A new anti-hangover supplement, marketed by the Swedish brand Myrkl, has gone on sale in the UK.
Said to be the “effective pre-drinking pill,” Merkel claims the supplement can break down up to 70 percent of alcohol after one hour.
This means that if someone drinks 50ml of 40 percent spirits, which contains 20ml of pure alcohol, 6ml of alcohol enters the bloodstream – equivalent if the person drinks only 15ml of spirits.
Manufacturers say the pill fights a hangover by activating bacteria (Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus coagulans), an amino acid (L-cysteine) and vitamin B12 in the gut, to break down alcohol into water and carbon dioxide before it reaches. liver;
The supplement is currently available online and costs £30 (about €35) for 30 pills. There are two types of tablets in the product: one designed to be taken 12 hours before drinking and the other one hour before you start drinking.
Researchers from the manufacturer of Myrkl, the drug company De Faire Medical as well as the Pfützner Science and Health Institute in Mainz, published a paper last month that showed that taking the tablets before drinking reduces the concentration of alcohol in the body by half, within just 30 minutes of taking it. Drink.
Is it too good to be true?
However, although these pills bring hopes for a definitive end to weekends ravaged by nausea, headaches, and remorse – many doubt their efficacy.
“As the evidence shows, there are no products that can prevent or treat hangovers,” Sally Adams, associate professor in the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology, told Euronews.next.
Adams highlights that the science behind hangovers is comprehensive with many factors involved, making finding a “hangover cure” particularly difficult.
“When we think of a hangover, it’s easy to think that it’s simply caused by severe dehydration,” she said.
“It’s dryness; a headache; balance or imbalance of electrolytes; Irritation of the stomach and small intestine – these are processes that are too complex for a single product to be able to deliver.”
“We also don’t know much about binge drinking: There are tens of thousands of papers on what happens when you are drunk from alcohol, but research into hangovers is very limited.”
Joris Verster, principal investigator in the Department of Pharmacology at Utrecht University and founder of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group, said there is little scientific evidence that this product is effective against alcohol hangover.
Via email, Verster explained that it was “never investigated in this context” and that the paper presented by Myrkl “regards only acute effects observed immediately after drinking one glass of vodka.”
‘Lots of ethical questions’
This product not only raises questions about its legality – Adams notes that it also raises “a lot of ethical questions.”
“If it is marketed as a product that breaks down alcohol faster, it may be used by people who want to drive after drinking,” she warns.
“Also, the way it should be taken is interesting – 12 hours before you drink and another one hour before. That requires some really careful planning, which you don’t always have when you go out to drink – sometimes it’s automatic.”
Adams also raises the issue of removing this supplement as an important signal that can be used to assess early signs of alcohol abuse.
“We always talk about a hangover being completely trivial — it’s fun to talk about — but it’s very serious, and it can be a good sign for someone who has a drinking problem too,” she said.
Can it cause an increase in excessive drinking and alcoholism?
Others have raised concerns that this new supplement could encourage binge drinking.
Martin Preston, founder and CEO of private rehab clinic Delamere, warned that “it can lead to people taking this pill as an excuse to drink without suffering the consequences the morning after.”
Nobody likes this feeling [of being hungover] But that’s your body’s reaction to consuming more alcohol than it can tolerate,” Preston said.
“The fact that this pill is now so accessible means that we can easily see an increase in binge drinking with people using this pill as an excuse to consume more, which can be very detrimental to people’s health and well-being.”
“Using this pill as an excuse to drink more can lead to problems like insomnia which can lead to tiredness and fatigue, reducing your quality of life day in and day out,” he added.
“In more serious cases, it can lead to liver disease or even brain damage.”
“The pill is designed for moderate drinkers who may go for a few drinks and don’t want to feel like it at work the next day for example. However, this can lead to an increase in alcohol consumption throughout the week and lead to moderate drinking consumption. Much “.
Preston also argues that this product can cause alcohol dependence by allowing people to mask symptoms of alcoholism and avoid getting help before their addiction becomes fatal.
Alcohol addiction can become more prevalent as the body will begin to adapt to drinking in larger amounts due to the regular use of pills. People who do not have an alcohol hangover the next day may be encouraged to drink again that day which may eventually lead to alcoholism.
In a statement emailed to Euronews Next, Myrkl CEO Håkan Magnusson said the pill “is not designed to mitigate the impact of excess consumption, and consumers should not use Myrkl as an excuse to consume more alcohol.”
“If you want to go out and get drunk, Myrkl will make it more difficult, and it will cost you a lot. The purpose of Merkel is to help those who drink alcohol regularly wake up looking their best the next day.”
The issue of alcoholism and excessive alcohol consumption and its treatment is complex and multifaceted. Thanks to Myrkl, the brand has recognized the importance of drinking responsibly — and has pledged 5 percent of profits to a wide range of charities that combat the harmful effects of alcoholism.