Have you ever experienced a hangover but failed to find a cure? Are you tired of trying hundreds of at-home remedies, only to retain your splitting headache and nausea after a night of drinking? A “hangover” is defined as a group of symptoms experienced after someone has too much to drink. Hangovers are typically experienced the morning after a night of drinking, but they can happen anytime that alcohol leaves your system. While drinking can be a fun, social time, hangovers can be bothersome.
Despite the millions of consumers each year that suffer greatly from hangovers, there is a startling lack of functional products that can effectively get rid of the worst symptoms of a hangover. The good news is that hangovers are typically not a cause for serious health concern; they function mainly as painful and irritating symptoms. There's no need to go to the doctor for a hangover, unless it lasts an unusual amount of time.
Still, though, hangovers can be awful. They pull us away from our daily lives and ruin some of the fun associated with drinking. Over the past couple hundred years, cultures and people all over the world have come up with various home remedies for curing the common hangover. But with the explosion of the supplement and alternative health industries in the past decade, new companies have come to offer their own near-medicinal solutions to the headaches, nausea, and debilitating symptoms associated with the hangover.
Which of these new treatments are worth the money? Do they actually work? Our guide will provide consumers with everything they need to know about hangovers, including a ranking of the best hangover treatments in 2023 and a frequently asked questions section.
Top 10 Best Liver Health Supplements for Hangovers
The ten supplements included below represent our picks for some of the best supplements for treating hangovers currently on the market. Readers should note that this list is not ordered, and it is certainly not definitive. Hangovers are tricky, and curing them involves a number of variables. Consumers should make their own decisions on which products work for them based on their needs and priorities.
Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier
The Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier is described as a non-GMO electrolyte drink mix. It incorporates Cellular Transport Technology (CTT™) so that the mixture is delivered immediately to the bloodstream. As previously mentioned, excessive alcohol consumption leads to the excretion of liquids, which in turn leads to the loss of essential vitamins and minerals. This beverage is said to fight anything from dizziness, and muscle cramps, to headaches and unclear thinking (caused by dehydration of course) with five essential vitamins.
Price: $24.47 (16-pack)
DHM Depot’s Dihydromyricetin
DHM Depot claims its Dihydromyricetin supplement prevents hangovers, aids one in sobering up quickly, protects the liver and limits the possibility of alcohol withdrawal. Evidently, the only ingredient used is dihydromyricetin and the reason as per the team is because of its safeness and lack of side effects.
Price: $17.95 (30 capsules)
Flyby’s Recovery Capsules
According to Flyby, Recovery was designed with a number of goals in mind. For starters, there’s protecting one’s liver function, helping to stimulate detoxification of the body and ensuring that lost vitamins are restored. The key ingredients used include prickly pear (targets the body’s metabolic response with its natural source of tocopherols), B vitamins and taurine (induces mental clarity and focus), dihydromyricetin (supports liver’s role of detoxification), NAC (replenishes an antioxidant that supports against oxidative stress) and milk thistle (for a healthy liver).
As for the supplement itself, it is made in the US, it is vegan and can be taken 15 minutes prior to drinking. The latter can be viewed as a precautionary step to potentially lessen the effects of excessive drinking.
Price: $19.99 (30 capsules)
Blowfish for Hangovers
Blowfish for Hangovers is a morning-after relief. It is described as having the ability to do the trick within roughly 15 minutes. Made in tablet form, Blowfish has taken a different approach in handling hangovers. The first ingredient used is caffeine, which Blowfish believes helps in easing hangover systems. Next, there’s water, which obviously is needed to boost hydration levels. Finally, aspirin was used because it carries anti-inflammatory properties. All of these ingredients are delivered to one’s bloodstream through an effervescent delivery method.
Price: $15.00 (20 tablets)
Purple Tree Hangover Prevention Natural Multivitamin Capsules
Similar to the goals placed by Flyby, Purple Tree’s Hangover Prevention Natural Multivitamin aims to deliver to one’s liver function while ensuring the body is not exposed to inflammation. Additionally, its intent is to boost the liver’s ability to metabolize alcohol.
