I will wholeheartedly admit I’m not good with a hangover, in fact any sign of nausea and a headache renders me completely useless for at least 12 hours. A hair-of-the-dog meal is the choice of many when waking up following a night of excessive drinking – I for one swear by spicy mi goreng and a diet coke – but it turns out you can skip the greasy meal entirely for a small supplement. Praise science!
New research out of Finland has suggested taking L-Cysteine supplements could be the answer to the dreaded hangover. According to the study which was published in the Oxford Academic Journal of Alcohol and Alcoholism, people who took an L-Cysteine supplement after three hours of drinking alcohol reported lower levels of nausea, headaches and anxiety the next morning than those who took a placebo.
While it is a legitimate study, it of course has it downsides. It was only done with a small group of people, 19 men, and was funded by a Finnish cat food company, Catapult Cat, which sells L-Cysteine supplements. Nevertheless, other research has backed that the antidote could be effective.
Ultimately, a hangover which causes a myriad of symptoms is your body’s response to trying to get rid of an excess of acetaldehyde. When your body metabolises alcohol, it creates the toxic byproduct acetaldehyde and while your liver normally neutralises this substance using water and carbon dioxide, binge drinking means your liver struggles to keep up with producing the enzymes needed. This build up causes a hangover.
There are no known side effects of L-Cysteine, but the supplement could decrease the potency of certain drugs. There are still some unknowns so proceed with caution and speak to a doctor before experimenting with the supplement.