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Expert: Hangovers worsen with age

American actor Zach Galifianakis attends the premiere of Hangover at Empire, Leicester Square in London on June 10, 2009. (UPI Photo/Rune Hellestad)
American actor Zach Galifianakis attends the premiere of "Hangover" at Empire, Leicester Square in London on June 10, 2009. (UPI Photo/Rune Hellestad) | License Photo

SCHENECTADY, N.Y., March 18 (UPI) -- A New York state alcohol metabolism expert says hangovers get worse as drinkers age and cheap alcohol can lead to more intense morning-after discomfort.

Jim Schaefer, who also served as an anthropology professor at Union College in Schenectady, said hangovers worsen with age because of a drop in levels of enzymes responsible for breaking down alcohol into acetaldehyde and turning the acetaldehyde into non-toxic acetic acid, MSNBC reported Friday.

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"It has been suggested that acetaldehyde is one of the key toxic chemicals that influences the severity of a hangover," Schaefer said. "So any deterioration in ADH (aldehyde dehydrogenase) levels would contribute to worse hangovers."

Schaefer said cheap alcoholic beverages can also influence the severity of a hangover due to the higher presence of congeners, the "chemical soup" resulting from the fermentation and distillation processes.

"The more expensive liquors are often filtered and triple or more distilled -- thus, cleaner alcohol, less junk," Schaefer said.

"As we age, we may be unable to avoid chemical changes that could be wrecking the efficiency of our liver, and we should avoid lousy intoxicants, as they are guaranteed to cause digestive or metabolic discomfort," he said.

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