Photo: Jersey JJ (Flickr)
Coffee has long been a touted hangover remedy. Nowadays many bar patrons mix caffeine with alcohol, like Red Bull or other energy drinks mixed with vodka. A can of Red Bull contains slightly less caffeine than a small cup of coffee.
One of the ugly drawbacks to alcohol is fatigue. You may feel energetic after your first drink or two, but keep it up and eventually you’re going to feel sluggish.
The chemical reactions required of the liver in order to metabolize alcohol lessen the liver’s ability to deliver glucose to the body’s tissues, including the brain. Low glucose in the brain is the primary cause of alcohol-related fatigue, as well as decreased attention and concentration.
Stimulant To The Rescue? Think Again
Caffeine is a stimulant. It counteracts these effects, making you feel energetic and alert despite being intoxicated. Good news, right? Think again.
No matter how on top of your game it makes you feel, caffeine does not reduce your level of intoxication. Feeling sober when you’re drunk is dangerous. You may, for instance, mistakenly think that you’re in good enough shape to drive.
Your heart is another reason to think twice about mixing caffeine and alcohol. Some cardiologists caution that drinking too much of this mixture may cause the heart to race, elevate blood pressure, and possibly even lead to a heart attack.
Lastly, caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic, meaning it’s dehydrating. Even if caffeine temporarily takes the edge off, its dehydrating effect may eventually bring the ugly effects of alcohol back full force.