W.The tendency to think of hangovers as the price of alcohol: a little welfare borrowed from the future for a good time, at the cost of morning confirmation. Studies show that the most commonly used treatments – ginseng, Korean pear juice, prickly pear, clove extract – do not work, which seems fair.
But what if a hangover treatment really exists? What happens if you drink too much and avoid the consequences? How does this affect your evening plans?
Myrkl – a probiotic treatment developed by the Swedish company De Faire Medical – is called the first working hangover mill. Articles reporting its onset have been described as “hangover prevention mills” and “scientifically supported hangover treatments”.
The company’s promotional material is a bit more cautious. This refers to Myrkl (pronounced “miracle”, not “Merkel”) as a “pre-drinking” mill. In a press release, the CEO says its purpose is to help “regular moderate drinkers feel better the next day.”
The mill contains a proprietary supplement to metabolize carbon dioxide and alcohol in the intestinal tract and reduce the amount of alcohol absorbed by the blood and prevent organ damage. The company claims that the mill breaks down “70% alcohol consumed within 60 minutes”. A double-blind study conducted by De Faire with 24 participants concluded that using mills for a week actually “significantly reduced alcohol excretion in the blood.”
The publicity inspired by the company’s claim means that Myrkl, which costs £ 30 for 30 mills, sold out before launching in the UK this week. But I managed to get a packet myself and armed with a load of alcohol put the mill to the test.
The recommended dose of Myrkl is two capsules, taken between one and 12 hours before alcohol consumption. Each capsule is filled with powdered beige stuff – rice bran filled with probiotic culture and vitamin B12. I take my first dose two hours before going out.
It is difficult to measure exactly how much alcohol a person consumes at a dinner party. I measure my intake by how much fun I have. On this occasion, I am concerned that I have shown too much restraint for the purpose of the experiment, so I drink another large glass of wine as soon as I enter. I’m sorry if you heard me playing the piano at 11.30am. I really can’t play the piano.
I wake up the next day in a state of panic: I have a headache, my throat hurts and I feel like I’ve just fallen asleep. I am so surprised that for a few hours I am convinced that I have covid. How many Covid tests have been wasted in the last two years with the same feeling of rejection?
By the afternoon, I feel fine, but on the strength of these initial findings I am compelled to consider the possibility that I am immune from Myrkl.
Alcoholism is easy to define – it’s just a measure of the amount of alcohol in your blood – but hangovers are much harder to define. Depending on the situation, genetics and other factors known and unknown, morning-after symptoms vary widely in their nature and severity.
“There have been millions of studies on alcohol, drugs and consumption, but research on hangovers is still in its infancy,” says Dr Sally Adams, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Birmingham. “We don’t really know all the plants that contribute to the hangover.”
Adams, who covers alcohol hangovers in his areas of expert interest, has been able to provide at least one definition: “The range of psychological and physical symptoms experienced after an episode of alcohol consumption … it was before that it was. Drinking too much ‘, but little. Alcohol can also cause symptoms in some people. “
It can be hard to know when a hangover will end, but it does begin, officially, when your blood alcohol level reaches zero. Adams says, “Anything before that is still technically addictive.
Because it is so difficult to define, it is also difficult to measure a hangover. “Research has not been able to establish a biomarker of any kind of hangover,” says Adams (who did not use the previous article). “So, the most important thing is to self-report measures: tell me on a scale of one to 10 how hungry you are, or to what extent you have symptoms – everything from anxiety to vomiting. That’s the best kind we’ve got.” A commonly used questionnaire asks subjects to assess 19 symptoms, including thirst, fatigue, irritability, depression, sweating, and sleep disturbances.
Adams has read a study in which Myrkl bases its claim. He lacked this in one important context: the word “hangover” does not appear once. “It’s a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which is all the right things we want to be in this type of test,” she says. “But I don’t know how they can claim that the hangover has affected the mill when it’s not measured.”
The answer is: they don’t, absolutely. The study found that subjects who took the capsule for seven days before drinking any alcohol had a “significant reduction in blood alcohol absorption” compared to those given a placebo. The idea is that you get less hunger, because eventually you get less alcohol.
I take two more capsules at four in the afternoon. I’m sitting, so it’s possible to measure my evening intake with precision: a bottle of beer, followed by a bottle of wine. I know from long experience that under normal circumstances this is more than enough to produce a hangover (and I’ll have to re-watch that night’s episode of the TV series I’m halfway through).
