LONDON — Did New Year’s Eve leave you nursing a major hangover the next morning? Despite all the “proven” cures people claim to have for a hangover, a new study finds there’s actually no scientific evidence that any of them work!
A review by researchers in London found only low-quality studies and results when examining nearly two dozen different substances claiming to prevent alcohol-induced hangovers. Specifically, a team from King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust looked at studies on 21 supposed hangover cures, including clove extract, red ginseng, Korean pear juice, probiotics, and prescription drugs.
All of these studies used placebo-controlled randomized trials to examine how well these products get rid of a headache and other symptoms due to too much drinking. Although some show statistically significant improvements in the way people feel after drinking, all of the evidence comes from trials scientists call limited and imprecise. In fact, none of the studies examined the same hangover remedy and none with positive results had any level of independent follow-up.
Moreover, eight of the 21 studies only included male participants. They also featured a wide-ranging disparity in the time people drank, the types of alcohol people drank, and whether the participants ate food while drinking.
Plenty of other remedies still need testing
Along with all the home remedies that need more scientific testing to see if they really cure hangovers, researchers say no one has put common painkillers like paracetamol or aspirin through these same placebo-controlled trials.
Study authors say future hangover treatment studies need a universal scale for assessing hangover symptoms. They add these tests should also feature more women since health officials set different alcohol recommendations depending on gender.
“Hangover symptoms can cause significant distress and affect people’s employment and academic performance. Given the continuing speculation in the media as to which hangover remedies work or not, the question around the effectiveness of substances that claim to treat or prevent a hangover appears to be one with considerable public interest,” says lead author Dr. Emmert Roberts in a media release.
“Our study has found that evidence on these hangover remedies is of very low quality and there is a need to provide more rigorous assessment. For now, the surest way of preventing hangover symptoms is to abstain from alcohol or drink in moderation.”
The study is published in the journal Addiction.