Most of us are thrilled to say goodbye to 2020. Perhaps that’s why you celebrated with more enthusiasm than usual on New Year’s Eve.
And today you’re paying the price.
New research may be able to help. It found that one supplement eases hangover symptoms.
The study was published in the Oxford Academic Journal of Alcohol and Alcoholism.
Researchers in Finland divided male subjects into two groups. Both groups drank 1.5 grams of alcohol per kilogram of body weight. That means a 165-pound man consumed the equivalent of about nine shots of hard liquor over three hours.
After the drinking session, one group took 1,200 mg of L-cysteine. The other group took a placebo.
The next day, the L-cysteine takers had milder hangovers compared to those in the placebo group. Fewer subjects in the supplement group reported having a headache, and they had less digestive discomfort.
L-Cysteine Helps Your Liver Process Alcohol More Efficiently
How does L-cysteine work? It appears to have specific properties that help your body neutralize acetaldehyde. It’s the toxic byproduct of alcohol.
Your liver removes acetaldehyde. But when you drink too much, it can’t keep up. Hangover symptoms are the effects of excess acetaldehyde.
L-cysteine is an amino acid, one of the so-called “building blocks of life.” The researchers found that it helps your liver process acetaldehyde more efficiently.
The results confirm a 2018 Japanese study. It gave drinkers a lozenge containing L-cysteine. Then it measured acetaldehyde levels in their saliva. Those who took L-cysteine had lower concentrations of the toxin than subjects who took a placebo.
L-cysteine is widely available from online retailers and health food stores. It has no known side effects.
A note of caution: L-cysteine is not a hangover “cure.” It does not allow you to drink heavily with impunity. Study subjects taking L-cysteine still felt bad the next day…just not as bad as those who didn’t take it. And there’s no evidence that L-cysteine protects people from the serious health consequences of chronic heavy drinking such as cirrhosis of the liver.
Also, you should know that L-cysteine is chemically similar, but not the same as another supplement called N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). There is no evidence that NAC eases hangover symptoms.
Editor’s Note: More than 90,000 different nutritional supplements are sold in the U.S. Most have little proof they work. Discover seven with rock-solid science behind them…the ones doctors say they take themselves.
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