The next time you wake up feeling hungover after a few too many drinks the night before, don’t reach for an herbal tea – grab a nice cold can of Sprite and bubble your blues away.
The queasiness that occurs after a large intake of alcohol is due to the chemical processes necessary to get it out of the body. The liver releases an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) which breaks down the ethanol in alcohol into acetaldehyde. This is broken down into a chemical called acetate, by an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase.
The best way to reduce the detrimental effects of alcohol is to rid the body of acetaldehyde as quickly as possible. This is why the choice of morning-after beverage is key.
In a study, Chinese scientists tested 57 drinks to measure their effectiveness in alleviating alcohol-related symptoms, including nausea and headache. They found that lemon-lime flavored Sprite gave the best results.
The Irish Independent reports that herbal tea made from hemp seeds – usually regarded as a healthier choice – inhibited the chemical processes that broke down the alcohol and kept it in the body longer.
Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter told Chemistry World Magazine that supplements like herbal teas can have both positive and negative effects on health.
Professor Ernst cautions that more research is needed to confirm the findings.
In the meantime, the next time you wake up with your head pounding and your stomach doing flip-flops, break open a cold one.
Just make sure it’s a Sprite.