When I do it's not really very noticeable anyway.
posted by delmoi at 5:47 PM on May 28, 2007


Just to clarify, I meant drinking lots of water in general, not just while drinking. If I steadily hydrate myself throughout the day, and stop before drinking, it still affects the way my body processes alcohol.
posted by spiderskull at 5:47 PM on May 28, 2007


I was twenty-five or twenty-six when hangovers started to rear their ugly heads after drinking. And I'm a guy, whitey, and tall and thin (less and less thin these days).

It got to the point where I don't even bother to drink because I usually feel worn down the next day regardless of amount or frequency.

Just my experience, though.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 5:52 PM on May 28, 2007


The severity and quality of a typical hangover can very widely from person to person. Some people just aren't as susceptible. And, as with all aspects of your body, this certainly can change with age.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:56 PM on May 28, 2007


My real name is in the profile, but it's for the good of mankind, so I'll say I know a guy who never got a hangover until his 21st birthday no matter how much he drank. In fact, he was the guy who got up at 8 in the morning the next day and went jogging. After that "seal was broken" it didn't take much to make mornings suck. I'm betting age is a factor and there may just be a time when the switch flips. Here's to yours lasting a few more years.
posted by monkeymadness at 5:58 PM on May 28, 2007


Is your ancestory Welsh, by any chance? We seriously don't get hangovers. I've been trying a long, long time.
posted by vers at 6:02 PM on May 28, 2007


I never had hangeovers. Didn't matter what I drank, how much I drank, what kinds of alcohol I mixed, etc. Didn't matter if I had water before I went to sleep (which I seldom did), or didn't have water before I went to sleep. Never had a hangover.

Then I turned 26.

Hangovers. They'll catch up with you at some point.
posted by necessitas at 6:04 PM on May 28, 2007


I'm 28 and still hangover free. I've been through a lot of different phases of drinking, have drunk a lot of weird crap, and I'm still OK. My fingers are crossed however.
posted by fire&wings at 6:08 PM on May 28, 2007


As a friend recently put it, "Dude, I know I'm getting old now that I don't get over a hangover in the same day."
I, on the other hand, have always got a hangover from 3 drinks unless I drink a lot of water. Then have I have my friend who drinks a 12-back of lite beer and runs the Peachtree Roadrace with no ill effect (consider it a tradition).

So, yea, it varies from person to person.
posted by jmd82 at 6:08 PM on May 28, 2007


didn't have hangovers till my mid-late 20s. now if i'm not careful (and it doesn't take much), i'll be pretty wrecked the next day. enjoy it while you can.
posted by violetk at 6:09 PM on May 28, 2007


My roommate just had her first hangover at the age of 28. It happens to a lot of people in their mid to late 20s.
posted by decathecting at 6:13 PM on May 28, 2007


Mid to late 20's is when it started happening for me too. Prior to that, never had one.
posted by treepour at 6:16 PM on May 28, 2007


I never had a hang-over until I was 25, and then I woke up one morning (errr... afternoon) with a real mind-splitter of a headache.

Now hangovers are a staple of my life.

Your fun will end, dear lioness - and we will have a silent laugh at your expense, followed bye a slap on the back and a chorus of "Welcome to the Club... it sucks!"
posted by matty at 6:37 PM on May 28, 2007


I used to be the type that never got hangovers. Same sort of stuff as you too, combining didn't bother me, various meals, etc.

Then I drank one night into a desperate stupor, doing shots of that nothing but godawful HFCS-loaded mixers from the liquor store (like pre-mixed Appletini) and the like--and the next DAY, I couldn't move more than 5 feet.

Count your blessings.
posted by sperose at 6:47 PM on May 28, 2007


You have a good liver. Don't wear it out.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:54 PM on May 28, 2007


I've always had the same hangovers, never very bad, but no different now I'm 42 from when I was 20.

