What is a Hangover?
The aftermath of drinking too much alcohol is not something anyone looks forward to. Typically, this looks like a collection of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms, including a headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, extreme thirst, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. This group of symptoms is known as a hangover.
Although the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has not assigned any ICD-10 code to hangovers, the severity of symptoms due to this “condition” has plagued humanity for 10,000 years.1
What is the Science behind a Hangover?
Believe it or not, hangovers are backed by scientific evidence! In 1972, researchers Williams and Salamy discovered that alcohol can cause you to wake up frequently in the second half of the sleep period (the phase where your body systems should become slowest as your muscles relax).2
The scholars called this sleep disruption the “rebound effect.” The idea is that when you consume alcohol and go to bed, your body works hard to adjust to the effects of alcohol during the first half of sleep, but even after the alcohol has been eliminated, your body continues to adjust leading to overcompensation and increased wake periods in the second half of sleep.
Scientists have concluded that this rebound effect (having trouble sleeping), along with a host of other symptoms associated with hangovers, such as nausea, headaches, and anxiety, is connected to a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and acetaldehyde buildup in the body.
GABA and Its Effect on Hangovers
GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that helps us to get really good deep sleep. GABA works by binding to a receptor in your brain and firing neurons that activate good sleep.
Here’s the thing: alcohol can pretend to be GABA. Alcohol can also bind to that same GABA receptor. And what happens when alcohol is bound to the GABA receptor? GABA is left in the dark and gets metabolized by the body and converted into glutamate, a compound that excites the reticular activating system of your brain, which leads to wakefulness.3
Acetaldehyde Buildup and Its Effect on Hangovers
There’s also the issue of acetaldehyde buildup in the body which can lead to hangover symptoms. Acetaldehyde is a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes acetaldehyde as a carcinogen known to cause people to feel down right crummy.4
What is the Solution to Hangovers?
Hangover remedies date back to nearly 1,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine. Even today in Asia, these remedies still occupy several shelves in stores (Figure 2).
Fortunately, nature has provided a solution that dismantles the effects of glutamate and acetaldehyde buildup during hangovers. Dihydromycin (DHM) has been clinically proven to counteract both the mental and toxic effects of Alcohol.5,6
DHM is just one part of the four-pronged approach through which our Sunday Hangover Helper kit uses to prevent or ease your pain.
What are the Ingredients in Our Sunday Mornings Hero Kit?
DHM is a flavonoid that comes from the Japanese raisin tree extract or Rattan tree (Figure 3), which has the Latin name Hovenia dulcis, and Chinese name Zhǐ Jǔ Zǐ.
Hovenia dulcis is listed among the premier anti-hangover herbal medicines in China's first pharmacopoeia, the Tang Materia Medica (Su, 659). Hovenia extracts can help to reduce alcohol-induced liver injuries.7 These extracts can also relieve your symptoms during hangovers, partly by promoting the elimination of ethanol (EtOH) by increasing alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity.8,9
One study showed that DHM can also reduce the GABA rebound effect.10 The researchers of this study published this statement:
In summary, we determined DHM anti-alcoholic effects on animal models and determined a major molecular target and cellular mechanism of DHM for counteracting alcohol intoxication and dependence. We demonstrated pharmacological properties of DHM consistent with those expected to underlie successful medical treatment of AUDs (Alcohol Use Disorders); therefore DHM is a therapeutic candidate.
More recent studies have shown that DHM has many other beneficial properties such as protection of the cardiac system, nervous system, liver, and skin, and anti-diabetes and anti-tumor effects.11
DHM has also been effective as a treatment for bacterial infection, osteoporosis, asthma, kidney injury, nephrotoxicity, and other conditions.12,13
We took all the beneficial effects of DHM seriously when we created our revolutionary Sunday Mornings Hangover Helper!
AKA our Sunday Mornings Hero kit, our novel Hangover Helper contains an optimal DHM dose and is compounded and packaged in the USA.
Here are the other ingredients in our Sunday Mornings Hero kit:
II. Water-soluble vitamins:
The B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C and some electrolytes are especially vulnerable and are destroyed by alcohol. This is why Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is so important when alcohol is frequently consumed.14 These vitamins are essential for your physical and mental well-being. Our kit includes Sulbutiamine (brand name: Arcalion), which is derived from thiamine (vitamin B1). As a dimer of two modified thiamine molecules, it is a lipophilic compound that crosses the blood-brain barrier more readily than thiamine and increases the levels of thiamine in the brain.15 This means that when you consume this product, you will gain your strength faster and more effectively.
