Inspired by a recent Instagram story by @thebirdspapaya & thousands of patients in my clinic. 

I had one drink last night.  How can this be?  I woke up with a cluster headache, foggy brain and feeling like total sh*t.  One drink?  Apple cider (substitute with any drink here).  One drink!  What’s up with that?!  This never used to happen to my body before.  I mean come on’, it was just ONE drink!!!!!

The Alcohol-Less Hangover

Or what about when you don’t even drink and wake up the next morning feeling hungover?  How can this be?  This makes absolutely NO SENSE!!!

At least to you, but to me it makes perfect sense, because I’ve seen this so often in clinical practice and experienced it myself as well.  I’m going to teach you what it means and what you can do about it. 

We don’t often realize these little signs and what they tell us about our bodies.  You all know me well for talking about poop, but there are so many more clues about what our body says about us.  This “alcohol-less hangover” is one of them, and this one actually shows a lot about what is going on in our guts. 

What does not being able to tolerate a drink, or feeling hungover after food, tell us about our body?

One hint? It has everything to do with our microbiome! Read on to learn more. 

The Telenovela In Our Guts

Whenever you are afflicted by symptoms, think of them like the drama in a Mexican telenovela.   The symptoms add turmoil, turbulence and some painful excitement to our lives.  Something to talk about with our friends and figure out like a detective, because these are the signs that show us the tune our basic biochemistry is singing.

Like all songs, it must be harmonious, like when the clouds open up and the angels begin to sing.  If you’re not feeling this, and rather a storm breaks through the sky and the tune is replaced by a dissonant song, this is the full expression of distress in our bodies!

Feeling hungover after minimal amounts of alcohol or food is clearly not the norm, but when it becomes your norm, it gives us valuable information about WHY your biochemical song is out of tune.

It All Comes Down to Sugar

Here are the basics. All food or drink we intake turns into one basic molecule, eventually.  That molecule is sugar. 

Starches, alcohol, fruits and vegetables, unlike fats and proteins, are immediate forms of sugar for our bodies, whereas the fat and protein needs to first be modified into a different form and this takes longer. 

Alcohol, sugary pop, milk, pastries, fruits and certain foods like high starch breads, basically anything that has sugar in it… is already sugar in your intestines.

When We Eat, Our Bacteria Eats Too

In our bodies, and highly concentrated in our gut, we house trillions of bacteria and yeasts that all feed on the foodstuff that we intake. 

Yeast, otherwise known as Candida albicans, can overgrow quite easily.  If you’ve had a history of being on antibiotics, have taken the birth control pill or have estrogen dominance, you’re already at a higher risk of this.  Hmm, sounds like almost every woman that I know! 

So these critters are all hanging around in the closed system known as your gut.  Now imagine feeding sugar into a bottle with yeast.  What happens?  Fermentation happens and fermentation creates alcohol and acetylaldehydes that inhibit our body’s ability to detoxify and cleanse.  It creates the dreaded symptoms of a hangover!

Alcohol Factory Within Our Gut

When you have a big buildup of yeast in your body, you are already what I like to call your very own personal alcohol factory A.K.A. Super Fermenter (insert your name here).  So for people that are hungover after just one drink or food, it’s because they’re already internally producing alcohol, and then by drinking alcohol or consuming high sugar food/drinks, they quickly create more alcohol, pushing them over the edge!  This is correlated to drinking two bottles of wine, all on your own! 

Basically, we are one big biochemical factory.  Surprising, don’t you think, when you look at it like this?

So what to do? 

Balancing the Microbiome 

It’s always about working on your microbiome, the bacteria and yeast balance in your body. 

Here are the key things you can do:

  • Take a good quality probiotic supplement
  • Eat a low sugar, low starch diet – similar to a paleo diet 
  • Avoid alcohol until you get things under control 

And now for my secret weapon when it comes to yeast overgrowth in the gut… the castor oil pack.  