From experience I can say that the WORST hangover in the world is from drinking gin. By far. I've had 'em all and gin's the worst.
posted by unSane at 6:55 PM on May 28, 2007


I've never ever had the pounding headache version of the hangover and I'm 32. I hardly drink enough anymore to even notice, but my pattern seems to be that I can drink till I'm feeling excessively nauseous or sleepy, then I fall asleep, then I wake up the morning and feel slow, but without any headache. I think I just have some circuit in my body that stops me before I get to the point where I'll feel awful the next day. That doesn't mean I don't get the spins or barf the night I've been drinking, but it does mean that when I wake up I'm pretty much fine.
posted by MsMolly at 6:59 PM on May 28, 2007


Sorry, but your body changes over time. Susceptibility to hangovers seems to be a sign of that with you.

I used to be impervious to poison ivy--I remember as a kid I accidentally rolled around in a big patch of the stuff and was expecting the Apocalypse on my skin...and nothing happened. Ten years later I barely brushed one leaf and my skin erupted for a week.

Sounds like you prided yourself on not getting hangovers, but can't really claim that anymore. I'd be pissed, too.

Just remember that for us mere mortals that suffer hangovers, there are ways to prevent them from happening. You just have to accept the days of spontenaity may be over. My Rules Before Getting Tore Up:

(1) making sure I have food on my stomach before drinking
(2) drink only the same type of drink throughout the night, especially when I start feeling tipsy. If I start with beer, I don't switch over to tequila, and vice versa.
(3) hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Hangovers are basically a kind of dehydration, so a good rule of thumb is replace the fluid you pee out (which can happen a lot during an all-nighter) with water. Mucho agua!
(4) when hitting the sack, sometimes I'll take some Tylenol or aspirin beforehand, not the next day when my stomach could be all wonky.

As for a hangover cure, I find a nice toke and a big pile of salty french fries works wonders.
posted by zardoz at 7:02 PM on May 28, 2007


I think it is the way your body is metabolizing the alcohol. Right now your liver is in tip top shape- in otherwords; you were born with a good one. My vote is with genetics.

I never got a hang over till I stopped drinking for 2 months. Then one night I decided to start back up. I bought a bottle of Stoli Gold- it advertised that it was very pure. My thinking was that this would be the thing to drink after being on the wagon. So, off to the party I went.

I almost never saw 28 as I nearly died the next day from alcohol poisoning- and that was the end of my hang over free days.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:37 PM on May 28, 2007


My partner (40ish) and her sister (a few years younger), both of basic Anglo-Saxon stock, are apparently immune to both hangovers and poison ivy/oak/sumac. Count your blessings - it may change as you get older, it may not. My hangovers have gotten much worse (i.e., even when I drink less, my hangovers are (dis)proportionately worse) as I've gotten older, though I've always experienced some symptoms. My partner and her sister are both allergic to red wine, FWIW.
posted by rtha at 7:49 PM on May 28, 2007


There isn't a science to it. Well there is, but not really.

My hangovers have subsided the older I've gotten. Then again, I'm not taking shots of bottom shelf whiskey chased by the cheapest beer on tap anymore.

That being said, I'm probably going to spend all of next Saturday miserable, festering in my bed.

Just count your blessings that you've gone this far without hangovers. You're going to start appreciating every time you go out drinking and wake up without a hangover.
posted by ASM at 8:04 PM on May 28, 2007


It actually is genetic, you have the 'good' versions of the various enzymes that process alcohol (there are two main ones and I can totally never remember what they're called). By genetic I mean you have a specific polymorphism that tends to be faster or more efficient, this may or may not run in your family or be racially related, but it can most definitely be passed on. If you're completely hangover free you most likely have a combination of beneficial variants, but it's also possible that only one enzyme (and therefore one gene) is involved. This is supported by your brother having a similar effect, the chances of him getting the whole beneficial range is less likely than you sharing just one really good enzyme.

This metabolic capability may, and probably will, change over time like so many systems in your body, so the hangovers may start later on. But you may be lucky and stay like this. I still rarely get hangovers at 31 even though I occasionally drink rather a lot, and this hasn't changed since I started drinking at 16. We'll see how that pans out over time.

I don't know if drinking or not drinking alcohol now will affect your specific metabolic capability in the future, although it's assured that continual heavy drinking will damage your liver and lead to ongoing problems (including hangovers). Continuing to drink in moderation as you do may not have any effect at all on your hangoverness, and rarely drinking may even reduce your tolerance. So I wouldn't worry too much about wearing out your liver, just keep being sensible.

