ATLANTA -- A study published in the September 2013 issue of health and nutrition journal Food & Function names Sprite, The Coca-Cola Co.'s noncaffeinated lemon-lime soda, as the best cure for a hangover, according to a CBS News report.
The authors point out that when the liver processes alcohol (also known as ethanol) it creates several chemical byproducts. One is called acetaldehyde, which causes the feelings of a hangover. Acetaldehyde eventually turns into acetate, which does not cause hangover symptoms and can provide some benefits like extra energy.
The researchers focused on how to stop acetaldehyde from lingering in the body for too long. They believed that if they manipulated alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), an enzyme that turns ethanol into acetaldehyde, and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH, which turns acetaldehyde into acetate), they could shorten the time it took acetaldehyde to turn into acetate, essentially cutting the time the person was hungover.
The researchers tested 57 beverages including Huo ma ren (a hemp-seed based beverage), various teas and different carbonated drinks.
They observed that herbal teas slowed down the process; however, Sprite and soda water sped up ALDH activity, which would theoretically curb the hangover.
Edzard Ernst, a medical expert at the University of Exeter in the U.K., told Chemistry World that the study was intriguing, but cautioned that people shouldn't start stocking up on Sprite if they are going out on the town.
"These results are a reminder that herbal and other supplements can have pharmacological activities that can both harm and benefit our health," Ernst said.