A group of Chinese scientists may have found the best cure for hangover -- Sprite, the lemon-lime flavored soda drink -- after examining more than 50 beverages. Soda water is the next best alternative, the researchers concluded.
In their study, which was published in the September 2013 issue of Food and Function, the researchers noted that certain beverages could change the body’s metabolism of alcohol in such a way that it could prevent a hangover. According to Chemistry World, the adverse effects of consuming too much alcohol is not caused by alcohol or ethanol itself, but by acetaldehyde, one of the enzymes produced when the body is trying to process the alcohol.
“The results suggested that some beverages should not be drunk after excessive alcohol consumption, and several beverages may be potential dietary supplement for the prevention and treatment of harm from excessive alcohol consumption,” according to an abstract of the study.
Ethanol is metabolized into acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, or ADH, and then into acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase, or ALDH. The researchers believe that if they could shorten the time it took acetaldehyde to turn into acetate, the duration of a hangover can be reduced.
The researchers -- Hua-Bin Li and co-workers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou -- examined 57 beverages, including herbal teas and other fizzy drinks, before zeroing in on Sprite, reports said. Herbal teas were observed to slow down the conversion process and possibly worsen a hangover, while soda water and Sprite increased the ALDH activity to provide relief.
Edzard Ernst, an expert in medicinal science from the University of Exeter in the UK, told Chemistry World that the study was interesting as “these results are a reminder that herbal and other supplements can have pharmacological activities that can both harm and benefit our health.”