Do you also get drunk pretty quickly? There are two stages and two main enzymes, one mediates alcohol's effect (so makes you drunk) and the other detoxifies the alcohol (sobers you up). I have fast versions of both sets, so I get drunk fast (and cheaply) but sober up fast with very little/no ill effects. I do often get a very short, intense headache as I sober up but it only lasts 10-15 minutes and I generally sleep through it. So in reality I'm probably not hangover free, I just move through it rapidly. There also means less time for secondary side effects like dehydration to set in. You probably have a fast and/or efficient version of the detox enzyme(s) which may or may not be linked with fast versions of the first

FWIW, I have a friend with fast first enzyme, gets drunk easily, and almost non-existent detox enzymes. Two glasses of wine gives her a two day hangover where she feels like she's dying. I think she's getting my hangovers and possibly those belonging to a few others as well.
posted by shelleycat at 8:09 PM on May 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Count yourself lucky. Also, I really admire the scientific approach you took when posing your question -- you covered all the points I would have made.

I don't get hangovers often (because I drink tons of water every day, hate sugary drinks, am not a rapper and therefore do not drink champagne more than once a year, and tend to vomit before bed if I drink too much), and I'm happy to report that they are no more common in my late twenties than they were in my teens.

Make sure that you use your super power only for good.
posted by benrodian at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2007


You know what? YOU AND ME BOTH. I am EXACTLY the same way and I'm infamous for this. PLUS I have a high tolerance for alcohol so I'm not a cheap date to begin with.

I've held people's heads and helped them through their hangovers for decades... but at 40 I've STILL never had one myself. And trust me, it's not because I didn't deserve one. In college I even had a roommate TRY to give me a hangover and it didn't work. It's my metabolism, and it's something I'm very aware of. There are other people in my family who are similar, and both my dad & my sister have had alcohol problems which I feel is no doubt partly due to the lack of repercussions in the morning. I'm really careful since I don't want that for myself.

I used to be afraid that one day I would drink one glass of wine and suddenly be stricken with every hangover I've been spared and DIE. Instead, what I've found is that as I've gotten older I will feel a little more run down in the morning. It's still not a stereotypical hangover, it's more like the same feeling I would have after a late night drinking too much coffee. But I definitely will feel run down a little.

My advice to you? Be thankful. We're very lucky and blessed. I mean really, who wants them?
posted by miss lynnster at 8:35 PM on May 28, 2007


I was just thinking about it... and I'd say the reason it used to bug me that I didn't ever have hangovers was that I suffered from a form of survivor's guilt. I would see my friends felled by these horrible headaches and stuff... and it seemed unfair that I was spared.

Yeah, so I'm totally over that now. ;)
posted by miss lynnster at 8:39 PM on May 28, 2007


No hangovers for my sister or me, although I haven't really tested that in years. I'm the "basic Anglo-Saxon stock" referred to upthread. I tend not to drink a lot and hydrate when I do, and I'm in no hurry to find out if I've lost my resistance.

No idea how common this is. Neither of our parents are big drinkers, but I should ask them about hangovers.

Enjoy it while you can, but don't get too reliant on it!
posted by gingerbeer at 9:02 PM on May 28, 2007


Happens to me sometimes, I can go out and get very drunk, then the next day be totally fine. I think it's largely only beer which I'm safe with, I do recall the last time I had a hang over was after a night on the receiving end of a bottle of Jager. But largely I dont get hungover, I think I'm safe, then the next weekend I wake up feeling totally scum and cant get out of bed until possibly Monday morning.
posted by chrisbucks at 9:03 PM on May 28, 2007


For the love of all that is holy, enjoy it while you can. I used to be you; in fact, long ago, I had this exact conversation with my friends. Then, like many here, I hit the late 20s.

Now after I drink too much, I typically feel like the albino guy and six-fingered man hooked me up to that machine in the pit of despair and sucked away a year of my life.
posted by jtfowl0 at 9:15 PM on May 28, 2007


I'm another who never had much of a hangover until my mid-twenties.
posted by sien at 10:04 PM on May 28, 2007


Do you only drink premium stuff? Do you hydrate before you crash for the night?

If I stick with those two things, I'm never hurting in the morning. Cheap booze has lots of random uncharacterized organics in them (ketones, aldehydes, non-eth alcohols, &c). These make your liver work some overtime.

