What is the Alcohol Afterglow?

August 14, 2019

Written by

Lucas Aoun

Founder @ Ergogenic Health

👉There is a small percentage of people that experience cognitive benefits from hangovers. Seems rather bizzare, but there's definitely a fair share of people who report this. It appears that a fair amount of people experience high motivation and sociability the day AFTER drinking, as if it "cures" them from whatever keeps them so held back, lethargic, unmotivated, and shy in the first place.

Suspected mechanisms which are at play:

-Hypofunctioning of the NMDA receptor/Glutamate system.

-Low BH4:, since Alcohol increases the body's levels of NADH. This increases the recycling of BH4.

-Overmethylation (histamine deficiency).

-Increased NADH. Alcohol needs NAD+ for it's breakdown by alcohol dehydrogenase, and thereby produces an excess of NADH. NADH stimulates dopamine production by increasing the recycling of BH4, a cofactor for tyrosine hydroxylase.

-Excess acetylcholine. Alcohol decreases acetylcholine synthesis and release, and too much acetylcholine seems to interfere with dopamine signaling


-Feelings of not having access to parts of your brain.

-Holes in memory, especially working and short-term memory.

-Inability to learn


-Problems with language, especially written language

-Problems with executive function

-Socially withdrawn

-Poverty of speech and thought


(Credit to Area1255 for this summary)

- Reddit user 1
”All it takes is one or two beers the night before and I speak extremely eloquently and become witty / socially active all day the next day, and some times into the SECOND day afterward. Words come extremely easily, I actually DESIRE to speak to people, and everything in life just feels right”.

Reddit User 2
"Here is a list of some things I notice after a night of drinking:

-Gain the ability to talk to people/hold conversations fluently in a much more progressive style (Usually awful at this)

-Humor 'levels' rise. Usually I feel too slow and tired to crack jokes, but after a night of drinking, I just love to joke with people!

-I notice myself smiling more.

-I am not as irritable.

-Much more confidence in my self, overall."

Funny observation:
"I didn't know this was actually a thing. I won't say I feel "great" with a hangover (physically) but my mind is clear and my mood is great. I always thought it was due to three things; a) having an amazing night and reflecting on it brings joy, b) alcohol is still lingering in the system, playing it's magical tricks on neurotransmitters and c) the liberty of acknowledging that today you're hungover, and as such you get a day of "free play" without feeling guilty, which for me, enhances my mood because the stress factor is gone." - enhancedyogi

Whilst alcohol most certainly is not something I advocate for optimal health, there are many alcohol alternatives (That are proven safe) that appear to somewhat mimic this "Afterglow" effect.

*References available on request*.

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