Some of the common ingredients among the two include dihydromyricetin, B vitamins and NAC (or N-Acetyl L-Cysteine). A unique ingredient used is white willow bark. This could have been because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Price: $11.95 (30 pills)
FlyBy Hang Zero Wake Up Refreshed
Deemed a solution created by PhDs and MDs, the Hang Zero formula includes vitamins B and C, electrolytes, milk thistle, prickly pear, NAC, taurine, dihydromyricetin, and many others. Based solely on the ingredients, it is clear that FlyBy Hang Zero was formulated to not only support the liver function, but also to possibly maximize hydration levels, and protect one’s stomach among others. Made in capsules form, consumers have been advised to ingest it before or right after having consumed alcohol. Hang Zero products are described as being non-GMO, allergen-free, gluten-free and free from preservatives.
$11.99 (30 capsules)
Cheers’ Morning-After Alcohol Recovery
Similar to Flyby’s approach, the key ingredients used to help with hangover symptoms include prickly pear, milk thistle, NAC, vitamins B and dihydromyricetin. What makes Cheers unique is their inclusion of L-Cysteine (helps break down acetaldehyde formed in the process of metabolizing alcohol and works alongside NAC) and ginger (chosen for its anti-inflammatory properties).
Price: $35 (36 capsules)
Key Nutrients’ Electrolyte Recovery Plus
Key Nutrients’ Electrolyte Recovery Plus aims to replenish lost nutrients while ensuring that consumers remain hydrated at all costs. This drink contains six essential electrolytes, which are magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, and chloride. In addition, 12 vitamins were combined to support one’s lifestyle and performance level. Anyone looking for a solution that assists muscle contraction, nerve function, and cardiac muscle support, while looking to fight tiredness and headaches could consider Key Nutrients.
Price: $29.94 (90 servings)
Himalaya’s PartySmart is morning-after support for those who have been partying it up the night before. Interestingly, most recommended dosages entail three capsules, but with PartySmart, one supposedly suffices. Why? This could be because of the use of chicory (aids in digestion, supports the liver and contains inulin, a type of pre-biotic), Andrographis (aids with intestinal gas, stomach pain and targets liver conditions), grape and date palm extracts (aims to improve liver function and support it from chemical stressors).
Price: $20.95 (10 capsules)
Toniiq Ease’s Ultra-High Strength Hangover Cure Pills
Ease created its Ultra-High Strength hangover cure pills with the intent of replenishing the body with nutrients that are typically lost with alcohol consumption and to ensure that one’s liver function is boosted. The chosen ingredients were kept to a minimal, as their focus was placed on dihydromyricetin, milk thistle, and Reishi. Reishi is a type of mushroom known for its adaptogenic properties. Hence, the decision to include this ingredient could have been solely due to its ability to support the mind and the body’s stress response system.
Price: 17.97 (120 pills)
These supplements should be effective at helping to improve liver function and getting users back to normal following the perils of a night of drinking and the hangover that so often and unfortunately follows.
A strong liver function implies better performance in metabolizing alcohol and ridding the body of its contents. Selecting products with electrolytes delivery ensures that it contains essential nutrients while keeping the body hydrated. The two combined fights smaller symptoms such as lack of focus, dizziness, and headaches to name a few. Finally, nothing is possible without appropriate ingredients. Even if the liver’s role is to metabolize alcohol, there’s a small flaw in the process that creates a toxic compound, and to fight that the right ingredient is needed!
Typical symptoms associated with excessive drinking include increased tiredness, dehydration, irritability, better sleep, stomach aches, headaches, and increased sweating among others. These are just some of many potential symptoms of a hangover. Because hangovers and alcohol reactions vary heavy from user to user there may be symptoms in your hangover that other alcohol users don't have.
Nevertheless, this section will outline some of the most common symptoms of the hangover and their biological causes.
As for the reasons behind some of these symptoms, let’s start with dehydration. Based on the claims made by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the consumption of alcohol leads to a limit on the release of a hormone called vasopressin. Produced in the brain, this hormone’s role is to alert the kidney to retain fluid when needed. However, said communication minimizes and the body releases a lot of the water it has stored. This does not only lead to dehydration, but also headaches, tiredness and even increased thirst.
