How to Cure a Hangover (Maybe)

How to Cure a Hangover (Maybe)

Thank you to NHTSA for paying for this video. Before we go any further, we want to remind
you to drive sober. You probably already know the risks of driving
drunk. You could cause a crash, you could hurt someone, incur a lot of legal expenses, lose your job. Don’t tell yourself it’s not a big deal,
‘cause it is. So while we’re going to be talking about how to maybe take the edge off your overindulgence, always, always drive sober — or get pulled
over. [♪ INTRO] Raw eggs, black coffee, hot sauce — I think it’s a rule somewhere that hangover
cures are 10% for the victim and 90% for the amusement
of their friends. Because, let’s be real, how could any of
this actually work? But there are things that proper doctors recommend to avoid or treat the symptoms of a hangover. Know your limits, stay hydrated, eat something
— it’s mostly about using common sense before
you start drinking. But what about those thousands of “cures”
that people seem to tout? Well designing an experiment to study hangovers is quite the challenge, but it turns out that there
are a few treatments out there with some evidence
to back them up. We all experience hangovers differently. Your age, sex, your body composition can all
affect how your body metabolizes alcohol. Genetics play a role, too. Genes seem to contribute almost half of the
variability between people when it comes to hangover symptoms. Meaning you need to start with a diverse study
population to account for all these differences. What to give to test subjects can be complicated. Ethics boards frown on asking your participants
to binge drink, for one thing. And what, if anything, you mix in with the
alcohol can also have effects. Like, maybe lab number 1 studies pure vodka, lab number 2 adds a little cranberry juice. Suddenly, the chemistry is totally different
— and that’s nothing next to what you’d
see out in the wild. This makes it hard to design a study that
can both be consistently replicated, and actually
mimics real-life drinking behavior. And don’t get us started on retrospective
studies instead of controlled trials. That would mean asking people to give accurate accounts of their drinking behavior. There’s a technical term that we’re worried
about here: it’s called “Recall bias”. All of this is to say that studying hangovers
is tricky. So even if the evidence for a given hangover
cure looks great in one study, it might not be
reproduced by different researchers with different methods. That all said, there do seem to be preventatives or treatments that could head off or treat
the worst symptoms, including some traditional tonics and everyday
foods. One small 2019 study asked hangover-sensitive
drinkers about certain nutrients in their diets. They were interested in nicotinic acid, which comes from eating a lot of whole grains
and mushrooms, and zinc, from foods like shellfish or legumes. And drinkers who reported consuming more of
those nutrients also reported less severe hangovers. But that’s not so much a treatment as a
thing that’s already in your diet. And another caveat — this was, in fact, a
recall study. And most people don’t necessarily remember how much zinc they ate yesterday. As far as actual curatives, one thing that’s gotten some attention is red ginseng. A small study from 2014 found that having
men drink red ginseng relieved hangover symptoms compared
to a placebo. A 2017 review of a handful of published studies also suggested that red ginseng could work
as a treatment. It also cited evidence for a handful of other
items like Siberian ginseng, Korean pear juice, and KSS
formula, which is a traditional Chinese treatment that
includes ginger, tangerine pith, and brown sugar. None of those treatments relieved all hangover
symptoms, but they did seem to help some. We don’t yet know for certain how all these
treatments might work — more investigation is needed. But they might reduce the oxidative stress on the liver that leads to cell damage. Or they might counteract immunological changes that may happen when drinking, like the increased production of signaling molecules
that promote inflammation. They also might affect the actual enzymes the body uses to break down alcohol, like
alcohol dehydrogenase. There’s actually some preliminary support
for that last one too. A 2019 study looked at how over 50 types of
food, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, spices,
dairy products, as well as coffee and tea, affect the activity of those enzymes in a test tube. They found that some foods, like sweet lime
juice, seemed to enhance the activity of these enzymes, while others, like starfruit, seemed to decrease
the activity. The scientists ultimately came up with a concoction
of pear, sweet lime, and coconut water that enhanced
the activity of the enzymes in the lab. Though having an effect in a test tube is
a long way from actually doing anything in your body. They ran a variety of formulas by a panel
of tasters, who liked the pear/lime/coconut combo best. In the end, though, even if a hangover “cure”
is developed, it might not affect people’s drinking behavior
much. In 2017, researchers asked a small survey
of young people about how their drinking habits would change if they had access to a cure for hangovers. The vast majority of social drinkers said
they’d use such a product, but only a relatively small group — about
13% — said they’d drink more. Most people, the authors suggest, don’t
really consider hangovers when drinking, and don’t necessarily want
to get more drunk than they already do when they drink. What’s more, a 2016 study showed that the
severity of a hangover isn’t significantly correlated
to how much someone drinks, or even their highest blood
alcohol concentration. In the end, we definitely won’t stop you
from trying lime juice. We just can’t pinky promise it’ll work. Like we said, designing a hangover study is
hard. And because the methods vary so much, it’s difficult to compare results between
papers. But while the only 100% guaranteed way to
avoid a hangover is to not drink in the first place, there do seem to be options better than your
friend’s coffee-egg-chili pepper recipe. Or at least better tasting. And also like, just have an ibuprofen. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow, and thanks again to NHTSA for paying for this
video. Remember to always drive sober — or get pulled
over. [♪ OUTRO]


100 thoughts on “How to Cure a Hangover (Maybe)”

  • I try to eat before, during, and/or after drinking. I also try to be mindful of how many drinks Iโ€™m consuming, and then try to remember to drink a bottle of water every so often. That usually staves of the bad symptoms.

