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Post-Pandemic Foul: Research Suggests Long COVID Could Be Cause of More Intense Hangovers

Study Indicates Long COVID Might Cause Severe Hangovers
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People suffering from Long COVID may also experience more intense hangovers, study suggests.

Mar. 11 2024, Published 1:02 p.m. ET

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Recent research suggests that individuals experiencing lingering symptoms from a COVID infection, often referred to as Long COVID, may encounter more severe hangovers than usual.

The study, published in Cureus, focused on patients grappling with persistent COVID-related symptoms who self-reported intensified hangover experiences.

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Conducted at Stanford University's Post-Acute Covid Syndrome clinic (PACS), the study involved four participants. Researchers observed a notable correlation between enduring COVID symptoms and heightened hangover severity among these individuals.

For instance, one case study subject, who battled COVID for 11 months, noted that consuming wine now triggered a “bad hangover” and made her feel like she “cannot move.”

Another participant, enduring COVID symptoms for three months, found herself unable to tolerate even a single cocktail, suffering what she described as "alcohol poisoning" accompanied by severe headaches lasting three days.

Similarly, a male participant in his 60s, previously able to consume alcohol without issue, now experienced adverse reactions even from minimal alcohol intake, attributable to Long COVID symptoms such as headaches, cognitive impairment and sleep disturbances persisting for five months.

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Researchers documented chronic headaches with a squeezing sensation at the top and back of the head in one participant, alongside a newfound alcohol sensitivity after a year of Long COVID symptoms in another, where a single drink caused skin flushing — a previously unexperienced reaction.

The study proposed that post-COVID infection, individuals with Long COVID might develop new alcohol reactions and heightened sensitivity due to potential weakening of the blood-brain barrier, facilitated by virus-induced inflammation in the body.


The blood-brain barrier, crucial for protecting the brain from harmful substances, could become compromised, allowing increased alcohol penetration into the brain.

Moreover, researchers speculated that elevated levels of inflammatory molecules in the bloodstream, often seen in Long COVID patients, could contribute to intensified hangover symptoms.

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While acknowledging the limitations of self-reported data and the absence of confirmed Long COVID diagnoses, researchers emphasized the need for further investigation to validate the observed link between COVID and amplified hangover experiences.

In parallel, emerging research has highlighted iron deficiencies in the blood as a significant factor in Long COVID cases, as Front Page Detectives previously reported..

Anecdotal evidence from early 2023 also suggested altered alcohol tolerance following COVID infection, with alcohol intolerance — attributable to inherited metabolic disorders — manifesting as an inability to efficiently metabolize alcohol.


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