Let’s Try Another “Hangover Prevention” Supplement! For Science!

Drink Features Thrive hangover cure
Let’s Try Another “Hangover Prevention” Supplement! For Science!

Let’s call this “scientific rigor” just as a courtesy. You don’t try one hangover-proofing potion, note that it does not work, and decide none of them could possibly work on the basis of one experience. That’s not thorough. So when the next guys who clearly didn’t read the review you gave their competitors want to know if you’d like to try their totally different and much more efficacious product, you say sure, hit me.

There are currently a multitude of hangover preventing, curing or otherwise irrelevantizing products flooding the already corpulent Magic Pill industry. I think hangover cures hit the billion-dollar revenue mark about three years ago (these data have not been double-checked but that’s what my consult with Professor Google suggests).

Idiotic move of the week this week was trying “Thrive,” a patented after-boozing supplement that comes in alarmingly bright blue capsules (so one of the ingredients is some kind of serious industrial dye). Its most loudly trumpeted attributes are “it’s patented” and that it apparently was a hit on Shark Tank. But whatever, you can call me a lot of things but I try real hard not to be a snob. So sure.

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Thrive contains several (but not all) B-complex vitamins and vitamin C, which yes, you do lose in precipitous amounts when you drink (or are under physical or psychological stress, or when you are dehydrated). Fine. It contains sodium and potassium (ditto). It contains N-acetyl-cysteine which theoretically aids in softening short-term withdrawal, and mint and ginger which might be there to mitigate the main effect of NAC, which is an upset stomach. It also contains milk thistle extract, a fairly well-accepted herbal remedy for overtaxed livers. None of these is a bad idea; indeed there’s little to no actual hooey involved. But that’s a separate question from whether you can get three sheets to the wind and suffer no consequences. So: off to the laboratory!

We’ve already established that I can technically drink a whole bottle of sparkling wine without becoming incapacitated, and I was not ready to venture into the bottle of honey-habanero moonshine I was sent by a well-intended brand rep a few months ago so I figured the best way to induce probable after-effects would be a mixture of normative wine-with-dinner followed by accidentally drinking a disinhibited amount of a fortified-type spirit (Lillet rosé if you’re playing along at home). I was physically dizzy so I figured that was a good sign. I took the recommended amount of The Other Blue Pill and hit the hay.

Result? I slept terribly, woke up shaky, exhausted, and with a pronouncedly irritated stomach. I will note that I did not have a headache. Whether I otherwise would have will remain eternally shrouded in mystery but let’s be generous and say Thrive prevented me from having a headache from marinating my prefrontal cortex in fine Semillon.

Do I not have a hangover?

No, I do not not have a hangover. If I didn’t have a hangover I could have written that sentence without triple negatives.

Here is my official recommendation to you fine people: There’s no free lunch, pals. Lots of us like a drink. Some of us like a lot of drinks. Good sauce is expensive too so save your ducats for the high-end margarita you’re going to have after work and do not feed the supplement monster any more of your hard-earned salary. You cannot magically prevent hangovers. (In related terrible news, you can’t take a pill for magical weight loss unless your weight problem is for example due to having no thyroid function and the pill is thyroid hormones.) What we know as a hangover is your body’s response to the stresses of having to eliminate a poison. For sure, upping your B and C vitamins and electrolyte minerals is a good idea whether you’re drinking or not; most of us run low on at least one and probably all of those. But if you don’t want a hangover, limit your alcohol consumption. That is pretty much it.

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