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Is it possible for a new remedy to avoid a hangover? I conducted an experiment to find out.
Science

Is it possible for a new remedy to avoid a hangover? I conducted an experiment to find out.

I

If you found yourself longing for a wild night out after completing dry January, the start of wet February may have already reminded you of the negative consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.

If this is the case, a recently released product that promises to quickly lower blood alcohol levels, counteract the effects of being drunk, and enable users to avoid the consequences of the previous night may seem like an attractive remedy.

Safety Shot is a new addition to a range of items that claim to speed up the metabolism of alcohol and restore vital nutrients to aid in the body’s recovery. According to CEO Brian John, the key distinction is that their patented beverage is unmatched in its ability to decrease blood alcohol levels.

The product was released in the United States before Christmas and quickly sold out. There are plans for future launches in the UK and other countries later this year. However, is it truly effective? To find out, I graciously poured the contents into a wine glass.

At a birthday celebration, I am able to attend my first gathering. I bring along a few cans and a necessary bottle of wine. Our friend, Ben, seems wary of them. “Why would you want to become sober?” he questions.

I refrain from sharing a story about a night when I was intoxicated and thought there were miniature individuals in my purse. In reality, I had simply turned on my Dictaphone by mistake. Instead, I attempt to persuade him to consider the potential of avoiding a hangover.

The chief operating officer of Safety Shot, David Sandler, claims that the drink’s patented formula not only minimizes the impact of alcohol by aiding the body in processing it more effectively, but also enhances immediate and next-day well-being.

If I could eliminate the effects of alcohol from my body more quickly, it might have a smaller effect on my sleep. It could also enhance my ability to communicate and aid in remembering my words.

Linda Geddes drinking Safety ShotView image in fullscreen

I continue to consume alcohol to the point where I can test the validity of Sandler’s statements. After three courses and seven glasses of wine, I use a breathalyzer which shows a reading of 120mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. This is significantly higher than the legal drink-driving limit in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland of 80mg/100ml blood and is enough to affect speech, decision-making, and physical abilities. I also conduct a reaction speed test, which results in an average time of 365ms. For a sober adult, the average reaction time is 200-250ms.

I open a can of Safety Shot, which has an orange flavor and is overly sweet. It feels like it’s drying out my tongue. Ben doesn’t seem impressed and states, “I still have no desire to be involved.”

I refrain from consuming alcohol and begin testing my breath with a breathalyser every 20 minutes. Eventually, my friends persuade me to place two copper coins in my mouth, as one of them believes it could affect the results of the breathalyser. My compliance with this request indicates that I am still not fully sober – although there is a slight decrease, my blood alcohol level remains around 110mg/ml for the next two hours.

Unfortunately, my attempts to quickly lower my blood alcohol level were unsuccessful. However, I feel very energetic and my reaction time has significantly improved to 276 milliseconds after just one hour. Even Ben has noticed that I seem more lively.

When I walk home at 1am, I don’t feel intoxicated, but I also don’t feel completely sober. My body feels slow even though I am fully awake. I had a restless night of sleep and woke up feeling tired but without a hangover. So, could the Safety Shot have been beneficial?

Dr. Emmert Roberts, a senior clinical lecturer in addiction psychiatry at King’s College London, states that the only ingredient listed on the can with “very minimal evidence” for reducing hangover symptoms is pyridoxine (vitamin B6).

According to Roberts, there is limited scientific research on hangover remedies and their effectiveness. He stated that there is a lack of well-designed studies investigating the claims made by products claiming to prevent or cure hangovers.

Nevertheless, I believe the beverage had an impact on my alertness, so I opt to try it again – this time consuming only half a bottle of wine during dinner.

I have not observed any noticeable change in the rate at which my blood alcohol decreases when I consume the same amount of wine as opposed to taking the Safety Shot. However, after an hour of taking the Safety Shot on a Sunday at 10pm, I feel a strong desire to tidy up my living room, which I follow through on. As a result, I had trouble sleeping that night.

It is possible that the can contains 200mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to about four shots of espresso. There are two additional ingredients, theacrine and methylliberine, that may enhance mental alertness. Another ingredient, huperzine-A, may also improve mental function according to Dr Ashwin Dhanda from the University of Plymouth, who focuses on researching liver disease caused by alcohol. However, without knowing the specific doses of these ingredients, it is difficult to assess their effects accurately.

Other listed ingredients may also potentially aid in breaking down alcohol. According to Dhanda, the manufacturer states that it can lower blood alcohol levels, decrease the absorption of more alcohol, and enhance cognitive function. However, these claims have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and there have been no clinical trials to support them. Therefore, at most, these claims can be viewed as marketing tactics based on the theoretical effects of certain ingredients.

Safety Shot asserts that they are currently conducting a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to examine the effects of consuming alcohol before and after using their product. Their website also acknowledges that individual factors such as genetics, liver health, and habituation can play a role in how quickly alcohol is processed by the body.

After a night of drinking, I will not have another Safety Shot. However, I may be enticed to have one the next morning, particularly if I have household chores to complete.

Source: theguardian.com