750mL of Bushmills/Finlandia and I'm ok as long as I stay hydrated and get to sleep in.

Cheap beer in highschool/college left me with horrible hangovers, though. Staying with liquor and/or fruit juices/soda/tonic has still yet to give me a hangover (unless it's, say, well (the cheapest) gin - then I may feel the touch the next day.

Turning 29 in about 40 days. <weeps>.
posted by porpoise at 10:37 PM on May 28, 2007


I've stuck hard and fast to two rules when drinking:
1. Drink a half-liter of water before bed, and before going to sleep,
2. Set an alarm (thank you, cell phone!) for four hours later to go to the bathroom and drink another half-liter.

I've yet to have anything resembling these painful hangovers most describe, but being young probably helps. I'd like to think the massive water intake helps some, because I often find myself not having to pee at all, despite taking in a large amount of water in a short period of time. My body usually absorbs most of it, and I'll occasionally wake up still thirsty.
posted by CipherSwarm at 10:41 PM on May 28, 2007


I never had a hangover until I was 25. At 26, I figured out what the problem was, and now I'm hangover-free once again.

The issue?

A particular brand of vodka which was a component of the drinks I had has something in it ... a preservative, perhaps ... which gives me hangovers, regardless of alcohol content. Two of these drinks and I was sick the next day.

On the other hand, half a bottle of good scotch whiskey after a bottle of really good red wine just makes me feel unusually chipper the next day.

I'm reliably informed that I'm a throwback; Mum and Dad both get hangovers, whereas my paternal grandfather and grandmother didn't.
posted by ysabet at 10:45 PM on May 28, 2007


To all that have mentioned that they did not get hangovers until their mid-20's, I have a slight take on that.

When I was a young lad, I loved me a G&T, especially on a hot DC summer day. Could put those puppies back like no one's business. Then at about 25, I found if I drank but one, the next morn, I was in the throes of a hangover, the like I had never had before.

Now then, two years ago, in a crazy moment, I had a martini and found the next day to my surprise that I felt fine the next day.

So what you are experiencing may come and go.
posted by Dagobert at 2:54 AM on May 29, 2007


I am a moderate drinker with a few teenage house parties in her past. I remember drinking nothing but cognac one night with my pretentious boyfriend, getting ill, but feeling absolutely fine the next day. I never, ever got hangovers, no matter what I drank.

Now I'm 46. A few months ago, I went to a party and drank excessively: most of a bottle of red wine, a gin and tonic, some horrible mixed drink with some kind of liqueur and cranberry juice, and several jello shots made with gin and vodka. (No, this is not typical for me. I usually go through a three glasses of wine in a week. This was under highly unusual and stressful circumstances.)

I was sufficiently drunk that I had to vomit part way through the evening, but I felt better afterwards and kept careening around the party, drinking some more. I actually can't remember some events of the evening because I was drinking that much. I literally staggered out of the house and to a main street where my companion got us a taxi. Back home, I had maybe one glass of water, but I really didn't hydrate properly before I went to sleep.

I should have had the mother of all hangovers the next morning. But I didn't. I felt just fine. However, I have no intention of repeating the experiment any time in the future to see if I'm still immune.
posted by rosemere at 4:22 AM on May 29, 2007


I used not to get hangovers but they slowly crept up on me in my mid-to-late 20's. Now, in my early 30's, I can have a few beers (four bottles) and have a real stinker the next day but other times I can drink a lot more and be fine. It seems like theres no rhyme or reason to it. All I know is that the hangovers I get make me wary of the following:

1) Cheep Booze (don't be tight, don't drink anything with 'Ice' in the name)

2) Stella Artois (this gets its own category as I've committed Stellacide one too many times)

3) Mixing Drinks (wine and beer can work but it's not ideal, never throw in liquor into the mix)

4) Being Dehydrated (drink more water than you think you should, drink water whilst drinking, get up in the night and drink water)

That's my things-to-avoid list. Apart from that, Gatorade is my next-day-Jesus

The bottom line is that you don't have to worry about such things so you're lucky. I sincerely hope for your sake that you stay that way.
posted by ob at 7:45 AM on May 29, 2007


I'm approaching 32, and have never had a hangover no matter what. Scots/German derivation.

