If you’re someone who likes doing their research into the products they consume, you’ll want to know exactly what makes a top hangover cure pill.
There are loads of options on the market, all of which boast their hangover cure pill is the best. However which ingredients are essential?
It all depends on whether you’re looking for an all natural supplement with vitamins and herbal extracts. Or are happy to take a hangover pill that has a particular medicine included.
We all know that no hangover pill is going to actually cure our hangovers, however many of them certainly do help take the edge off. Which is more than enough to help us prevent wasting a whole day laying on the couch eating pizza after a big night out.
We have done detailed research and in-depth analysis into clinical papers to see which ingredients actually make a difference. In addition, we have tested many of them ourselves to see which ingredients actually help.
We cover everything from medicinal hangover cure pills to ones that contain natural ingredients such as herbal extracts, amino acids and vitamins.
The key symptoms which we looked at specifically are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- “The Shakes”
- Energy levels
A hangover cure pill needs to cover a lot of bases. A single ingredient isn’t going to tackle every aspect of a hangover. So here are our top picks:
1 – Ginger
Ginger is one of our favourite ingredients in a natural hangover pill and we certainly recommend you look out for this as an essential on your checklist.
This spice has been used for thousands of years in cultures all over the world to settle abdominal pain and most important – Sickness and nausea.
Doctors advise pregnant women to take ginger supplements or ginger tea to help morning sickness. There have been many studies which have shown that ginger really does help reduce nausea.
Many of us feel really sick after even a small amount of alcohol. Having an ingredient that reduces or even stops nausea is absolutely essential and why we consider ginger to be in our top 3 ingredients to look out for in a hangover pill.
2 – Dihydromyriceitn
Dihydromyricetin or DHM has been used is Japan for hundreds of years to treat symptoms of headache and settle upset stomachs.
In the last few years, DHM has attracted a lot of attention from the scientific world for its effect on reducing hangovers.
Its been shown to increase the rate at which your liver breaks down alcohol and also reduces the amount of GABA in our brain.
Without getting too scientific – GABA is one of our main excitatory neurotransmitters. Essentially it activates neurones all over our nervous system.
Alcohol naturally dampens GABA as well and after a night of drinking our GABA levels are reduced. However once we sober up and the alcohol levels drop, we get a rebound effect where all the suppressed GABA comes back to bite.
This is partly the reason you someones wake up really early after a night of drinking or generally have poor sleep. As well as feeling anxiety and stress the the day after. And also don’t forget the shakes….
All of this is from over excitation and DHM can help act as a barrier to this rebound effect and reduce these typical hangover symptoms.
Therefore we would say that this ingredient is pretty essential to have in your hangover pill of choice and nowadays you can get it in powder, capsule or drink form.
3 – Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is known mainly for its livery detoxifying / indigestion settling properties. You can find it in any health store and the extract is taken easily in capsule form.
Loads of studies have shown how it can improve liver function in patients with liver disease and the reason for this is that its a power anti-oxidant which helps the liver clear up toxins.
More recently its gaining traction as an anti-hangover remedy and is now widely used in most hangover cure pills.
Not many studies have been carried out to see if milk thistle helps hangovers, but if you speak to anyone who has tried milk thistle for hangover, they will almost certainly vouch for it.
Unfortunately in the UK you can only buy milk thistle buy itself and not in combination with other ingredients as its classed as medicinal. However in the USA and Canada this rule does not apply.
Its also important to remember that milk thistle can interact with some medications. So if you’re someone who takes a regular mediation prescribed by your doctor, always check with them first if its OK to have milk thistle in your hangover pill.
4 – B-Vitamins
B-Vitamins are included in most natural hangover pills for good reason. Apart from their well known energy boosting properties, they are also important in helping your liver break down alcohol at a faster rate.
Let me explain…
Our liver is only able to break down a small amount of alcohol at any given time – usually about 1 drink per hour.
When we have more than 1 drink, The alcohol levels build up in our blood stream and thats when we get that all-to-familiar drunk feeling.
The enzymes that break down alcohol in our liver are made from certain B-Vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B6. Thats why hangover cure pills usually have them included.
But its important to look out for the dosage levels. We need high levels of B-Vitamins to to support out liver as best as possible when drinking so theres no point going for a supplement that has a low dose
B-Vitamins are water soluble as well, meaning that you’ll just pee out any excess and it wont build up in your system or cause any damage.
5 – Ibuprofen / Anti inflammatories:
Now this is a controversial ingredient and depends whether you are up for taking something medicinal or not.
