What I achieved yesterday: little. Why: hangover. Some will swear by the classic remedies: hair of the dog, bacon and eggs, or a couple of sports drinks before bed. I tried all three, finding each to be monumentally ineffective! This prompted me to ask, what does science say is the most effective hangover cure and why on earth didn’t I know this beforehand?!
What definitely doesn’t work?
To put it bluntly, lots and lots and lots of things!
Hair of the dog: In most people does not change hangover symptoms, or makes them even more severe. Also, appears to increase the incidence of drinking problems (1). Don’t do it!
IV drip: All the rage at the moment and extremely expensive – up to $250 for a single dose! Sadly, science says it doesn’t work. Yes, studies conducted on the IV administration of vitamins and saline liquid found them to have no effect on hangover severity whatsoever (1).
Artichoke extract: Promoted as a natural cure to the hangover, actually appears to have no effect on hangover symptoms at all (1). Keep those artichokes for eating.
Fructose, or glucose supplementation: Did not change hangover severity, whether taken before or after drinking (1). Waste of time and calories!
Yes, there are a lot of duds out there. Thankfully there are a few things that might help too! Here they are, in order of effectiveness:
1. Aspirin: There has been limited research conducted on Aspirin. However, a study found that taking a tablet that exerts the same effect as Aspirin reduced hangover symptoms, apart from tiredness, by on average a whopping 86%! Reduction was most effective when two tablets were taken before drinking and a further two before going to bed. However, there were concerns that Aspirin use with drinking may come with a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding(1). So, be careful.
2. Hangover pills: A brand of hangover pills sold in France, named Aftereffect, decreased hangover symptoms when taken before drinking on average by 50%, without any reported negative side-effects (2). Sadly, I can’t find anywhere to buy them.
4. KSS Formula: Decreased hangover symptoms by one third. Was found to be more effective when taken before drinking (3).
Is it healthful?
There is no treatment to date, that appears to be effective when taken after the onset of hangover. But if you’re organised and take some of the effective treatments before you wet you whiskers, you could stop that hangover before it arrives (to a degree)!
Very healthful: Aspirin and Aftereffect hangover tablets. As I said be careful with Aspirin and to be safe, first seek medical advice. By far the best hangover treatments.
Moderately healthful: The natural remedies: korean pear juice, KSS formula and red ginseng will offer moderate relief.
Healthless: IV drip services (also expensive), hair of the dog, artichoke extract and fructose and glucose supplements have no effect on hangover symptoms.
I hope this has been healthful.