Recently we had the opportunity to be interviewed in an article for Fox News Online titled,Concoctions to help with your St. Patrick’s Day hangovers. We just love the opportunity to share our knowledge across all media platforms so as usual we supplied the journalist with the information we thought important.  While the piece does share some good information, we feel that some important details were left on the editing room floor, so we decided to share them with you here today to, yet again, show you just how important it is to read the ingredient list.

The article focused on different types of hangover drinks and evaluated their overall effectiveness. When asked if these beverage would zap away the hangover we were properly quoted as stating, “Can hangover cures zap the anguish away? Probably not, but alleviate the discomfort – yes! The physiological misery from a hangover can absolutely be minimized. The great news is that you probably have every thing you need in your kitchen right now. It is all about removing the inflammation, detoxifying the body and replenishing your micronutrients.” (Note: they only used the italicized red text.)

However, what was not made clear in the article is that we are not advocates of these hangover remedies at all! While we believe that these beverages can work, we also believe that they do a great disservice to who ever is consuming them. They send the message that there are no negative ramifications to drinking to excess. These beverage remedies all work by adding in micronutrients.  However, the act of over consuming alcohol itself is damaging the body in two distinct ways.  In our new book, Rich Food Poor Food, we explain how drinking too much alcohol can inhibit the breakdown of micronutrients by decreasing the digestive enzyme secretion and also damaging the cells that line the stomach and intestines. It can also disable transport of some micronutrients into the blood. So, while these drinks are adding vitamins and minerals back in, the fact that you are drinking to the point of hangover means you are causing damage to the very system with which you need to absorb them.

Ok, so we don’t think that drinking to excess is a good idea.  That shouldn’t surprise you. But, here is the shocking part.  You see, in that same interview after calling the companies the way we do over here at Calton Nutrition when we can’ find all the information we need to certify a particular product a Rich Food, we discovered that the ingredients in one of the hang over drinks we were asked to evaluate had the potential to do a lot more harm than good.  Our investigation of the hang over beverage Mercy left us praying that Fox news got the information we discovered, as to the potential dangers of this beverage, out to the public. But they didn’t, so we are going to do it here.

Mercy me—the ingredients in this drink are merciless.

Not sure why the makers of MERCY opted for this specific formulation. While the micronutrients they chose to add will do as promised and help with a hangover, it’s the other added ingredients that are potentially quite dangerous. The first of these is Sodium benzoate, an additive they mixed in to prevent the growth of microorganisms. However, they obviously overlooked the fact that this is a poor choice when there is a large amount vitamin C in a product.  And they have a lot of vitamin C in this product! In fact, there is 1167% the daily requirement of vitamin C in one can.  In Rich Food, Poor Food, we explain that not only issodium benzoate commonly known to cause allergies and asthma, but much more seriously, the real problem is that when benzoates comes in contact with vitamin C (ascorbic acid), they form a known carcinogen called benzene. Pouring a known carcinogen down your throat to reduce a hangover is simply not smart.  Additionally, disodium EDTA, a preservative for color and flavor, has been added. Disodium EDTA has been shown in studies to deplete the body of… yes you guessed it… vitamin C. It also depletes magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and potassium. It works by chelating (binding) to these vitamins and minerals and prevents their absorption.  Why would you add an ingredient that binds to and removes the same vitamins minerals your body is trying to absorb?  To make matters worse, this beverage bomb also contains crystalline fructose, glucose and maltodextrin—3 forms of sugar! (most likely made from genetically modified corn). Needless to say, we cannot condone this concoction!

So what do we recommend when you tied one on the night before? We suggest you don’t look to hyped products.  Use your common sense and some simple options you most likely already have in your house.

Step 1: Before going to bed rehydrate and replenish.  Drink a large glass of water or sugar free coconut water and take your multivitamin.  A well-formulated multi will have far more of the micronutrients your body needs than any of the aforementioned hangover beverages. If your multivitamin is in a liquid or powdered form all the better (we obviously suggest nutreince)—It will get into your bloodstream fast and start working almost immediately.

Step 2: Wake up and eat eggs.  That’s right!  Choosing the right breakfast can help reduce any hangover that the micronutrients in your multi could not fend off. Everyone has heard that a greasy breakfast of eggs and bacon works and here’s why.  The eggs contain amino acids including cysteine, which may help combat hangover symptoms. This is because the cysteine helps to detoxify the liver, neutralizing the toxin acetaldehyde that has been formed from the alcohol the night before.

Step 3: Get off the couch and get moving. It may not be what you fell like doing, but you will feel better if you get your body moving. As you move, oxygen will be delivered to your cells and this can help to increase the rate of detoxification. Don’t over do it however, or you run a greater risk of dehydration.

Step 4: Repeat Step 1.