It's obviously the choice of MeFi screename.
posted by LionIndex at 7:54 AM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I answered this one already...
posted by NekulturnY at 7:58 AM on May 29, 2007


I was in exactly the same spot until I turned 27 or so. Every detail you said was exactly the same for me, except that I don't really eat breakfast.

And yeah, then it ended.
posted by zebra3 at 8:22 AM on May 29, 2007


this just means you haven't been drunk enough....

or you have a good tolerance level. hangover depends on your liver.. when your liver deteriorates and loses the ability to absorb toxins.
posted by radsqd at 9:09 AM on May 29, 2007


I never had a hangover until I was 20, about three years into my adolescent drinking career. I had also never puked, blacked out, or even passed out from drinking. And, as others have said, not for lacking of "trying." I would wake up feeling sort of tired after a night of ard drinking, think that was a hangover, and wonder what the big deal was.

Then, the day after my 20th birthday, I woke up crying for my mommy. I suddenly understood. Hangover, check.

A few months later, my friend got some pics developed from another night of partying, with me in them, and I could not at all remember them having been taken! Blackout, check. Luckily, the pics were very innocent.

Then, a few years ago, when I was about 26, I woke up after a night of drinking sitting upright, cross-legged, on my living room couch, with my shoes, clothes and coat still on. Passed out, check.

I'm also a total lightweight when it comes to getting drunk, so I thought this might have something to do with it.

I've still never puked from drinking, and my hangovers are still mercifully weak (I'm sometimes pretty spacey the day after a big night out, and very occasionally a bit queasy, but nothing a bagel and diet coke won't cure). I also am very lucky to have never done anything I really regretted while drunk, no matter how stupid-gross-drunk I've gotten. But I have become a bit more susceptible to the downsides of drinking since leaving adolescence. FWIW, my bro is the exact same way. We also were both social smokers for years wthout becoming addicted to tobacco.

Our background is similar to yours: English, Irish, Swedish, German, with a bit of Jewish thrown in. Interestingly, there is a history of alcoholism on one side of the family (which did not manifest in our immediate family, luckily). I've read that higher tolerance for alcohol is correlated with alcholism, so this might be something to watch.
posted by lunasol at 11:19 AM on May 29, 2007


Interesting about the possible higher tolerance for alcohol being correlated with alcoholism, lunasol.

I'm 45, have never had a hangover (echoing the 'not for a lack of trying' comments). My dad's dad was alcoholic, and in response my dad rarely drinks at all, although his tolerance seems quite good. My mom, on the other hand, is a one-drink drunk. Both say they've had hangovers.

I've always just considered myself exceptionally lucky, and try not to look a gift horse in the mouth when it comes to drinking - high tolerance, no punishment for transgressions, and no dependence. As others have already said, as I get older I find heavy drinking makes me really tired the next day, but no headache, no nausea, nothing I would remotely call a hangover.

If I ever felt guilty about it, it was so long ago I no longer remember...now I'm just grateful :-)
posted by faineant at 11:56 AM on May 29, 2007


Dude...

TEACH ME.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:40 PM on May 29, 2007


delmoi: Vodka doesn't give me one, regardless of how wasted I get myself with it. Neither does tequila, rum,… I just really don't get them.

vers and rtha: As far as I know I'm Belgian with a small part of Dutch blood, but Belgium is geographically close enough to the UK that it could be a possibility, of course.

Shelleycat: Thank you for your explanation, it gave me some pointers for further research. Your answer is the best best answer, as it provides some detailed insight into the why of it all. I don't think I get drunk fast by the way, but that's quite subjective of course.

The two most important enzymes you meant are alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (ADH2) and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). (Thank you, internets.)

