Several years ago, we were practicing in a group setting with several interesting doctors, psychologists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and other alternative practitioners.  They were sponsoring a fundraiser at a wine-bar for a local charity. They had a silent auction and other things that people could purchase at the event. We were asked if there was anything that we could contribute for the charitable cause.

I pondered for a while and we did offer some of our services for the silent auction, I wanted to do something else that fit with the theme of the bar.  I began to think about what could be done to help minimize the hangovers that may becoming the following morning after a night in a bar. So I created ¨Dr J´s Hangover Helper¨ and sold them for a few dollars to patrons in the busy bar.  I received good feedback from those who tried the product and even made a couple batches for a few people who requested it.

I had forgot about this until the last couple weeks when some stories appeared about a potential new drug that helps cut down on hangovers.  It was reported several places including this story in the Smithsonian Magazine.  The drug is still very early in the testing process, and at this point there is only been mice studies so it remains to be seen if the drug will ever make it to market.

The story reports that the drug works to lower Acetaldehyde levels.  Ethanol is the type of alcohol found in all beer, wine and spirits. The body breaks down ethonol by two steps.  The first step converts Ethanol to Acetaldehyde. Then through a different enzyme, the body breaks down Acetaldehyde to Acetate which the body can get rid of easily.  Unfortunately, the second step in most people is slower than the first, so Acetaldehyde tends to build up when people drink alcohol.

Many of the hangover symptoms are caused by simple dehydration, but much of them are thought to be due to Acetaldehyde building up in the body and crossing into the nervous system.  This new medication works to speed up alcohol breakdown by speeding up Acetaldehyde breakdown.

Until that medication is available, assuming it ever gets through the years more of trials and assuming it does not have too many side effects, there is another option that can help.  And that solution is simple probiotics, specifically Bifidobacterium. I was told this trick by an old time Naturopathic doctor who said he used it with his Irish family at a family reunion.  After learning about it, he gave it to his family, who all liked to drink a lot. They all reported back positive results so he became a believer and would share when teaching classes.

So when I created my Hangover Helper formula, I made sure to include a Bifidobacterium probiotic capsule along with B vitamins that are lost from drinking and liver supporting herbs like Milk thistle and artichoke.  I can´t know which was the most effective part but it did seem like the Bifidobacterium was the difference and most ¨hangover¨ cures do not mention this.

While I am not recommending going out and drinking excessively by any stretch, if you do find yourself going to a wedding or a family reunion or other special occasion where alcohol will be involved, consider giving a try to this little probiotic capsule and see if it makes a difference for you.

As always, before starting any new medicine or supplement, talk to your doctor to make sure it is right for you.  If your doctor is not knowledgeable about nutrition and supplements, consider making an appointment with a Naturopathic Physician who can help determine the best protocol for you.


Jeremiah Stevens

Dr Jeremiah M Stevens is a licensed Naturopathic Physician and co-founder of Consult A For more information or to schedule go to