Aims: Alcohol-related hangover symptoms: nausea, headache, stress and anxiety cause globally considerable amount of health problems and economic losses. Many of these harmful effects are produced by alcohol and its metabolite, acetaldehyde, which also is a common ingredient in alcohol beverages. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effect of the amino acid L-cysteine on the alcohol/acetaldehyde related aftereffects.
Methods: Voluntary healthy participants were recruited through advertisements. Volunteers had to have experience of hangover and/or headache. The hangover study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled. Nineteen males randomly swallowed placebo and L-cysteine tablets. The alcohol dose was 1.5 g/kg, which was consumed during 3 h.
Results: The primary results based on correlational analysis showed that L-cysteine prevents or alleviates hangover, nausea, headache, stress and anxiety. For hangover, nausea and headache the results were apparent with the L-cysteine dose of 1200 mg and for stress and anxiety already with the dose of 600 mg.
Conclusions: L-cysteine would reduce the need of drinking the next day with no or less hangover symptoms: nausea, headache, stress and anxiety. Altogether, these effects of L-cysteine are unique and seem to have a future in preventing or alleviating these harmful symptoms as well as reducing the risk of alcohol addiction.
© The Author(s) 2020. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.