Get hangovers? Blame your genes
Whether a person experiences a hangover after a night of drinking may depend, at least in part, on genetics, according to new research.
Scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia collected data on about 4,000 middle-aged twins in Australia from the Australian Twin Registry. The researchers had all participants take a telephone survey, which included questions about alcohol consumption and experiences with hangovers—particularly “hangover resistance”—whether they had ever experienced a hangover after becoming drunk—and “hangover frequency”—the number of days in the past year on which they felt sick the day after drinking.
The researchers found that nearly half of the reason why a person may experience a hangover and another doesn't was due to genetics. The differences in hangover frequency among women were 45 percent due to genetics, whereas the number was 40 for men. The other reasons why certain people experience more hangovers than others is likely to be due to non-genetic factors such as alcohol tolerance, how quickly a person drinks and whether he or she has eaten beforehand.
The researchers also examined the gene variants involved in increased risk of having hangovers and found that the study participants with those variants were also more likely to drink alcohol to the point of intoxication.
The study’s findings suggest that genes may play a role both in how frequently a person chooses to consume alcohol as well as how susceptible he or she is to hangovers. Further studies on genes associated with alcoholism may lead to better techniques for dealing with alcohol addiction, the researchers said.