"Acetaldehyde, the first metabolite in the breakdown of ethanol, has been suspected of playing an important role in the development of hangover. Aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) is a key enzyme in the elimination of acetaldehyde (Bosron and Li, 1986). This enzyme is inactive in persons with ALDH2*2, a mutant allele prevalent in East Asians. Inactive ALDH2 generally inhibits East Asians from heavy drinking, by causing acetaldehydemia and alcohol flushing responses, which include facial flushing, tachycardia, and drowsiness (Harada et al., 1982) .... In the present study, the amount of alcohol consumed before hangover was significantly lower for subjects with ALDH2*1/2*2 than for those with ALDH2*1/2*1 regardless of gender. This finding clearly demonstrates, in both genders, a positive association of inactive heterozygous ALDH2 with hangover susceptibility in a Japanese working population and suggests that acetaldehyde is etiologically linked to the development of hangover."
(Yokoyama M, Yokoyama A, Yokoyama T, Funazu K, Hamana G, Kondo S, Yamashita T, Nakamura H., Hangover susceptibility in relation to aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 genotype, alcohol flushing, and mean corpuscular volume in Japanese workers. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2005 Jul;29(7):1165-71.)

This leads me to believe I might have a very active acetaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 enzyme, which might be the reason for my hangover-free state, hurray!

miss lynnster: It doesn't really bug me that I don't get them, on the contrary I'm quite thankful (although I will probably only understand how thankful I should be now once I do get them). But what you're saying about survivor's guilt is true, I feel guilty when my friends are in such a horrible shape and I'm happily feeling fine. However, the disadvantage is that I often start cleaning up after parties, because I'm the only one awake or fit enough, so that compensates for karma :)

ob: Stellacide, really? I live in the town where Stella Artois is brewed, so it's the standard pilsner people order in pubs and what students drink at parties. I've never heard anyone complain about Stella-hangovers, it's usually cocktails, gin and tequila I hear friends complain about. (Not discrediting your experience, just expressing my opposite experience.)

The big conclusion I draw from these answers: most people like me got hangovers once they were between 20 and 30, especially between 25-30. They could be coming any moment now, or if I'm lucky, in 5 years from now, or hopefully I’ll be like dobbs, rosemere or faineant. I should definitely enjoy it while it lasts, so I should probably get drunk more often :)

Thank you all for answering!
posted by lioness at 7:04 AM on May 30, 2007


Yes Stellacide indeed. It may well be that the Stella in Belgium is quite different from the Stella in the UK and the US, but in both countries Stella kills me. In my opinion Belgium is the country of beer so when I'm there I never order a Stella when there are hundreds of others to try, so I have no idea if there is a difference between 'real' Stella and the stuff that is on tap elsewhere. Anyway, proost!
posted by ob at 9:08 AM on May 30, 2007


The two most important enzymes you meant are alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (ADH2) and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2).

Aha! Thems the buggers. I'm surprisingly crap at details for a scientist.

There's a similar one for caffeine actually (it's a p450 thingamajig) with a fast and slow variant. This is why a small number of people totally can't tolerate coffee.

Your answer is the best best answer,

So why so profligate with the ticks? I've noticed this more recently, people giving out so many best answers it stops meaning anything. I genuinely don't get it.
posted by shelleycat at 2:14 PM on May 30, 2007


shelleycat, you’re right, there are are too many best answers. The reasoning behind all those is that I asked 3 questions. Most people answered how common it is and whether it's permanent. I hoped someone would come up with statistics or research, but besides that, the only possible answers were experiences. Together, all these experience answers paint a picture of most people having no hangovers until 30, so I found it fairest to mark them all best answers for questions 1 and 3.

I was most intrigued with question 2, the why of it all. Besides the Welsh ancestry suggestion, you were the only one who gave me a good explanation. That’s why I marked yours as best answer and favourited it. And then I also favourited LionIndex for being funny.
posted by lioness at 5:48 AM on May 31, 2007


Thanks for answering my question honestly. I was hoping I didn't come off as snarky, I just really don' get how some people use this metric. But yours makes more sense now :D

And sorry I didn't remember the names before thus making my answer pretty vague. I find it frustrating that I know so much cool stuff but can never remember it well enough to communicate effectively.

And FWIW, my ancestry is English and Scottish way back when. But this stuff may be genetic without being particularly racially based. Sure some gene variants tend to follow certain ratios in particular populations (like the east asian thing with these genes or the northern european thing with the good lactose genes) but the ratios for most polymorphisms are pretty broad so familial inheritance is going to factor in much more than racial group. So my younger sister being hangover free is more of an indicator of my own performance than our skin colour or ancestry.
posted by shelleycat at 11:43 PM on May 31, 2007


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