Hangovers, Unlike a Fine Wine, Get Worse with Age

As we age our metabolism slows, and the way our bodies react to alcohol can change. Philly Voice’s Brandon Baker recently interviewed John Liantonio, MD, from Jefferson Health’s Department of Family and Community Medicine to learn why hangovers get worse with age.

The greatest contributor is the slowing of the metabolism. The way our bodies digest anything changes as we get older. With age, the mass of the liver shrinks and consequently enzymes don’t metabolize alcohol as well as they did in younger years.

Although there is no specific age at which hangovers stop becoming more severe, Dr. Liantonio tells Baker there are ways to work around bringing on an intense one. He said, “If we are poorly hydrated, have an empty stomach and haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in a week, odds are you’re set up for a rough morning.” This all comes in addition to the amount of alcohol consumed.

Dr. Liantonio’s final thought: “A hangover here and there is to be expected from intermittent social drinking. Being sure never to drive–we are in the age of Uber–and to surround yourself with reliable drinking buddies will certainly keep you safe.”

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