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Bacon sarnies, chocolate milkshakes, a good old-fashioned fry-up… we all have our own ways of coping with that head-splitting hangover. Soon, however, combatting a hangover might be as easy as popping a pill. Scientists have discovered a way to mimic the liver’s fight against toxins, paving the way for a quick-working, easy-fix hangover pill.
The symptoms of a hangover will be only too familiar to those who've woken up bleary-eyed after a night of debauchery. Headaches, nausea, a dry mouth... it’s the undeniable downside of a night spent partying. These symptoms occur as the liver uses enzymes to break down the previous night’s beverages. Speeding up this breakdown of alcohol could provide a way of soothing a hangover in a matter of minutes.
Now, scientists in the US and China have found a way to quicken the toxic-fighting process. They placed two alcohol-annihilating enzymes – an 'alcohol oxidase' and a 'catalase' – into a tiny polymer capsule just one nanometre thick. Then, they injected the enzyme package into intoxicated mice. Those mice who received the package had around 25 per cent less alcohol in their blood after 90 minutes compared to those who didn't.
According to Prof Yunfeng Lu from the University of California, Los Angeles, this combination of enzymes could one day find its way into a pill suitable for humans. “The pill acts in a way extremely similar to the way your liver does," he says. "With further research, this discovery could be used as a preventative measure or antidote for alcohol intoxication."
But while the pill might cure the headache, it won’t help with that inevitable feeling of embarrassment as the previous night’s events flash before your eyes. The only cure for that is a nice cup of tea and a good lie down.