Most people who drink have had to deal with the unfortunate realities of a hangover. And while there has been a lot of research into avoiding hangovers, both scientific and less so, not as much attention has been given to the longer-term effects. Beyond a rough morning after, drinking has been shown to weaken the body’s immune system, so you may still be feeling the consequences of a long night out days or weeks later.
But new research has proposed a possible solution to these extended hangover effects: increasing your intake of vitamin E.
Processing alcohol puts the body under oxidative stress, which in turn weakens the immune system. Working with mice, researchers at ETH Zurich, a university in Switzerland, found that by giving these animals a boost in the amount of vitamin E in their food, they counteracted the negative effects of oxidative stress by protecting the membranes of beneficial T cells in the mice’s bloodstream. This benefit, in turn, helps fend off infections.
At this point, the researchers aren’t ready to definitively say what their work might prove about humans, but molecular biologist Manfred Kopf said that it does appear that increasing vitamin E will help during periods of oxidative stress, like after drinking.
Kopf added that taking vitamin supplements remains a “controversial topic,” because there is not strong scientific evidence that they help. So if you want to up your vitamin E in tastier, more natural ways, here are some foods to get more of: kale, almonds, Swiss chard and everyone’s favorite, avocados.