​Sprite Researchers Find Cure for Hangovers

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October 10, 2013

Sprite can alleviate the suffering of hangovers better than water, coffee or Advil, according to a group of Chinese researchers who say that they may have indeed found the soda to be a magic drink with the perfect cure.

After examining 57 beverages in a lab, researcher Hua-Bin Li and his colleagues at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou determined that the soda was one of the drinks that best relieved symptoms.

The team of scientists had hypothesized that what you consume after drinking booze could alter the effect of alcohol on your body. Specifically, they theorized that certain drinks could impact the body’s metabolism of alcohol in a way that would help alleviate hangover symptoms.

“Some of the adverse effects of alcohol are thought to be caused, not by the ethanol itself, but by ethanol’s first metabolite, acetaldehyde. Ethanol is metabolized into acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and then into acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH),” explains Chemistry World.

Unlike acetaldehyde, acetate is innocuous and may even be responsible for some of the positive health benefits of alcohol consumption. Therefore the key to reducing alcohol-related damage lies in minimizing the amount of time acetaldehyde is present in the body.

The Chinese researchers, therefore, decided that they would look at how the different beverages impacted the activity of ADH and ALDH.

Some beverages were found to be terrible for a hangover. An herbal infusion with hemp seeds, for example, was discovered to boost the activity of ADH while inhibiting ALDH, therefore slowing down the breakdown of acetaldehyde and dragging out the hangover effects.

On the other hand, some drinks, including Sprite (known in China as Xue bi) and a type of soda water, were found to have the opposite effect: increasing the activity of ALDH and thus speeding up the breakdown of acetaldehyde.

The researchers are reportedly planning to conduct the tests in living organisms, but the results have already generated a lot of buzz, as people around the world celebrate the possible death of the hangover. However, experts warn that we shouldn’t quite raise the victory flag just yet.

Edzard Ernst, a medicinal science expert from the University of Exeter, told Chemistry World that while he found the study interesting, more research is necessary before we wholeheartedly embrace the results.