Yeast grows in a gut environment that is hospitable to it, such as one with slow moving intestines, low nutrient levels, high inflammation, stress and bad bacteria. 

The castor oil pack works on all of these factors to make our gut an inhospitable place for yeasts to grow.  Bye-bye one drink hangovers!

Slow Moving Intestines

Castor oil packs improve digestion, absorption and elimination processes by supporting healthy colonic transit time1 and improving smooth muscle function of the gut2.

Low Nutrient Levels 

Castor oil is a topical nutrient providing Omega 6, 9 and vitamin E3.  It provides nitric oxide which has been shown to reduce Candida albicans4 and it also preserves our body’s top-dog antioxidant, glutathione5, which is essential for detoxification and cleansing processes.

High Inflammation 

Castor oil reduces substance P in the body, a mediator of pain.  It gives the body PGE3, which is the same end product we get from taking fish oils, making it a powerful anti-inflammatory6 and making our gut a safe space for GOOD bacteria.

Stress 

The castor oil pack treatment promotes dopamine7 and oxytocin8 production, helping to move our bodies from a stressed-out state into a mellow-yellow mood.  This is where the compress part of the treatment is essential, as it is the compression that helps accomplish this outstanding benefit.

Bad Bacteria 

When bad bacteria is present in our gut, it’s easy for yeast to sneak its way in and flourish.  Bad bacteria, or as I call them conbiotics™, can create this mucous-like film called biofilm around them to protect themselves.  Not many substances are able to break down this yucky layer but fortunately, castor oil is one of them9 10 11!  This is essential to be able to clear them out and make space for healthy probiotics.

Balance IS Possible!

When all of these factors are supported, balance can be achieved in our microbiome.  And vice versa – when not supported, unbalance is sure to happen.  The other bonus is that all the issues that caused the yeast in the first place, such as burden from birth control pills, loss of bacteria from antibiotics, and estrogen dominance will all get better too.

So my friends, if you’re feeling hungover with any of these symptoms… 

  • A cluster or migraine headache that feels like you spent all night banging your head against a wall 
  • Lethargy so bad it feels you’re carrying the world on your shoulders and can barely move 
  • Dark circles under your eyes that would win in the raccoon category at your local beastly pageant
  • A brain so foggy after only one drink (or none!)

don’t dismay!

There really is a natural biological cause, it’s not your fault and there is something that you can do about i! 

To get your very own super easy, less-mess castor oil pack, click here. 

It’s time to reset your biology, so you can feel better, live your best life, not be restrictive and have fun! 

So there you go, with regular practice, over time, you CAN reset your gut!


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2 Sorin Tunaru,a Till F. Althoff,a Rolf M. Nüsing,b Martin Diener,c and Stefan Offermannsa,d,1 Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptorsProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5; 109(23): 9179–9184.Published online 2012 May 21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109PMID: 22615395

3 Marwat SK, Rehman F, Khan EA, Baloch MS, Sadiq M, Ullah I, Javaria S, Shaheen S. Review – Ricinus cmmunis – Ethnomedicinal uses and pharmacological activities.Pak J Pharm Sci. 2017 Sep;30(5):1815-1827.

4 Mascolo N1, Izzo AAAutore GBarbato FCapasso F.Nitric oxide and castor oil-induced diarrhea.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1994 Jan;268(1):291-5.

5 Holm TBrøgger-Jensen MRJohnson LKessel L.Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.

6 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8

Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.

8 Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

9 Andrade IM1, Andrade KM2, Pisani MX1, Silva-Lovato CH1, de Souza RF1, Paranhos Hde F1.Trial of an experimental castor oil solution for cleaning dentures. Braz Dent J. 2014 Jan-Feb;25(1):43-7.

10 Badaró MM, Salles MM, Leite VMF, Arruda CNF, Oliveira VC, Nascimento CD, Souza RF, Paranhos HFO, Silva-Lovato CH. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser.J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 25(3):324-334.

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