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Scientists at Swiss university create gel to ease hangovers

Scientists at Swiss university create gel to ease hangovers
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Eat bananas before downing a few beers. Afterwards, drink water with electrolyte powder before bed and Alka-Seltzer the next morning. Take painkillers. Sweat it out in a sauna. Put your head under the pillow and tell yourself “I’m never drinking again”.

When it comes to hangover preventions and cures, there are many such alchemy-like notions doing the rounds. They are all a bit hit-and-miss, however, prompting researchers at one of Europe’s leading universities to come up with a “hydrogel” they say “could reduce the harmful and intoxicating effects of alcohol”.

Developed at ETH Zurich and tested on mice, the protein-based gel intercepts booze in the body and converts it into “harmless acetic acid”.

Eating bananas before drinking alcohol is a popular hangover cure. Photo: Shutterstock

Not only does the gel promise to stop alcohol from getting into the bloodstream, it “shifts the breakdown of alcohol from the liver to the digestive tract”, according to Raffaele Mezzenga, a professor at the Laboratory of Food & Soft Materials at ETH Zurich.

“In contrast to when alcohol is metabolised in the liver, no harmful acetaldehyde is produced as an intermediate product,” he explained.

The gel led to a 50 per cent blood alcohol reductions in mice, results that have left the team “confident” it will work in humans, though they concede more tests will be needed.

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