In the aforementioned list of symptoms, a “positive” symptom was snuck in there: “better sleep”. Wouldn’t it be nice to have restful sleep every night? Does it mean alcohol should be consumed daily? No! Though hangovers can cause you to sleep more, there's a catch. Sleep as a result of a hangover may be more plentiful, but it's often lower quality than regular sleep. This would explain why you might fall asleep after a night of drinking and sleep for ten hours, but still feel terrible and restless when you wake.
A sleep study conducted in 1991 looked closely at the effects alcohol has on quality of sleep. After having administered alcohol to their subjects 30 to 60 minutes prior to bedtime, they found that people experienced increased wake periods, typically referred to as the “rebound effect”. With the rebound effect, the body changes according to the experience that comes with changes caused by alcohol. In this case, the body fights to upkeep normal sleep patterns but eventually fails to do so. Essentially, the key takeaway here is that users sleep during hangovers, but the quality of this sleep is questionable.
When alcohol enters the body, it supposedly takes a hit at one’s stomach lining, leading to increased acid release. Anything from nausea and stomach aches can be felt because of this unfortunate process resulting from consumption of too much alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol also increases inflammation in the body, and this is deemed one of the main reasons why consumers might feel sick and weak after a night of hard liqueur.
It’s bad enough that alcohol presence inflames the human body, but metabolizing it can apparently be nearly just as bad. As you already know, the liver is in charge of metabolizing alcohol. But during the liver's work to metabolize alcohol, a toxic compound called acetaldehyde is gradually synthesized. This compound alone can negatively impact the liver, pancreas, and brain, as well as a number of additional parts of the body.
What Counts as an Alcohol Hangover?
It's natural to wonder what counts or constitutes an alcohol hangover. The symptoms of a hangover can vary widely, so it's tough to get a good grasp on when you're experiencing a hangover, and when it could be something more serious. Based on the findings of the 8th Alcohol Hangover Research Group meeting of 2016, an alcohol hangover commences when a consumer’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) returns to zero from some higher percentage.
That said, the deciding factors of the severity of a hangover include a number of other components besides the rate at which one’s BAC returns to zero. For instance, it has been argued that gender, age, and ethnicity can all be factors in the potential severity of a hangover after drinking. In addition, it has been suggested that low sensitivity to alcohol might lead to fighting against hangovers. This, believe it or not, could drive a consumer into drinking more.
From the looks of it, the enjoyment that arises from drinking is extremely short-lived, at least in comparison to the pain suffered afterward. What’s worse is that the pain can linger anywhere within the first 24 hours of experiencing it or longer.
The section below will offer a bit of hope to consumers, especially those who regularly suffer from hangovers. We've done the research to synthesize a number of important studies and takeaways to help readers understand what science has to say about hangover prevention and cures.
Hangover Cures and Science
Research in the field of hangover limitation and cure is severely limited. This is due to a number of factors. The main reason is that hangovers simply aren't continued, sustained health issues, and they very rarely cause anything more than discomfort and pain. In particular, there supposedly lacks animal research, genetic research, and properly validated instruments to obtain hangover-focused data. However, a few organizations have worked tirelessly to explore this problem which, although it might not be deadly or a serious health condition, affects consumers globally in an unprecedented scope.
Below are some of the main treatment options researched in the medical field in regards to hangovers.
According to the 2016 proceeding of the 8th Alcohol Hangover Research Group Meeting, one possible cure for hangovers could include probiotics. The reason for including probiotics rests in its ability to reduce gut-related inflammation and its inclusion in a number of liver disease studies.
Probiotics function by introducing healthy bacteria to the gut to promote a better, healthier environment in this important area of the body. Some research might show that probiotics could help to regulate and minimize the nausea associated with many hangovers.
Natural Active Ingredients
Another possible solution entails the inclusion of natural active ingredients. A number of experiments conducted by Amir Barzilay (from Vital Beverages) found that natural active ingredients had a positive effect on a number of common hangover symptoms, including lack of concentration, headaches, nausea, exhaustion and motor functions.
