Have you ever had a hangover before, and wondered what a good cure for it was? If you’re like a large number of adults, you probably have had one or more in your lives, and you’ve heard from best friends, acquaintances, relatives, or perhaps read online, steps you can take to help ease you through your hangover and make a bad situation at least somewhat more bearable.
There’s no magical remedy to “cure” a hangover, but some beverages do seem to work better at easing your way through one. Researchers in China decided o test out various remedies for hangovers, and scientifically find out which, if any, have any actual merits to their claims that they ease the symptoms many people experience when they have hangovers.
After experimenting with beverages like coffee, water, “hair of the dog” (drinking more alcohol), herbal infusions, tea, and their version of Sprite — they tested out 57 beverages in all — the Chinese researchers discovered that lemon-lime flavored drinks such as Sprite seem to work the best at alleviating the symptoms of hangovers. However, if you would like to avoid sugary drinks, they found that a good alternative is soda water.
The body’s attempts to break down the alcohol consumed brings about some of the symptoms people who have hangovers experience.
Why do lemon-lime drinks like Sprite work better than others?
It’s when a person’s body is exposed to acetaldehyde, one of the two substances the liver metabolizes alcohol into — the other one being acetate — that many of the symptoms of hangovers manifest themselves, like headaches and the feeling of wanting to throw up. Reducing the time that the acetaldehyde stays in your body appears to be a key to helping prevent hangovers.
Acetate, the other substance, is actually considered to be harmless in comparison, and may even be behind the positive health benefits of consuming alcohol in moderation.
The research was conducted at Sun Yat-Sen University. Each beverage that the researchers tested had a different effect on the ADH and ALDH levels in a person’s body.
The presence of the enzymes ADH and ALDH after you drink alcohol are the results of how your liver processes the alcohol you drink, and breaks alcohol down into acetate and acetaldehyde.
The enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) metabolizes the alcohol you drink into acetaldehyde, while the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) breaks alcohol down into acetate.
So, basically, you can think of the enzyme ALDH as being “good,” and the enzyme ADH as being “bad” when it comes to hangovers.
What drinks seem to prolong a hangover?
Oddly enough, the researchers discovered that some of the drinks that they tested seemed to prolong the adverse effects of hangovers, rather than alleviate them.
Of the 57 different beverages that the Chinese scientists tested, they found that some herbal teas were among the worst drinks to consume if you have a hangover, as the symptoms will stay around longer if you drink these types of teas.
The Chinese version of Sprite, Xue bi, worked the best (along with soda water). Xue bi, Sprite, and soda water work to speed up the process of enzymes, and thus, these drinks shorten the time that ADH is present in your system.
Like with a lot of research studies, the Chinese researchers emphasise that more research is needed before a final judgment can be officially made; but, in the preliminary results, Sprite-like drinks are the best at lessening the symptoms of hangovers. That’s because Sprite and drinks like it break down the acetate from the alcohol you drink quicker, which results in shortening how long it remains in your body.
What is the best beverage to help you lessen the symptoms of a hangover? The research that the Chinese conducted strongly suggests that lemon-lime drinks like Sprite are the best, along with soda water, at lessening the effects of hangovers.
Written by: Douglas Cobb