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Bad Hangover? Blame It (Partly) On Your Parents

Susceptibility to hangovers is partly due to genetics

Owwwwwwwwwwwwww. (Marco Cristofori/CORBIS)
smithsonian.com

December is upon us, which means that many of us are just one awkward office party or celebratory flûte away from a crushing headache and tender tummy. But when you're lying hungover in bed the next day, cursing the universe, don't forget to blame your mom and dad. Or at least their genes.

It may not come as much of a surprise, but according to new research your tendency for hangovers is decided, at least in part, by your genes, says the Guardian. Two studies that asked twins to describe how often they drank and how often they suffered a hangover suggest that roughly half of variability in hangover frequency comes down to heritable factors.

“This suggests that our genes may contribute to our ability to drink alcohol without falling victim to a terrible hangover,” says the Guardian. More than just accounting for some people's ability to bounce back after a night of hard drinking, “[t]his is an important finding given that individuals who show a reduced response to alcohol intoxication (they need more alcohol to get drunk) may be at greater risk for alcohol dependency. Resistance to hangover may also be an important indicator of increased risk.”

Heritable factors are not, of course, the only things that factor in to your body's decision to make you feel like your eyes are trying to escape from your head. Also relevant is the amount you drank and how quickly you drank it, how dehydrated you are, your gender, and all sorts of other things. For a more detailed looked, Smithsonian covered the existing science of hangovers in detail last year.

About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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