Choice of Alcoholic Beverage
According to Swift and Davidson, hangovers can be prevented from the get-go if the right type of alcohol is chosen. To be more specific, alcoholic beverages that contain fewer congeners, like gin, vodka, and ethanol, are supposedly less likely to induce hangovers compared to high levels of congeners (i.e. brandy, whiskey, and red wine). For those who don’t know, congeners are biologically active chemicals produced in the fermentation or aging process. Hence, if the goal is to simply enjoy a drink without experiencing any level of hangovers, emphasizing light or clear alcohols over darker ones is ideal.
But be warned: too much of any alcohol can induce a hangover. Regardless of the type of alcohol you drink during a night, the morning will be rough if you over-indulge.
Mixed Fruits and Vegetable Juices
As per a study conducted by Min-Ju Kim et al. (2018), mixed fruits and vegetable juices may help eliminate alcohol toxicity and hangover symptoms by increasing the presence of enzymes essential in the alcohol metabolizing process. This finding was a result that arose out of a crossover trial study, in which 15 healthy adults were administered angelica keiskei/green grape/pear juice (AGP). Factors including increased thirst and headaches supposedly reduced for those who drank AGP juice than for the control group.
Oats and Other Rich Sources of Carbohydrates
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , oats contain a number of minerals (i.e. sodium, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, etc.) and B vitamins (vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, etc.). It could be of interest to consider oats as a hangover cure simply because it replenishes the body of nutrients that end up leaving the body due to alcohol consumption. Other foods with similar nutrients include bananas, avocados, and leafy greens.
Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen could be of interest simply because they may have the potential to ease headaches and muscle soreness . That said, such medications should be used with caution, especially when one experiences abdominal pain, as they are described as being gastric irritants and in turn,, can induce alcohol-based gastritis. Also, certain medications may introduce increased toxicity in the liver during alcohol metabolization.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hangovers
Hangovers are incredibly complicated. Even their status as an ailment is confusing and subject to debate, and consumers who get hangovers might have symptoms and problems that other users just don't experience. Because of these factors, it is only natural for readers to have a number of questions about hangovers, as well as the supplements trying to cure them. This section will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about hangovers and hangover supplements.
Q: What BAC causes a hangover?
A: Again, a lot of factors go into determining what ‘tipsy' and ‘drunk' mean for consumers. We could have a consumer who has a lot of experience with alcohol and one who is new. In addition, a number of additional factors contribute to the BAC required to cause a hangover; issues like weight, gender, ethnicity, and more can complicate any realistic estimate. With that in mind, normally a BAC of anywhere between 0.10 and 0.15 percent is considered heavily drunk, therefore one can expect to experience a hangover once the BAC drops to 0.
Q: Can more alcohol help a hangover?
A: There have been many debates regarding this. The argument here is that drinking alcohol can help raise BAC a little and one will no longer experience hangovers. However, regardless of the quantity consumed, BAC has to go back to zero at some point, therefore some form of a hangover will be witnessed. Other studies have concluded that retorting to alcohol can increase endorphins, leaving one in a pleasant mood. This is expected to mask the already-felt symptoms of a hangover. On the whole, this approach isn’t recommended, especially because the benefits are temporary and the risk of alcoholism is significant.
Q: Should hangover cures be taken with alcohol?
A: Whether it is effective or not depends on the brand of choice and their respective formulas. For instance, there could be a formula that requires consumers to add hangover cure supplements to their existing alcoholic beverages, while other formulas that suggest taking said supplements either before consuming alcohol or sometime after the last drink.
Q: Are greasy foods a hangover cure?
A: Many consumers believe that consuming greasy food is the best hangover cure there could be. Believe it or not, this is nothing more than a myth. By the time one wakes up with a hangover, most of the alcohol will have already been digested. This means the feelings one has, i.e. cravings for junk, is nothing but false hunger. More specifically, by the time one wakes up, their hydration and blood sugar levels would have significantly dropped. The best way to fight a hangover is not greasy food, but healthy carb, fatty, and nutrient-rich food. This is simply to replenish what was excreted from the body.
