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Genetics & Hangovers – Genes Control Who Are More Affected

What is the cause behind hangovers? Some people spend a night drinking and wake up with a terrible hangover, while others do not face the same unpleasant effects of alcohol the next day. What is the factor responsible for this discrepancy? A new study carried out by Australians has suggested that genetics has some bearing on hangovers.


Genes and susceptability to experiencing hangovers

The research was focused on deciphering the links between genes and the frequency of hangovers (number of hangovers over the past year), if any was to be found. Does one’s DNA make one more inclined to experiencing the ill effects of alcohol consumption than other people? The results showed that 45 % of the difference in the number of hangovers in women was due to genetic factors, while for men, the number amounted to 40 %. The researchers interpreted the results as implying that half of the reason as to why does one have a hangover while another does not, in spite of consuming the same amount of alcohol, is because of genetics. As for the other half… Other factors come into play to bring about the hangover, or the absense thereof.

Another finding of the study was that those people with the hangover genes had the tendency of getting intoxicated more often than those without the genes. This suggests that the genes might also be responsible for the frequency of the person getting drunk.

Alcohol addiction

The results that demonstrate the genetics as determining partly the susceptibility of people hangovers could be used to boost future research on the addiction alcohol entails.

What is the association between the study and alcohol addiction? The researchers have theorised that those less likely to experience hangovers because of their genetic make-up might face a greater risk of, in turn, suffering from alcohol addiction.

Limitations of the study

The study had limitations though. The frequency of hangovers was determined by asking the participants as to the number of times they thought they had hangovers over a period of one year. Hence, the data depended on the power of the memory of the subjects, thereby leading to the risk of having less accuracy. Therefore, the genes that might possibly account for the greater sensitivity to alcohol should be specifically studied in order to gauge their real effects.


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