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Gel could let you booze WITHOUT the hangover – or risk of serious health dangers


WE tend to accept hangovers as the price we pay for a fun night of inebriation.

A pounding headache, sickness and crippling anxiety are just some of the costs that come morning for the sake of a good time.

A protein gel taken before drinking could prevent and treat alcohol intoxication


A protein gel taken before drinking could prevent and treat alcohol intoxicationCredit: Alamy

Studies show that popular remedies, such as ginseng, Korean pear juice, and prickly pear, don’t do much to ease the pain.

But what if a hangover cure really existed? And what if you could still drink and not risk any of the health dangers associated with booze?

Swiss scientists have found a new gel can drastically reduce the level of alcohol in the blood – of intoxicated mice, that is.

If proven safe and effective in humans, the product could one day be used to tackle the harmful effects of excessive drinking or offer a quick way to sober up.

“It’s healthier not to drink alcohol at all,” Professor Raffaele Mezzenga from the Laboratory of Food & Soft Materials at ETH Zurich, said.

“However, the gel could be of particular interest to people who don’t want to give up alcohol completely but don’t want to put a strain on their bodies and aren’t actively seeking the effects of alcohol,” he added.

The team made the gel from a whey protein called beta-lactoglobulin.

When taken before drinking, the protein works by breaking down booze into acetic acid, rather than the more toxic chemical acetaldehyde, which contributes to the symptoms of a hangover.

Previous studies have found acetaldehyde can increase the risk of cancer by breaking down and damaging DNA within human cells.

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The latest study, published in Nature Nanotechnology, looked at how a group of mice reacted to being given unlimited access to ethanol, the type of alcohol used in drinks, for 10 days. 

The researchers then gave the mice the gel, and their blood alcohol levels fell by just over 55 per cent after four hours. 

This is a much quicker reduction than was observed in another group of intoxicated mice that weren’t given the gel, the expert wrote.

Acetaldehyde levels also drastically declined in the first group after these mice ate the gel.

In another part of the experiment, the team found that mice that both consumed alcohol every day for ten days and ate the gel over the same period had much healthier organs than those that didn’t eat it at all. 


The NHS advises both men and women to not exceed 14 units of booze a week on a regular basis.

You should also be spreading your drinking over three or more days if you regularly have as much as 14 units a week.

For reference, 14 units is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of lower-strength wine.

Here’s a guide on how many units are in your favourite tipple:

  • Single small shot of spirits = 1 unit
  • Small glass of red, white or rosé wine = 1.5 units
  • Bottle of lager, beer or cider = 1.7 units
  • Can of of lager, beer or cider = 2.4 units
  • Pint of lower-strength lager, beer or cider = 2 units
  • Standard glass of red, white or rosé wine = 2.1 units
  • Pint of higher-strength lager, beer or cider = 3 units
  • Large glass of red, white or rosé wine = 3 units

Drinking more than this can increase the risk of a range of deadly illnesses, including fatty liver diseaseheart disease and cancer.

Recent research revealed that booze-dependent teens are at greater risk of experiencing depression and other mental health conditions by the time they’re 24.

Meanwhile, these are 17 signs you’re a functioning alcoholic.

Alcohol consumption is estimated to be responsible for about three million deaths worldwide each year.

The UK recorded 9,641 alcohol-related deaths – accounting for 14.8 per 100,000 people – the highest number on record till that point, according to census data.

Long-term effects of alcohol misuse

Drinking large amounts of alcohol for many years will take its toll on many of the body’s organs and may cause organ damage.

Some of these include:

Source: NHS

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