Q: Does sleeping help the hangover go away?
A: Tiredness introduced by alcohol consume is surely to push one to sleep away their hangover. However, this is not the best way to handle hangovers. The only way for alcohol to leave the body is if consumers rehydrate their body, and this is done by drinking lots of water. Again, drinking water helps eliminate most of the symptoms experienced!
Q: Does age impact hangover severity?
A: One common assumption consumers have is that as they age, they can no longer tolerate alcohol. Apparently, research shows that tolerance doesn’t directly correlate with age, but more with the aging body. As one ages, the presence of muscle mass decreases. Due to this decrease, blood alcohol levels increase at faster rates without having to drink as much.
Q: Should OTC hangover medications be taken before bed?
A: OTC drugs take time to be felt, so it is believed that taking them prior to going to bed would likely do very little when you wake up. Therefore, the logical way to fight hangovers is by taking OTC drugs upon waking up. That said, certain anti-inflammatories do the opposite, and actually force toxicity to increase in the liver. Therefore, consumers should take caution in the type of medication used.
Q: Will coffee help boost my energy levels after a night of excessive drinking?
A: Although one might have the urge to increase their caffeine intake after a night of drinking, this is something that has been advised against. The primary reason for this rests in the fact that the body has already been depleted of its water. Since caffeine is a type of diuretic, consumers might feel even more dehydrated. If the urge to ingest caffeine arises, it is best to keep it to a minimal.
Q:Does smoking tobacco have a negative impact on hangover symptoms?
A: According to existing research, smoking tobacco increases the odds of witnessing hangover sensitivity and severity, therefore, consumers are advised against doing so. Things could worsen given one’s history of drinking, frequency of drinks consumed, and gender. Overall, consumers should avoid smoking tobacco if they want to mitigate their hangover symptoms.
Q: Does the type of alcohol influence hangover severity?
A: Although some studies suggest that drinks with lower congeners (clear alcohols) are less likely to result in hangovers compared to their higher counterparts (dark alcohols), any type of alcohol can cause a hangover if it is consumed in excessive amounts. There are other factors that need to be considered as well, including whether or not food was consumed prior to drinks, how many drinks were consumed, and how much the alcohols were mixed.
Liver Supplements: What They Do and When Do Consumers Need Them?
The liver is incredibly important to any discussion of drinking and hangovers. An effective liver works to rid the body of the alcohol users consume, helping them to recover quicker from their hangover and survive that night of drinking with friends.
A number of liver supplements claim to help make the liver more effective, and some even claim to help the liver avoid certain conditions as we age. This guide will run users through some of the most important aspect of liver supplements.
The liver is used to detoxify the body as the digestive system filters through nutrients. In a healthy organ, toxins are converted into harmless substances, or they are purged from the body. In a perfect world, there would be no issues in the liver, but diet and genetics often play a role in how effective this organ is. Anyone with a healthy liver that doesn’t flood their body with alcohol and other toxic substances will find that the liver is capable of cleansing itself. At this point, there has yet to be any evidence that the liver needs to have impurities flushed from it with any assistance.
However, deposits of fat sometimes end up in the liver and cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This condition impacts over 100 million people, and many people suffer incredibly mild symptoms. However, if left untreated, this condition can lead to major complications. Some circumstances are even fatal. Glutathione is important to liver health, as it is an enzyme that is found in every single cell in the body. However, it is most predominantly found in the liver, defending the liver against disease, and boosting the immune system. Experts state that the average individual should have about 250 mg of glutathione daily, but the reality is that most people only get about 35 mg.
Until recently, oral supplementation of this enzyme was not generally recommended, due to concerns over how the body would absorb it. However, liposomal glutathione is generally the best formula to beat this issue.
