For some, drinking alcohol can be a lot of fun…until of course, your hangovers far outweigh the few hours of the buzz. These hangovers get particularly atrocious the older we get, as alcohol affects the aging body more aggressively than it does someone who is just beginning their drinking careers. Headaches, nausea, fatigue, and depression are a few of the side effects that can turn your one night of fun into several days of regret.
For years, companies have been trying their darndest to put hangover cures in front of heavy drinkers, and we’ve seen pills packed with vitamins and caffeine disguised as the latest cure for a hangover, lining the shelves of drug stores. So far, none have really proven to be 100% effective, which is why one Canadian professor decided to dedicate a decade researching a cure for the classic hangover. In order to effectively execute his study, Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall had to, of course, get drunk, and he did so in 14 different countries on his mission to find the perfect remedy.
The 44-year-old, who is 50% British and 50% Canadian, didn’t hold back from trying every remedy out there, including a freezing cold polar bear swim, an intravenous drip, and a variety of different herbal concoctions from around the world.
Dedicated to his research, he recorded everything he drank on various nights out and the severity of his hangover the following day. Adding one of the many hangover remedies to the mix, Bishop-Stall would drink the exact same amount and type of alcohol on another night, with the addition of one of the many hangover remedies.
The former bar owner found success in the likely city of Las Vegas, where the movie, The Hangover, was filmed. After trying a variety of things like eels and pickled sheep eyes, and a cigarette dissolved in coffee, he decided that a saline IV drip was the best cure for the effects of a hangover. Along the way, Bishop-Stall recruited his friends for help, and one event included a St. Patrick’s Day party with 12 guests and six handles of Irish whiskey.
The experiment didn’t come without, of course, a near-death experience. One night, he got beyond wasted and wandered off in a desert in Arizona. As to be expected, he had a severe case of heat stroke and dehydration, to the point that he almost died.
His most wild night was in Berlin, where he got so drunk that he lost his passport, and ended up having to stay in the country for an extra week without any money. Luckily, he ended up finding his passport at hotel reception.
In his research, he found that the cure for a hangover comes from a cocktail of ingredients, one of which is 1,500 milligrams of N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an amino acid that helps the body produce a powerful antioxidant, called glutathione. It is used in hospitals as a toxicity cure for Tylenol overdoses. The other ingredients he recommends adding to this are vitamins B1, B6, and B12, which increase the effectiveness of NAC. He also recommends adding frankincense for its anti-inflammatory properties and milk thistle, which is an herb that has glutathione.
Bishop-Stall shared that this cocktail of a cure is more geared toward a chronic alcoholic with liver damage, versus a casual drinker suffering from a hangover.
“Milk thistle and NAC may help with alcohol-related problems, such as liver inflammation and damage, but he the liver does not cause a hangover, dehydration does,” said Bishop-Stall, who believes that hangovers should not be a punishment for a night of debauchery, but instead treated as a common condition that needs to be cured.
Overall, he admitted that the excess alcohol took a major toll on both his body and mind…
“I was getting ill a lot and my blood pressure went up a lot. My liver enzymes were also through the roof. A lot of health issues arose. Pretty much every facet of my health did take a real hit during those years. I gained weight, had problems with my circulatory system.”
When all is said it done, it’s hard to say if it was really worth it…maybe the only cure for a hangover is to not drink.