  • just drink a lot of water before going to bed or before the next morning. usually my stomach doesn't feel great but never get a hang over.

  • Funny you post this the same day I pick up my annual Christmas present to myself – a bottle of good scotch! Though it's also far too good to drink too much at a time. This stuff lasts. Mmm. Peat.

  • The best "cure", though it's more of a preventative measure, is to drink plenty of water before going to sleep after drinking heavily. Ideally drinking water throughout, but even if you've forgotten to do so, sipping a few glasses before bed can help tremendously. The hangover is infinitely more tolerable if you make sure to do this.

  • My basic rules for someone who imbibes and binges at least twice a week:

    1. Eat a ton of food before you got to bed.

    2. Drink a horde of water before you go to bed.

    3. Pop a few asprin before you go to bed.

    4. Chew up some Tums before you go to bed.

    5. In the middle of the night…when you get up to piss….repeat steps 2, 3, 4……..

    6. Enough said…the above comments work EVERY time….

  • When I drink and got drunk ๐Ÿฅด, I always eat food. Just a little bit of food to push down the alcohol and lilโ€™ bit of water. Too much will make you puke ๐Ÿคฎ.

  • Really surprised I didn't see this on the comments yet, but I take a milk thistle extract capsule before I start drinking (and also put one in my pocket to take again later that night if I remember). It does seem to help a lot and supposedly helps prevent damage to the liver

  • Pastor Billy Romines says:

    Don't get drunk get saved by JESUS!…When you know JESUS all the drinking drugs and sex isn't what you want anymore…JESUS took me from a drug using drinking fighting biker in a National Motorcycle club… To becoming a true believer bible reading and preaching man…No it didn't happen in a day… Quicker then I could have ever imagined…My story's on my 5 video channel on UTube…
    The video of my life's story is on of the 5-video's I have posted under pastor Billy Romines…Only have 5 video's so its easy to find…JESUS IS REAL…We are here to love or reject JESUS/GOD…I know with out doubt JESUS is alive and returning…If JESUS loves and forgives me…After you see my life's story you will know… JESUS loves and is waiting to forgive you if you haven't received JESUS yet…
    Don't wait untill your dead before you know truth…GOD/JESUS is the only truth…Please before its to late to call JESUS into your life…Pray always and read the King James Bible…JESUS is coming to receive HIS children and take HIS rath on all that are evil and with out receiving HIS forgiveness…GOD/JESUS dosent ask for much…GOD/JESUS asks for your love and faith and to repent for the sins you have committed in life…Don't waste your soul listening to lies of the dammed in this world and the devil…When you stand before JESUS when your dead and you haven't followed HIM or asked for forgiveness…Its to late…You knew and you didn't take HIS love and mercy when you had the chance…
    With out faith you cannot please GOD…
    Faith comes by Hearing…
    Hearing the true WORD of GOD/JESUS written in the Holy Bible…
    Merry Christmas and a JESUS/GOD filled New Year and FOREVERMORE!!!

  • Ginseng is the most effective cure I've used. American ginseng seems more effective than red ginseng. I just eat about two and a half grams of the dried American ginseng root before drinking alcohol and about the same amount in the morning when I wake up. Ashwagandha with ginseng is even better.
    edit: Made this comment before watching the video. Red ginseng is great. Glad it was mentioned in the video. I haven't seen much about American ginseng being used for hangovers, but I prefer it over red ginseng. I use both, depending on how I feel; red ginseng is more stimulating and provides a bit more of a pleasant feeling, and I love how it synergizes with caffeine. American ginseng seems to be more subtle in immediate effects, but for me it's adaptogenic effects are more pronounced.

  • I went to a Xmas party a week ago and drank pretty heavily. (Good thing my place was only a block away.) When I got home, i made myself a small bowl of pasta and snacked on that and I drank an 8-10 oz glass of water with B vitamins and potassium. Even tho it took awhile for the drunk feeling to go away, i was able to avoid a hangover with what i ate and drank when i got home. I was happy to wake up not feeling like crap. I also felt well rested and energized that next morning too!

  • Matthew Trzcinski says:

    Or you could switch to something other than alcohol for inebriation. Magic mushroom ๐Ÿ„ perhaps. Then you have something to chat about afterwards.

  • Prevent: drink lots of water while drinking alcohol. Prevents dehydration.

    1- a little alcohol. Withdrawal is real.
    2- drink water. Dehydration is a foe.
    3- drink something sweet. Blood sugar makes everything feel better.
    4- eat. You probably didn't eat last night, did you? Too busy drinking. Eat. You'll feel better.

