NMU 168 – Researchers Discover a Potential Cure for Hangover Symptoms
Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 168 (June 16, 2020)
with Dr. James Meschino
Topic: Researchers Discover a Potential Cure for Hangover Symptoms
Source: British Medical Journal – Nutrition Prevention & Health (March 2020)
Well, finally something many people have been waiting for, a likely cure for hangover symptoms and/or a way to prevent them. From a health perspective, I encourage people not to drink alcohol or to consume it very judiciously. But for those who partake and are prone to the morning after hangover some encouraging research was published in the British Medical Journal – Nutrition Prevention & Health in March 2020. Based on previous studies that hinted at the beneficial effects of various fruits, leaves, and roots on minimizing and treating hangovers, researchers conducted a three-armed study with 214 healthy volunteers 18-65 years old. Each group was provided with alcohol to consume and were followed with respect to subsequent urine loss to look for effects on dehydration effects. Researchers also followed their blood samples to look for electrolyte imbalances and monitored their blood pressure up to 12 hours after they stopped drinking alcohol. The alcohol consumed was primarily beer, white wine, and white wine spritzers.
Each group was also given a non-alcoholic drink to consume 45-minutes prior to the beginning of alcohol consumption, and then immediately after they stopped drinking alcohol. The first group (69) were given a supplement drink containing plant extracts, vitamins and minerals, and additional antioxidant compounds — steviol glycosides and inulin. The plant extracts included Barbados cherry (Acerola), prickly pear, ginkgo Biloba, white willow, and ginger root. The vitamins and minerals included magnesium, potassium, sodium bicarbonate, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, and folic acid. The second group (76) were given the same supplement drink, but without the plant extracts, and the third group (69) were given a drink containing only glucose (placebo). Twelve hours later the participants filled in a questionnaire about the type and intensity of perceived hangover symptoms.
Compared with the glucose only supplement, those taking the full supplement of plant extracts, minerals/vitamins, and antioxidants reported less severe symptoms. Average headache intensity was 34% less, nausea 42% less, while feelings of indifference fell by an average of 27% and restlessness by 41%. Polyphenol and flavonoid compounds in each of the five plant extracts have been associated with curbing the physiological impact of alcohol in previously published experimental studies, explain the researchers. But it’s not clear how they work exactly. But the researchers commented, “our results suggest that alcohol-induced increased fluid excretion does not necessarily lead to a significant dehydration process. It seems to be clear that hangover symptoms are predominantly caused by alcohol and its metabolites.” So, to summarize, it appears that hangover symptoms are not caused by dehydration or electrolyte imbalances to any significant degree, but rather appear to be due to the build-up of end-products from alcohol metabolism itself. It’s possible that certain phytonutrients in the plant extracts used in this study may help the body detoxify, neutralize, or quench alcoholic metabolites, reducing their potential to generate hangover symptoms.
I’ve included the references for this information in the text below.
1. Bernhard Lieb, Patrick Schmitt. Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled intervention study on the nutritional efficacy of a food for special medical purposes (FSMP) and a dietary supplement in reducing the symptoms of veisalgia. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, 2020; https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/early/2020/04/01/bmjnph-2019-000042
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,