Our kit includes an electrolyte balance recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for re-hydration therapy! This formula has a lot less sugar than energy and sports drinks. In fact, studies show that rehydration by oral rehydration solution (ORS) is as effective as intravenous fluid therapy16 and a lot less costly and painful too. After all, who wants to be stuck with a needle after being hungover anyway?
Lets get nerdy:
IV. Caffeine and Willow bark extract
Caffeine and White Willow Bark Extract can help to soothe the headaches you get from a hangover. Willow Bark is Nature’s Aspirin.17 . The kit contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Caffeine is also a natural diuretic that can flush your body’s toxins after re-hydrating.18
- Our 9,000-Year Love Affair with Booze. Magazine. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/02/alcohol-discovery-addiction-booze-human-culture/. Published January 17, 2017. Accessed January 23, 2020.
- Williams H, Salamy A. Alcohol and sleep. In: The Biology of Alcoholism. Springer; 1972:435-483.
- Alcohol, Sleep, and Why You Might Re-think that Nightcap | Mind Read | Learn Science at Scitable. https://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/mind-read/alcohol_sleep_and_why_you/. Accessed January 23, 2020.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol Metabolism: An Update. Natl Inst Alcohol Abuse Alcohol Publ Distrib Cent Rockv MD. 2007;72:1-6.
- Li H, Yu F, Sun X, Xu L, Miu J, Xiao P. Dihydromyricetin ameliorates memory impairment induced by acute sleep deprivation. Eur J Pharmacol. 2019;853:220-228.
- Shen Y, Lindemeyer AK, Gonzalez C, et al. Dihydromyricetin as a novel anti-alcohol intoxication medication. J Neurosci. 2012;32(1):390-401.
- Du J, He D, Sun L-N, et al. Semen Hoveniae extract protects against acute alcohol-induced liver injury in mice. Pharm Biol. 2010;48(8):953-958.
- Kim M-H, Chung Y-T, Lee J-H, et al. Hepatic detoxification activity and reduction of serum alcohol concentration of Hovenia dulcis THUNB from Korea and China. Korean J Med Crop Sci. 2000;8(3):225-233.
- Chen S, Zhong G, Li A, Li S, Wu L. Influence of Hovenia dulcis on alcohol concentration in blood and activity of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) of animals after drinking. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi Zhongguo Zhongyao Zazhi China J Chin Mater Medica. 2006;31(13):1094-1096.
- Liang J, Shen Y, Shao XM, et al. Dihydromyricetin prevents fetal alcohol exposure-induced behavioral and physiological deficits: the roles of GABAA receptors in adolescence. Neurochem Res. 2014;39(6):1147-1161.
- Zhang J, Chen Y, Luo H, et al. Recent Update on the Pharmacological Effects and Mechanisms of Dihydromyricetin. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:1204. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.01204
- Li H, Li Q, Liu Z, et al. The versatile effects of dihydromyricetin in health. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017.
- Hyun TK, Eom SH, Yu CY, Roitsch T. Hovenia dulcis–an Asian traditional herb. Planta Med. 2010;76(10):943-949.
- Health NRC (US) C on D and. Water-Soluble Vitamins. National Academies Press (US); 1989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218756/. Accessed January 23, 2020.
- Van Reeth O. Pharmacologic and therapeutic features of sulbutiamine. Drugs Today Barc Spain 1998. 1999;35(3):187-192. doi:10.1358/dot.19126.96.36.1993848
- Samadi A, Islam R, Huq M. Replacement of intravenous therapy by oral rehydration solution in a large treatment centre for diarrhoea with dehydration. Bull World Health Organ. 1998;76(4):319.
- Shara M, Stohs SJ. Efficacy and Safety of White Willow Bark (Salix alba) Extracts. Phytother Res PTR. 2015;29(8):1112-1116. doi:10.1002/ptr.5377
- Alstadhaug KB, Andreou A. Caffeine and primary (migraine) headaches-friend or foe? Front Neurol. 2019;10:1275.