A pill that will go on sale in the UK on Monday offers the prospect that many drinkers have long dreamed of: being able to have a few drinks without suffering the after-effects of a hangover the next day.
Sold at £1 ($1.21) per tablet, the makers of Myrkl claim that if you take two tablets at least an hour before drinking, it will result in “up to 70% alcohol”. [being] breaks down after 60 minutes”, and is the “first product in history to effectively break down alcohol”.
Swedish company De Faire Medical invented the pills in 1990 and has been doing further research on them since then, according to the website.
The pills contain a “scientific formulation” of bacteria, L-cysteine (an amino acid found in tuna and oatmeal), and vitamin B12 (found in meat, eggs, and milk, among other sources) .
Although scientists don’t fully understand why drinking large amounts of alcohol leads to headaches and nausea the next day, they do have a good idea of the chemical pathways that contribute to hangovers. As your liver breaks down the ethanol in your beer, it turns into acetaldehyde before being more slowly converted into acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is between 10 and 30 times more toxic than alcohol and causes symptoms such as sweating, flushing of the skin, nausea and vomiting.
Other theories include alcohol triggering an immune response, as some studies have found correlations between levels of immune signaling molecules called cytokines and symptoms of a hangover, or stunted growth of the metabolic system due to a accumulation of by-products. Alcohol is also a diuretic, which means you’re probably very dehydrated the day after heavy drinking, which will only exacerbate all of these symptoms.
The makers of Myrkl say the pill fights the onset of hangovers by activating its bacteria (Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus coagulans), L-cysteine and B12 in the intestine, before the alcohol reaches the liver. They then work together to break down the alcohol into water and carbon dioxide, with minimal production of acetaldehyde or acetic acid.
“This is the first time in history that a consumer product has been shown to effectively and quickly break down alcohol, we are very pleased to launch this game-changing product in the UK and most European markets. said Håkan Magnusson, CEO of De Faire. Medical, said in a statement, quoted by the British newspaper Telegraph.
“So Myrkl’s goal is to help those regular moderate drinkers wake up feeling great the next day, whether they’re busy professionals, young parents, or seniors who want to maintain an active social life,” he said. -he declares.
“Independent clinical trials prove just how powerful this product is in breaking down alcohol,” he added.
The two species of bacteria included in the Myrkl pill are probiotic bacteria considered healthy for digestion. B. coagulans is found naturally in kimchi and yogurt, and although some researchers have genetically modified B. subtilis to break down acetaldehyde, there is no evidence that Myrkl contains a GMO version of the bacteria.
L-cysteine is sometimes touted as a cure for hangovers, but there is no solid evidence that this is true. Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, a New York-based dietitian, told Verywell Health, “After reviewing the limited research, I wouldn’t bet on L-cysteine being the winning hangover cure we’ve all been hoping for.”
A clinical study of Myrkl pills was published in the journal Nutritional and Metabolic Informationwhich involved a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study with 24 subjects.
While the study found that the participants’ blood alcohol levels were significantly reduced by 70%, the subjects consumed only 0.3 g of alcohol per kg of body weight, which, according to the authors, did not lead to any relevant measurable blood alcohol concentration in 10 cases (42%). Moreover, this 70% reduction only occurred after one week of supplementation, and the study involved a very small sample of 24 people, further reduced to 14 by low alcohol consumption.
The study was funded by De Faire Medical AB (DFM), the makers and inventors of Myrkl. Newsweek has contacted DFM for comment.