But…no one can deny it works. Especially if taken at the right time.
When you get back from a night out and take ibuprofen before you go to sleep it can make a real difference.
Because over night, the harmful toxins produced from drinking causes inflammation in your body which is why you get all the typical hangover symptoms.
By taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen before bed, you dampen the blow and wake up with less of a headache and general body aches.
There are specific hangover pills which contain an anti-inflammatory mixed with other medicines. Or you can opt to buy them separately and add to your hangover cure regimen.
6 – Turmeric
Turmeric is well known for its natural anti-inflammatory properties and if you’re keen on an all-natural alternative to your hangover cure pill, then this is the choice for you.
Again like ginger, this golden spice has been shown time and time again to reduce joint inflammation and pain in clinical trials.
But theres a problem…
You only absorb a tiny amount naturally from your gut. So if you want turmeric in your hangover pill, you have to make sure bioperine is included as well.
Bioperine is essentially black pepper extract and has been shown to increase the absorption of thermic by 2000% when taken together.
7 – N-Acetyl Cysteine
N-Acetyl cysteine or “NAC” is an amino acid that on its own doesn’t do much. Our liver uses it to produce glutathione which is our bodies most potent antioxidant and this is why its a key ingredient in any hangover pill.
Antioxdiants are essential in reducing the symptoms of a hangover and like with all the ingredients listed, its important they are taken before bed to work their magic over night. You can read more about antioxidants and why they are important here.
NAC is so good and such a powerful antioxidant that doctors use it in paracetamol overdose to prevent liver damage.
A quick word of warning…
NAC is known to cause allergic reactions in between 3-8% of people and symptoms range from mild rash to anaphylactic like reactions.
Although its important to note that most of these severe reactions occur in people who have NAC infused into their veins in a hospital setting at very high doses.
Hangover pills typically contain much less than the hospital IV dose so usually it doesn’t cause problems.
8 – L-Theanine
L-Theanine was first extorted from green tea leaves and has been shown to have a calming effect on our brain.
This amino acid can cross the blood-brain barrier directly and exert its “psychoactive” properties without having to be processed by your liver first.
Essentially, very few things pass from our blood into our brain – for good reason. Its an organ protected from toxins we ingest in our diet.
Theanine is one of few that can directly pass through the barrier and this is good news because its known to reduce mental stress and improve cognition – Exactly what you need after a few too many at happy hour.
Most good hangover cure pills have this ingredient included but look out for the dose because you want a supplement that has a good dose.
Is it enough to have these ingredients in a hangover pill?
Its important to also look out for the doses of each ingredient in your hangover cure pills. Theres no point of having any of the ingredients listed above if there isn’t enough of it to have an effect.
Imagine taking a medicine prescribed by your doctor and to pick it up from the pharmacy with a 10th of the dose thats required to do the job. Pointless…
Unfortunately with hangover pill supplements, each manufacturer gets to decide themselves how much of each ingredient they want to put it.
Some add in as many as possible just to show that their supplement is superior to others based on the number of ingredients included.
“Proprietary blends” and why you should avoid them in your choice of hangover pill
You’ll see a lot of Hangover cure pills that show a “proprietary blend” instead of actually showing exactly how much of each ingredient is included in their supplement.
Sometimes they cover up their “proprietary blend” by using phrases like Liver Detox blend to make it sound more catchy.
The reason for this is that the FDA (US food and drug administration) require manufacturers to show a list of each ingredient unless its in a proprietary blend – in which case they don’t have to.
It basically allows manufactures to use a random mix of their ingredients so it works out cheaper for them and essentially sprinkle dust their main ingredients just to say they’ve included them.
The advice from us is – avoid at all cost.
If you someone were to serve you a dish that you’d never seen before and you asked them whats inside it and they answer – don’t worry about it, its our special mix (aka its our proprietary blend).
How would you respond?
The thing with hangovers is that, no one ingredient is going to tackle all areas. When you’re looking for a hangover cure pill, it’s important to identify what symptoms bother you the most and then select a supplement that meets your needs.
There are lots of options on the market and some are definitely better than other, so we hope this article helps you chose whats best for you.
A hangover is caused by damage to many different body systems from antioxidant damage to direct toxic effects on our liver and also dehydration.
So the best hangover pills will need to tackle the issue from many different angles to help you stay as fresh as possible. No single ingredient in a hangover cure pill will do the job.
Remember to look out for these ingredients and always check whats in the hangover pill you’re taking.