Signs of Liver Dysfunction
- Pain and discomfort below the rib cage on the right side of the body
- Digestive difficulty with fatty foods
- The presence of dark liver spots or rashes
- Dark circles beneath the eyes
- Skin dryness
- Weight gain that isn’t associated with eating too much
- Abdominal fat
- Cravings for sugar, alcohol, and coffee
- Bad breath or a coating on the tongue (white or yellow)
- Mood swings
- Sleep apnea
- Excessive sweating
Consumers that notice that they suffer from multiple symptoms from this list should speak with a medical professional about diagnosis and speak with them about detoxification.
Detox Supplements for the Liver
After all, without this type of monitoring of the industry, it is possible that consumers won’t know what they are putting into their bodies, which puts them at risk for adverse effects. Without substantial human studies on the liver, the medical professionals that advise these consumers primarily focus on making different lifestyle choices that can improve the health of the liver, rather than pushing for the use of liver supplements. Still, there are many benefits to using these formulas.
Even though the FDA does not necessarily recommend these supplements, they still stand to offer a substantial amount of benefits. As mentioned before, the use of liver supplements can help consumers protect their liver from lasting damage, largely due to the use of turmeric. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is known for reducing inflammation in general. However, in a 2016 study involving lab rats, researchers found that it also helped reduce oxidative stress on the organ. Milk thistle offers much of the same support for individuals with alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Though much of the attention on liver supplements has to do with their ability to purge toxins, the use of these supplements can also provide the user with antioxidant benefits, and they could even improve liver fibrosis. Liver fibrosis occurs with long-term inflammation or injury of the liver, due to the buildup of scar tissue. The scar tissue often blocks or limits blood flow, and healthy liver cells are at risk for death. Much like these supplements may help with fibrosis, consumers that take these supplements may also treat hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.
While hepatitis involves inflammation in the liver that can ultimately cause scarring, cirrhosis is the late stage of scarring in the liver. Studies on this matter took the experiences of 20 individuals with hepatitis C into consideration, finding that the participants who failed to see changes with a traditional treatment successfully saw viral suppression with 1400 mg of silymarin.
Despite the many benefits that liver supplements offer, consumers should be aware that there are still many side effects. For example, many users report that they suffer from gastrointestinal issues, especially in formulas that contain milk thistle. Milk thistle is known to cause vomiting, nausea, flatulence, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even headaches. It can also end up causing liver problems, which is exactly the problem that these supplements are meant to fix. Supplements that contain licorice root can also cause issues in the body, triggering high blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
Consumers that want to create a healthy liver can do so without the use of supplements if they eat properly. Some foods that help with the cleansing of the liver include cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage. Natural diuretics like lemons and watercress make it easier to flush out the toxins as well. To avoid irritating the liver, especially in individuals with fatty liver disease, consumers should not have alcohol, foods with added sugar, fried foods, beef, white bread, and undercooked shellfish, among other foods. The best way to promote a healthy liver is to keep a healthy weight, maintain a balanced diet, exercise, and keep up with vaccinations.
At the end of the day, anything involving the consumption of alcohol is incredibly complicated. A number of factors contribute to alcohol tolerance, BAC levels, inebriation, and especially to the mystifying hangover. Hangover symptoms can be debilitating, and a really bad hangover can take all of the fun out of drinking.
Known symptoms of a hangover include nausea, headaches, dehydration, and more. It can be hard to identify when you're experiencing a hangover, so symptoms that last more than one or two days should be reported to your medical physician for a proper examination and diagnosis.
In general, the only way to guarantee that you won't experience a hangover is to avoid drinking alcohol in excessive amounts. Still, it's hard to avoid the occasional night of heavy drinking with the coworkers, friends, or significant other. One way to prevent the worst of hangovers might be to turn to hangover-preventing supplements. A multi-million dollar industry has sprung up around these supplements, which claim to prevent or minimize the worst impacts of a hangover.
Many of these supplements emphasize liver function and overall hydration, two factors that might help to mitigate the worst effects of the hangover on the human body.
But readers should be cautious. Many scams continue to take billions from consumers on the internet in this new market for supplements, and scientists still aren't certain about the precise causes and solutions for supplements. Hopefully, our guide to the top hangover supplements will help you to better understand the nature of this massive problem, as well as the number of potential solutions and mitigating products that exist in the growing wellness market.