Archaeological evidence suggests that humans have been intentionally creating alcoholic beverages as early as 10,000 BC, suggesting that the history of alcohol use, and the inevitable hangover runs parallel to the history of human civilization itself.
Despite the numerous advancements science has brought to civilization, the hangover has continued to be an unavoidable consequence of a fun night of drinking… until now.
Scientists have made significant progress over the last decade in understanding how hangovers work, and have finally identified an effective way to prevent them.
Research conducted on Dihydromyricetin (DHM), has shown is not only effective at preventing hangovers, but can also reduce symptoms of intoxication and reduce alcohol-induced liver damage.
To understand why DHM works so well at preventing hangovers, it is first necessary to explain what scientists have discovered is the real cause of hangovers.
What Really Causes Hangovers, and How Dihydromyricetin Prevents Them
It’s commonly thought that hangovers are caused by dehydration. This is definitely a contributing factor, but as anyone who has drank a few bottles of water before bed and still woke up hungover can attest to, it is far from the only cause.
So what are the main causes of hangovers?
1) Acetaldehyde Toxicity
Recent research suggests that the main cause of hangovers isn’t dehydration, but is actually a toxic metabolite of alcohol known as acetaldehyde. When alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract. From there, it makes it’s way to the liver which works to remove it from the bloodstream by breaking it down into other chemicals.
Acetaldehyde is one of these chemicals, and it has been shown to be 20 – 30 times more toxic than alcohol itself. Many of the symptoms of acetaldehyde toxicity are identical to the most severe hangover symptoms: nausea, pounding headaches, and sensitivity to light and sound.
This knowledge has been exploited by the developers of the anti-alcoholism drug Antabuse, which works by preventing the liver from breaking down acetaldehyde. This causes a near immediate negative reaction to alcohol use, in essence causing a hangover shortly after the first drink is finished.
Dihydromyricetin improves the ability of the liver enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. These enzymes are what the liver uses to clear both alcohol and acetaldehyde from the bloodstream, and DHM makes them work faster. This means that if you take DHM before bed it will cause the liver to clear acetaldehyde from the bloodstream at a faster pace, limiting the damage it causes and the accompanying symptoms of a hangover.
2) GABA and Glutamate Rebound
Though less significant than acetaldehyde toxicity, another contributing cause of hangovers is a rebound in the levels of the neurotransmitters GABA and Glutamate, When alcohol reaches the brain it affects how the brain responds to the neurotransmitters GABA and Glutamate. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning higher levels of it cause a sedating effect. Alcohol causes the brain to act as if higher levels of GABA are present, which causes relaxation, lowered inhibitions, and the slurred words and loss of motor control that are classic symptoms of drunkenness.
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter, meaning higher levels cause brain activity, heart rate, and energy levels to rise. Alcohol has the opposite effect on Glutamate than it does on GABA, causing the brain to act as if there is less Glutamate present. This, combined with its effect on GABA produce its sedative effects.
While you’re drinking, the brain attempts to compensate for the effects of alcohol by releasing less GABA and more Glutamate. This rebound effect is why it is so easy to fall asleep when drunk, but why sleep quality is decreased and you’ll often wake up tired after only 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
This is the same process that occurs when a longtime alcoholic withdraws from alcohol, the difference being that months of daily drinking provides more time for the brain to compensate for the effects of alcohol making the rebound that occurs when quitting far more severe.
This is another hangover cause addressed by Dihydromyricetin, as it blocks alcohol’s ability to influence GABA. When DHM is taken after a long night of drinking, it binds to GABA receptors, preventing alcohol from influencing them. This reduces the rebound effect from GABA that occurs, and in turn, limits the negative symptoms caused by it. So potent is this effect, that researchers believe DHM may have promise as a treatment for the more severe alcohol withdrawal suffered by alcoholics attempting to kick the habit.
It’s well known that alcohol can cause dehydration, and this certainly plays a role in hangovers. What surprises most people is how little water is needed after a night of drinking to prevent dehydration.
A single “standard drink” (a single 12 oz beer or shot of 80 proof liquor) worth of alcohol causes a loss of about 100 ml of urine. In simpler terms, this means that for every 3.5 beers you drink you’ll lose one beer’s worth of fluids in urine. This means that if you have 10 alcoholic drinks over the course of a night, you’ll only require 1 liter of water to prevent dehydration. By taking Dihydromyricetin at night with about 1 liter of water, you can address all three of the main causes of hangovers, and feel much better the next morning.
Have a look at all of the withdrawal symptoms and causes in the chart below:
How to Use Dihydromyricetin
Dihydromyricetin is currently sold online at dhmdepot.com, who recommends taking one to two 300 mg capsules at the end of the night for every three alcoholic drinks consumed.
Because DHM reduces the effect alcohol has on GABA, it can also be taken at the beginning of the night by those who don’t want to become intoxicated but find themselves in social situations where drinking is expected. (Such as a skilled poker player who wants to exploit the drunkenness of other players at cash games.) When used this way, the recommended dosage is two 300 mg capsules taken before drinking for every three drinks that are expected to be consumed.
So if feeling better after a night of fun sounds good, read more about Dihydromyricetin and let us know how it goes below!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. All opinions expressed in this article are just opinions and consult your doctor before partaking in the use of DHM and alcohol. Cheers.
1) A list of studies providing evidence of DHM’s effectiveness can be found at http://www.dhmdepot.com/pages/research