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Is this affordable amino acid the miracle cure for hangovers? – New York Post

https://nypost.com/2020/08/21/is-this-affordable-amino-acid-the-miracle-cure-for-hangovers/

Your hair of the dog can take a walk.

Finnish researchers believe they’ve found the magic cure for pesky hangovers: an amino acid called L-cysteine.

Scientists at the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland found that the natural protein-building block, found throughout the human body, can nix ailments such as nausea, headache, stress and anxiety, according to a new study published earlier this week in the scientific journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Experts tested the acid by distributing it, as well as a placebo, to 19 randomly selected men who admitted to having experienced the post-binge-drinking blues before. Neither the scientists administering the trial nor the participants who received the pills knew who received which treatment.

Some men were assigned a 1,200-milligram dose of L-cysteine, while others were given 600 milligrams. The guinea pigs were then tasked with drinking 1.5 grams per kilogram of alcohol over three hours and then told to swallow the pill.

The larger dose helped resolve more heavy-duty issues like nausea and headache, while the smaller dose reduced stress and anxiety, the researchers discovered.

They also said the amino acid can reduce the urge to drink the next day, Bloomberg reported.

L-cysteine is vital to the human body, and “works as a precursor for anti-oxidants and for immune messenger molecules,” Neha Pathak, a doctor in internal medicine and WebMD medical editor, told The Post. “We get it naturally through our diets . . . and it can be found in foods like dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes.”

But you might want to think twice before hitting up your local drug store, where L-cysteine is available in an affordable pill form in the supplements aisle.

L-cysteine
L-cysteineAlamy Stock Photo

“In terms of nutritional supplements, there’s no great data on what doses are appropriate, how it breaks down and what the side effects could be,” Pathak said, citing one study that found L-cysteine has adverse effects on the nervous system. 

Plus, the sample size of the Finnish study was too limited to be reliable. “When you have a study that small you could just randomly have a positive result,” she added.

Another potential issue? The Finnish research team received funding from Catapult Cat Oy, which sells L-cysteine supplements.

Perhaps a better bet for those who went overboard the night before: N-acetylcysteine, which is derived from L-cysteine and is used frequently in hospitals to help treat Tylenol overdoses and liver inflammation. It’s “considered the safer supplement,” Pathak said.

N-acetylcysteine specifically helps the body produce an anti-oxidant called glutathione that’s known to fight cellular damage.

Hangover savant Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall has been a longtime champion of N-acetylcysteine, and wrote about it in his 2018 book “Hungover: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for the Cure.”

Bishop-Stall previously admitted to The Post that he takes about 1,500 milligrams of the amino acid for a hangover, and touted it as a “sort of a magic ingredient.”

The Toronto-based drinker, who has tried hundreds of different hangover treatments, from pricey nutrient IVs to bizarre culinary cures to the classic hair of the dog, preferred to ingest a “high dose” of the morning-after salve along with vitamins B1, B6 and B12, as well as boswellia (frankincense) and milk thistle herbal extracts.

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