There’s nothing wrong with the occasional night when someone in a group of friends can’t seem to stop ordering the next round. But whether it’s a chilled G&T or frothy pints, the morning after is usually not so much fun. However, new research suggests that a probiotic pill could see you enjoy drinks without the unwanted souvenir in the form of a hangover.
A new animal study, published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum, suggests that taking a probiotic pill before a night out could help prevent a hangover and stave off alcohol’s lasting effects.
The engineered supplement, which was tested on mice, might also stop you from getting as drunk.
The promising pill is packed with good gut bacteria, similar to the type you can find in products like Yakult.
The researchers explained that the genetically-engineered probiotic can express the enzyme dehydrogenase in mice.
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It regulates how the body converts alcohol into a substance called acetaldehyde, which describes a byproduct that gets released when you drink alcohol.
This pesky byproduct causes feelings of a hangover by accumulating in the liver, triggering associated problems like headaches and nausea.
Previous research on mice has suggested that a specific type of the enzyme, known as ADH1B, can speed up the breakdown of alcohol internally. But it hasn’t yet been shown to be safe in humans.
The researchers opted for a safer method and used the probiotic lactococcus lactis – a bacteria often used in fermentation – and cloned ADH1B into it.
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They then decided to put it into a test on the groups of five mice, with each cohort being exposed to different levels of alcohol.
Mice who didn’t take the new invention showed signs of drunkenness just 20 minutes after exposure to alcohol.
Once these mice were also placed on their backs, they were unable to get back on their feet.
However, half of the animal models that were given the probiotic were able to turn themselves an hour after alcohol exposure.
What’s more, a quarter never lost their ability to turn themselves back.
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Further tests also suggested that blood alcohol levels in the control group continued to rise two hours after exposure, but the levels in the probiotic group had begun to fall.
Furthermore, the mice on probiotics also showed lower levels of different types of fat in their livers, meaning that the pill could also possibly alleviate alcohol-related damage to the cone-shaped organ.
However, the new creation also contains an enzyme proven to break down alcohol in your body.
The mice study also revealed that animals that took the probiotic absorbed less alcohol.
Despite the pill yet to be trialled on humans, the researchers are now hoping it could lead to a new miracle hangover cure.
The team thinks that if the probiotic offers the same benefit for humans, it could present a new way to reduce alcohol-induced health problems and liver problems.
Meng Dong, a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, who worked on the study, said: “We believe that genetically engineered probiotics will provide new ideas for the treatment of liver diseases.
“We are excited about the improvement of recombinant probiotics in acute alcohol-induced liver and intestinal damage.”
The hangover cure is now to be tested on humans.
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