Many people who wake up with a hangover swear they will never drink again. But, instead, they wake up with a hangover preaching the same thing by the next weekend. Some will wake up to look at their smartphones, Googling “hangover cures,” in search of anything to relieve the headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and other forms of feeling like shit associated with alcohol.
Sadly, the recommended supplements you find on google never work. A newer study published in the journal Addiction done by scientists with the Maudsley NHS Foundation and Trust South London in England verifies this opinion.
No Evidence for a Hangover Cure
Colin Drummond, Emmert Roberts, Rachel Smith, and Matthew Hotopf researched the published scientific data in search for placebo-controlled, randomized studies in healthy adults, which looked at pharmacological substances for the prevention of or the treatment for hangovers. They found 21 studies in total, each looking at a different cure.
Of the 21 “cures,” there were only three — pyritinol, clove extract, and tolfenamic acid — that may have potential.
That is because of the lazy methods used in the studies, like the petite sample sizes (typically 20 subjects or fewer), altered methods of determining changes in the symptoms of hangovers, and the multiple ways of getting volunteers hungover.
E.g., a study involving red ginseng to prevent hangovers only gave volunteers 2.5 shots of whiskey. In contrast, another study had applicants drink a ludicrous amount of Soju (a colourless alcoholic beverage from Korea). Finally, another study using tolfenamic acid had volunteers “self-assess” how drunk they were.
Pyritinol, tolfenamic acid, and clove extract were the most promising as they resulted in the highest reduction of hangover symptoms compared to placebo with a statistical substance.
All three hangover treatments were very safe when taken — three 400-mg doses of pyritinol, two 200-mg doses for tolfenamic acid, and two 250 mg for clove extract spaced out in intervals of three hours. Although, for the above reasons, the supporting evidence was looked at as being “very low quality.”
The biggest takeaway for the study was only one of the reviewed studies revealed hangover “cures.” Furthermore, hangover cures were given before, during, or right after drinking. Meaning, you will not wake up in bad shape after a night of drinking, or you will have some clove extract with your coffee in the morning, and expect to feel normal soon after that.
The Best Hang Over Cure
What was not found in the studies for a “hangover cure” in the biomedical literature were pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin, which can significantly help reduce headaches and other pains that come with hangovers. But “Do not take Tylenol,” cautions from the Harvard Medical School. “If alcohol is still in your system, it may emphasize Tylenol’s toxic effects on your liver.”
Better options for preventing or treating hangovers include remaining hydrated before, during, and after consuming alcohol; getting a good night’s sleep after using alcohol; having a healthy breakfast the following day; and, if you can handle it, doing a light exercise such as yoga.
Perhaps the best way to prevent a hangover is to abstain from alcohol.