Cysteine for Hangover Prevention
Most of us, at one time or another, have knocked back a few too many drinks and paid for it the next day. It's easy to do when you're having a good time and not really paying attention to how many drinks you've actually had. There are a few things you can do to help you feel much better the morning after.
Being a bit of a lush every now and then, it's safe to say that I've had my fair share of the "oh man, this day is gonna suck big time" or " I'm never going to drink this much again."
Enter Cysteine. Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that we humans can synthesize it. Citing from Wikipedia, "It directly counteracts the poisonous effects of acetaldehyde , which is the major by-product of alcohol metabolism and is responsible for most of the harmful effects of drinking. Cysteine supports the next step in metabolism, which produces the relatively harmless acetic acid . In a rat study, test animals received a LD50 dose of acetaldehyde (the amount which normally kills half of all animals). Those which received cysteine had an 80% survival rate; when thiamine was added, all animals survived. The actual effectiveness of consuming cysteine as part of a hangover remedy is unclear.
Cysteine is also found in eggs. If you search the internet for hangover cures, you will come across eggs as a source for hangover cure and prevention. So, if you are gonna eat something the morning after or the night of drinking why not make it eggs!
After doing a little research of my own, I went to the local health food store and picked up a bottle of NAC or N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC is produced in living organisms from the amino acid cysteine). You are supposed to take one capsule every hour while drinking (I was taking a product made by the Jarrow Co. which was 600 mg per tablet).
I tried out the NAC a week ago when I went out with some friends. I figured that the libations would be abused a bit more than normal this particular night. I ordered a beer around 4:30 and some nachos so that I wasn't drinking on a empty stomach and took my first NAC 600 mg supplement at the same time. We continued bar hopping until about 11:00 and decided to call it a night at that point. I grabbed a cab and headed home. I felt pretty darn good, like I wasn't going to have a hangover in the morning. I definitely should have felt bad the next morning but miraculously did not. I took one 600mg NAC supplement every 1.5 hours and a b complex vitamin before bed that night and that was it.
I talked to my friends who had been out with me that night and they both had horrible hangovers. We ate and drank the same things that night only I was the one who came out the next day feeling normal. Maybe there is something to this. I will surely try this preventative measure again someday.
I highly recommend consulting a physician and doing your own research before taking any supplements. There is not a lot of research out there on NAC so if you do use it, use it wisely. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
- What is N-Acetyl-Cysteine?
Everything you'd like to know about NAC
- Are you ready for flu and cold season?
More about N-acetylcysteine
Bottle of N-A-C
How to cure a hangover
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