Chinese researchers have claimed to have solved one of life’s most asked questions, how to get rid of a hangover. They claim they have found an answer: Sprite. It is believed that some of the worst symptoms of a hangover are not actually caused by the alcohol itself, but by the process of the body trying to break down the alcohol.
After drinking, the body goes through a two stage metabolic process to break down the alcohol. First the liver metabolises the ethanol into acetaldehyde through an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and then it breaks it down into acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). However while acetate is generally considered harmless and even responsible for some of the more beneficial effects of drinking booze, exposure to the more pernicious acetaldehyde actually causes the symptoms of a hangover, including nausea, vomiting and a headache.
Researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou examined how 57 different drinks affected the way the body metabolised alcohol. Analyzing the 57 different drinks, like herbal infusions, teas, and carbonated beverages, they measured their effects on ADH and ALDH and discovered each brew had a different effect.
While some herbal teas slowed down the process, thus prolonging a hangover, the carbonated drink Sprite, was found to actually speed up the recovery. This means that Sprite could ease a hangover because it shortens the body’s exposure to acetaldehyde.
The researchers plan to perform another independent study to ensure their test results can be considered conclusive. The results were published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Food and Function.