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Most of us have been there. An evening of booze-fueled revelry morphs into a morning of nausea and regret. What’s a hangover-stricken body to do?
In the past, those with experience on the subject, like your college roommate, have suggested the copious consumption of herbal teas. Now, Chinese scientists have declared that a swig of Sprite might be just what the doctor ordered.
The group of researchers from Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou conducted a series of experiments and found that hangovers are caused “not by the ethanol itself, but by ethanol’s first metabolite, acetaldehyde,” Chemistry World explained.
That means avoid herbal teas, because they have been found to increase the “activity of ADH, thus accelerating the metabolism of ethanol into toxic acetaldehyde, whilst also inhibiting ALDH, reducing acetaldehyde removal,” according to Chemistry World.
In other words, herbal teas might make your hangover worse because they speed up the creation of acetaldehyde.
Sprite and soda water, on the other hand, “markedly increased ALDH activity, thus promoting the rapid break-down of acetaldehyde and could minimise the harmful effects of drinking alcohol.”
Chemistry World spoke with Edzard Ernst, an expert in medicinal science from the University of Exeter in the U.K. He called the findings interesting and a reminder that “herbal and other supplements can have pharmacological activities that can both harm and benefit our health.” Ernst also stressed that the findings will need to be replicated.