Like most of us after a night of hard drinking, Vancouver-based Nishal Kumar suffered bad hangovers. And he found the severity of his symptoms worsened as he got older. Often, after consuming three or four alcoholic drinks the evening before, he’d wake up feeling nauseous and would vomit.
Kumar tried a number of suggestions to alleviate the problem — he drank plenty of water before bed in an effort to stave off dehydration and consumed vitamin and mineral supplements to replace any loss from excess drinking.
“But nothing quite solved the problem,” he said.
While Kumar understood that the recommended weekly alcohol consumption in Canada is no more than 14 drinks for men (up to three a day) and nine for women (up to 2 a day), he was at times easily swayed to surpass these guidelines.
So he went in search of a cure.
Kumar, who studied chemistry, biology and geophysics at the University of British Columbia, learned that the body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, a poisonous toxin that causes splitting headaches and nausea the next day. He also discovered claims that dihydromyricetin, a harmless, naturally derived extract of an oriental raisin tree, helps break down acetaldehyde and can prevent or lessen the effects of that dreaded morning-after malaise.
So Kumar purchased dihydromyricetin by the kilogram from a supplement manufacturer, along with ingredients like prickly pear (which naturopaths claim is an anti-inflammatory), milk thistle (said to protect the liver) and N-Acetyl Cysteine (an amino acid precursor that is said to promote healthy liver function). He and fellow UBC science grad Luke Gooding began testing them during alcohol-filled nights out.
After further testing with a group of friends and consultations with professionals in the supplement industry, Kumar and Gooding eventually settled on a formulation that they found best minimized the nausea and brain fog associated with a hangover. They named the product DHM Detox, a natural supplement in the form of a pill, which they released through a crowdfunded campaign in the summer. Two white powder-filled capsules packaged in a single-dose pouch are to be taken while drinking, followed by a few glasses of water before bed and a good night’s sleep to help reduce the effects of a hangover the morning after.
One of the most widely available products in Toronto is PartySmart, created by India-based Himalaya Herbal Supplements. PartySmart contains ingredients such as chicory, date palm and grape extracts, which naturopaths claim help support liver function and speed up the removal of alcohol byproducts from the liver. PartySmart is to be taken “sometime during alcohol consumption.” It is available at Healthy Planet and Nutrition House for about $3.49 per one-pill dose.
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