Researchers at Myrkl, a Swedish pharmaceutical company, have developed a new “anti-hangover pill”, that can break alcohol before reaching the liver and reduce its short-term effects, such as facial flushing, nausea, headache and euphoria during a hangover. People can take these pills the day before consuming alcohol to prevent post-consumption effects.
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How does Myrkl work?
The probiotic pill has two gut-friendly bacteria, Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis. They are extracted from fermented rice bran. The other components include Vitamin B12, calcium phosphate, magnesium salts, fatty acids, etc. The bacteria breaks alcohol into carbon dioxide and water, whereas other components form a capsule over pills to protect them from hydrochloric acid (the stomach’s natural acid). They help pills reach the intestine, where maximum alcohol is metabolized and absorbed in the blood.
A hangover occurs due to dehydrating effects of alcohol which causes headaches. Further, alcohol’s direct effects on the stomach can cause peptic ulcers and nausea. The probability of being dehydrated reduces if less alcohol is consumed. However, the pills work when alcohol has reached the intestine passing the stomach. This means they are not effective on the stomach.
How effective is Myrkl?
Researchers experimented to find the effectiveness of Myrkl. They asked 24 young adults to take either two placebo pills or Myrkl pills for seven days. Placebo pills are dummy pills that are inert and do not contain active drug components. Further, they were given small quantities of alcohol based on their weights. The team found that the levels of alcohol were 70% lower in people who consumed Myrkl pills compared to subjects to chose dummy pills after 1 hour of alcohol consumption.
The problems with the study results
Though the experiment was well-designed, the results had several faults. Firstly, researchers reported outcomes of only 14 people out of 24 as 10 had low alcohol levels in the blood before the experiment. Secondly, results varied with different subjects which raised questions about the study’s accuracy. Thirdly, they gave pills to subjects and tested them for seven days before a single alcohol shot, but the company suggests taking two pills 1 to 12 hours before alcohol consumption.
Further, the study does not answer some questions, such as does the pill work only on young people? Is it effective in people with liver diseases? Does the pill work differently in men and women?
However, the overall outcome can be that if an individual takes Myrkl for seven days while avoiding alcohol each day, and then have two to three medium alcohol shots, he might feel the effect of 1 to 2 medium drinks. The effect may not increase if he drinks more than 3 shots and takes a single pill that day.
Positive changes in lifestyle such as quitting smoking, less or moderate alcohol consumption, and dietary changes can increase the efficiency of Myrkl pills.
The original article was published in “The Conversation.”
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