  • There is no cure for a hangover that works within the hour. For that there is prevention. Drink a liter of water before going to bed. That way you prevent a headache and possibly dizziness.

  • its just the loss of magnesium in your brain that make the neurological connection in your brain from dehydration. upping your magnesium intake and taking acetaminophen to stop the pain from your receptors will help rather than thinning your blood

  • Anti-migraine medications. Sumatriptan works just fine for me! This being said, alcohol (in sufficient quantities) might just be a migraine trigger for me so YMMV.

  • Wow, most of these comments show that the science isn't as strong in this group as you'd aspect. There is science done regularly on this subject but hank didn't really touch on any of it outside of food. Very odd that this was so poorly researched.

  • Important safety tip and a major error with this video using NSAIDS (like Ibuprofen) with alcohol (even the next day) are a not a great idea, even more so long term. Like leading to liver damage, kidney damage, and intestinal ulcers. NSAID medications already have alcohol contraindications on the box, plus there are many other drugs that you should never take with alcohol. (

  • I always drive sober? as a driver, I'm not a driver, don't even have a driving licence. Doesn't mean I'll hava a safe ride home…. I atually got into many accidents. Life sucks.

  • Take a couple good hits of some top shelf weed. It will usually allow you to hold down water/gatorade and maybe even some food. It is the best nausea medicine in existence. And after you eat you might be able to hold down some ibuprofen for the acute headache symptoms. I don't like to glorify or obnoxiously talk about drug use, but marijuana has wonderful anti nausea/hangover properties that come in handy on those unfortunate mornings when you realise that you went a little past your limit with alcohol the night before.

  • I rarely drink enough to get drunk or have a hangover (because I am a large guy and most of our drinks are only 5% alcohol).

    The few times I had something that resembled a hangover, an ibuprofen and a bottle of water cured it. I also eat a lot of grains and mushrooms (not a lot of shellfish).

  • In Japan there is this anti hangover drink which greatly reduces the hangover (or at least to some extent, depending on the person):

  • I always thought alcohol cause to the human body to dehydrate itself and a hangover was mostly just a dehydrated issue. So just drink water.

  • A drunk driver is responsible for killing three of my family members in three separate accidents. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.
    Also, I thought Starfruit was just a Stardew Valley thing. Thank you SciShow for teaching me that it's real.

  • after a night of drinking, i drink gatorade or pocari sweat before i sleep and after i wake up. definitely helps with hangover. this trick was a gaemchanger for me.

  • Sleep freezing cold, you be surprised how much water your body loses from a very light sweat under blankets. If you don't get hungover you don't have to cure it.

  • Three problems:
    1. At 01:08 you didn't define "hangover". You said we all experience them differently — no list of symptoms.
    2. At 00:50 you touted "common sense". Seriously? Common sense is not common, nor is it science.
    3. At 05:58 you said "just have an ibuprofen". I sense you were being cute, and ibuprofen doesn't work for everything, so — citation needed.

  • Pedialite, anyone?
    The BBC said it helped, and I use it and it helps a ton.
    Lots of people use it.
    Alka-Seltzer before you drink is also good if you come home drunk, though remembering it is the hard part haha

  • See being a paramedic you get yourself a nice 1000ML Fluids and youโ€™re good to go. And then the strongest caffine beverage

  • Amanda Montenero says:

    I always get something greasy after a night of drinking. Like a big burger from Carl's Jr or something. Also lots of water

  • Men shouldn't have more than 14 drinks a week and women shouldn't have more than 7. And never more than 4 drinks in a sitting!

  • SingingintheDark says:

    ok a hangover is caused by dehydration from drinking to much alcohol, alcohol evaporates very fast pulling moisture away with it, this is why you have a hangover you dont cure a hangover to feel better after drinking to much, you treat dehydration, the hangover it just the symptom of a problem, and I think most people know that you do not treat a symptom, you treat the problem that causes the symtoms.

  • I was always told a hangover is basically your body being severely dehydrated (from the effects of drinking), therefore drinking water and eating some food while drinking could prevent a hangover. I don't really drink, if at all, but I do have chronic dehydration, so I can attest that's no fun in the morning. Any juice drunk the next morning "cures a hangover" probably just cus you're rehydration….

  • Prevention: know your dosage, eat properly while you drink, have some juice and water, don't drink carbonated softdrinks, never mix different types of drinks, the simpler the chemistry is – the better, so shots of vodka or whiskey are better (hangover-wise) than a mix of wines or beers.
    Dealing with consequences: rehydrate, eat succinic acid and poly-sorbents, drink juice or tea with honey/sugar/lemon, and/or hard mineral water, get out to move your body and breathe fresh air to boost metabolism, then hot shower, then some hot protein-rich meal of choice (but not too heavy). Hair of the dog is a bad idea, drink some tomato juice and/or some pickles with pickle juice instead.

  • So what helps? Eat something before you drink, don't drink to much ethanol and drink enough water, because ethanol dehydrates you.

  • Come on, people, ethanol is a drying agent. Just drink enough water to turn your urine clear and you'll be fine as long as you exercise moderation.

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