GUANGZHOU, China—When it comes to alleviating the pain from a hangover, people usually reach for a couple of aspirin and a strong cup of coffee; however, there may be a new cure in the form of Sprite, according to a new study published in the journal Food & Function.
Chinese researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University conducted a study to determine which beverage was best to combat hangovers, and concluded Sprite outperformed the rest in relieving adverse alcohol-related symptoms, including nausea and headache.
When compared with 57 beverages, Sprite was deemed the best beverage to alleviate hangover symptoms and lead to a speedy recovery. When people drink an alcoholic beverage, the body undertakes a two-step process to deal with the alcohol. First, an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) begins breaking the alcohol down into acetaldehyde, then another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), breaks it down further into acetate
Researchers note that acetaldehyde causes the brain to swell leading to hangover pain. The team said chemicals that cause an increase in ALDH should help alleviate the problem by getting rid of the acetaldehyde faster—before it can cause brain swelling. But rather than working up a new drug, they looked at commercially available beverages to find out if any of them might do so naturally. They evaluated 57 types of beverages— herbal infusion, tea and carbonated beverages—on alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities. They found Sprite (called Xue bi in China) performed the best because the carbonated drink promoted the rapid break-down of acetaldehyde and to minimize hangover symptoms.
Interestingly, a study published in the Journal of Food Science suggests amino acids and minerals found in asparagus extract may alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells against toxins.
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