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So what exactly is it that makes a hangover suck so hard? Turns out there are three things interacting to make you feel miserable. Hank's got the details in this episode of SciShow.

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Hank: What do fried canaries, pickle juice, Coke mixed with milk, Vegemite, boiled tripe and coffee have in common? Well in addition to being frickin' nasty, except for the coffee, they're all purported folk remedies for a hangover.

Most adults who partake of alcohol have experienced at least one, or two, or three, or fifty dozen hangovers in their lives, and by all accounts it sucks. Terrible headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, that feeling of your eyeballs wanting to fall out of your head. But how does this stuff work?

Well, it involves three really miserable interacting things. The first step of the hangover is the biggest cause of your misery: dehydration. Booze is a diuretic which means it makes you have to pee, which is why there is always a line at the bathroom in a crowded bar.

Alcohol suppresses the pituitary gland's release of vasopressin, the hormone that triggers the re-absorption of water back into the body. Without it, the kidneys just send the water straight to your bladder and into the john.

Headaches follow when the body desperately resorts to stealing water from the brain, causing the tissues to shrink and pull away from the skull. Meanwhile, all that peeing causes you to lose a lot of sodium, potassium and magnesium which are all necessary for proper cell function.

Step two: acetaldehyde overload. Our bodies metabolize alcohol in two phases. First, liver enzymes break down the actual alcohol in the drink, called ethanol, which creates a toxic byproduct called acetaldehyde. The acetaldehyde is then attacked by more enzymes and a peptide called glutathione and is soon reduced to harmless acetate.

This works fantastically if you're drinking small amounts. But if you're guzzling pints all night, eventually your exhausted liver can't keep up and all that toxic acetaldehyde starts to build up making you feel really crappy.

Step three: the congener connection. In addition to alcohol ruining your body's ability to hold water and creating toxic leftovers for your liver to handle, most drinks also contain congeners. In chemistry, this refers to any group of related chemicals. But in this case, when we're talking about alcohol, it has to do specifically with chemical impurities that form during fermentation and aging of alcoholic drinks.

They provide flavor and color, but they also contain some of the same toxins that give your liver trouble, like acetaldehyde, esters and acetone, aka paint thinner. Darker drinks like brandy, bourbon and red wine have more congeners than clear spirits like vodka and gin. But, if you're over 21 and currently hungover you don't need me to tell you why you're experiencing such a terrible experience, you just need me to tell you how to make it stop.

Fact is, none of the above remedies I mentioned earlier are going to help. Coffee may help relieve a headache by shrinking the blood vessels in your head but it will also continue to dehydrate you. And don't reach for the hair of the dog, because that just prolongs the inevitable.

Replenishing sugars and minerals with a sports drink or a nice healthy banana isn't a bad idea, but if you ask any doctor they'll tell you the only sure cure for a hangover is time. It's time the afflicted can spend re-hydrating, eating, sleeping and thinking about making better choices. And of course, the one foolproof way to avoid a gnarly hangover: don't drink so much.

Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow. If you have any question, comments or suggestions you can find us on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below. And if you want to continue getting smarter with us at SciShow, you can go to and subscribe.