I wake up feeling strangely good – no headaches, no sore throats, no more stomach cramps. I suffer from a vague sense of foreshadowing, as if the loan I have neglected to pay is taking interest somewhere. But I don’t know if it’s a hangover or not. And I don’t know why the mill made me feel that way.
If the mill heals the hangover, it will be the first. “There’s no concrete evidence, no concrete evidence, that anything you can take before or after drinking works,” says Adams. “I’d like to see more data, but I’m skeptical.”
Adams extended the limits of the Myrkl-funded study: 10 out of 24 participants were excluded from the results because the amount of alcohol taken for the test “does not lead to measurable relevant alcohol concentrations in the blood”. Subjects were given 0.3 grams of alcohol for each kilogram of their body weight. For a person weighing 60kg (9st 6lb), that is 2.25 units. “Most UK beers are much stronger than a two unit pint, so that’s not even a pint,” says Adams. In other words, it is an addiction to a level not commonly associated with hangovers.
The third day
For hardness, I keep the dosage the same – a beer, a bottle of wine – although I drink them hour by hour and take them between pills. I don’t want the last glass, but it’s science.
Once again, waking up the next morning makes me feel oddly fine – no headaches, no stomach problems – although I can’t help but see at 5.26am. Over the course of the day, I experience many symptoms from the hangover checklist – lack of concentration, fatigue, irritability, restlessness – but these are the things that I also associate with an uncertain early onset.
Myrkl’s publicity takes pains to link its product to responsible social drinks, emphasizing “not designed as an excuse to drink outside of NHS guidelines”. The company’s press release quoted Dr. Don Harper of the TV show Embracing Buddies. “If you want to go out and drink alcohol, Myrkl means it takes you a lot of time and costs you a lot,” she says. “Where I see Myrkl being relevant is for the large number of moderate drinkers in the UK.”
But if a mill can eliminate hangovers, won’t it remove the main ban on excessive consumption of alcohol – the consequences? Isn’t a hangover based on moderate social alcoholism? “Research suggests that is not the case,” says Adams. “People go, they drink, they have horrible hangovers – and they keep repeating this behavior. It’s not a good preventative.”
However, it is easy to see the danger in the mill which claims to prevent you from getting drunk as usual. “Another thing that worries me is that people can use it to drive under the influence of alcohol,” says Adams. None of the subjects in the study, not even in the placebo group, had blood alcohol levels anywhere near the legal driving limit.
The fourth day
I drink a bottle of wine, but not beer, because I’m out of beer. It’s still too much for Sunday night; I am waiting for a few days off. I don’t know if I’ve missed two hangovers because of Myrkl, but I have a feeling that even if the mills do me no harm, they do me no good.
Even the worst symptoms of a normal hangover – dehydration, poor sleep, poor stomach – do not fully portray the destruction going on inside you. “Some drugs have certain receptors that they bind to the brain, but alcohol will interact with literally every neurotransmitter in your brain,” says Adams. “When you’re in a hangover, your brain is trying to get back to some sort of balance. The next day, all your neurotransmitters are trying to get back to normal. And that’s really the effort in your brain. That’s why people experience terrible anxiety, called ‘hangover’.” .
Last morning, to my surprise, I felt so much better: curious, light-hearted and full of a completely foreign feeling of upper hand ownership. This can be confusing, but it seems like a miracle, especially since I forgot to take the pills the day before. I’m afraid I can describe the results of my experiment as hopelessly indecisive.
I may not have a hangover, but I do worry about drinking at levels that require regular treatment for effects. Even the Myrkl-funded study begins with a few paragraphs about the dangers of alcohol. “Social drinking is generally accepted, alcohol abuse is a serious medical and social problem,” its authors write. “Approximately 3.3 million people worldwide die each year from alcohol abuse, about 5% of all deaths.” As much as you think about it, there is a large population of moderate drinkers in the UK – following the NHS guidelines of 14 units per week – which makes it hard to believe that the सबैभन्दा 1 hangover mills have the most responsible uses in mind. .
Last morning, despite feeling good chipper, I admit to Adams that I’m a little uncomfortable about using it with hangover treatments. I wonder if this could be an alcohol-induced anxiety. “It’s the worst thing for me,” she says. “This is exactly what stopped me from drinking: I became very anxious the next day. This research made me stop drinking anymore.”