Help for hangovers

January 3, 2005 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Help for hangovers

New Year's Eve has come and gone but if youíre one of those revelers who overindulged you likely wonít soon forget how you felt the next morning. You probably wished there was a magic pill to take away the pounding headache, dry mouth and upset stomach. Scientists and manufacturers of over the counter remedies are also interested in discovering ways to help for at least some aftereffects of intoxication.

Last summer a group of doctors reported in The Archives of Internal Medicine that an extract from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, taken in a capsule form, was effective in staving off hangover symptoms like dry mouth and nausea. Living Essentials of Walled Lake, Michigan, markets Chaser, a pill containing activated calcium carbonate and activated charcoal. The company has financed a study of the dietary supplement, completed in 2002, but the findings have yet to be published.

Experts say that despite such products, a true hangover cure remains elusive. And the hangover itself is imperfectly understood as every personís body is different. Most popular remedies have no peer-reviewed research to back up their assertions. Some experts argue that even conducting such research raises ethical issues. The development of a foolproof hangover cure, for example, might encourage people to drink more, knowing they could take a pill to avoid suffering the next day.

Other than keeping your alcohol intake to a minimum, many doctors recommend drinking orange juice, Gatorade or similar sports drinks that replenish electrolytes and taking pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. Tylenol may not be a good idea, some experts say, because, like alcohol, it is metabolized by the already-overworked liver.

One thing no one advises is more alcohol, the traditional cure known as "hair of the dog that bit you".

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.