Previous research demonstrated that urinary ethanol concentrations were significantly lower in hangover resistant individuals compared to drinkers who reported having a hangover. This finding suggests that the rate of ethanol metabolism is faster in drinkers who do not experience an alcohol hangover. This study aimed to directly compare alcohol metabolism after administering a low dose of ethanol to hangover sensitive drinkers and hangover resistant drinkers.
Social drinkers who previously participated in hangover trials at Utrecht University were invited to participate. It was aimed to include 12 hangover resistant drinkers and 12 hangover sensitive drinkers. Participants consumed alcohol to reach a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of 0.05%. Every 5 min BrAC was determined, until BrAC reached zero. Every 15 min, the Karolinska Sleeping Scale (KSS) was administered to assess subjective sleepiness, and subjective intoxication was measured.
Data of N = 23 participants with a mean age of 22.4 (±1.9) years was included in the analyses. No significant difference in BrAC over time was found between the hangover resistant group and the hangover sensitive group. In line, subjective sleepiness scores and subjective intoxication ratings did not significantly differ between the groups at any point in time after alcohol consumption.
Hangover resistant individuals and hangover sensitive drinkers did not significantly differ on BrAC, subjective sleepiness, and subjective intoxication after consuming a moderate amount of alcohol. These findings suggest that drinkers who usually experience hangovers after a heavy drinking occasion do not experience alcohol intoxication differently than hangover resistant drinkers.