Let’s face it, alcohol is a part of many of our lives. Whether you drink a little or a lot it can have detrimental effects on your health and productivity.
Hangover supplements are a completely new breed emerging on the market and gaining massive popularity in the last few years.
The reason is, people are realizing that they can effectively reduce hangover symptoms which means you’ll be able to wake up fresher after a night out so that you can function throughout the day.
Why did we choose to review hangover supplements?
The fact is, hangovers don’t get easier with age. As we get older even small amounts of alcohol can leave you feeling rough.
Waking up with a headache, feeling nausea with an inability to focus are not an option in today’s busy world.
Moreover, alcohols negative effects can last a few days after your night out meaning that your weekend drinks can have detrimental effects on your work and training regime.
Fortunately, help is at hand. By using a natural hangover pill, you’ll be able to supply your liver with the raw materials it needs to mitigate the negative effects of alcohol.
Let’s take a look at the need to know facts about hangover supplements and then we’ll walk you through the top five pills on the market.
How do hangover supplements work?
To answer this question, it’s important to understand exactly how alcohol affects your body. When you drink, alcohol levels build up rapidly in your system and your liver is in charge of breaking it down.
However, your liver is only capable of doing this at a certain rate which is typically around one drink per hour.
As a result, you develop a backlog of alcohol and its toxic by-products which cause damage to the cells they come into contact with.
This is known as “oxidative” or “free radical” damage.
Hangover supplements work by increasing the rate at which alcohol is broken down by your liver as well as providing it with natural antioxidants to clear free radicals.
In summary, a top hangover supplement should:
- Increase alcohol metabolism
- Reduce symptoms of nausea
- Improve mental clarity and reduce brain fog
- Increase energy levels
What are the main ingredients to look out for in a hangover supplement?
Every supplement will have its own selection of ingredients at different doses. There are a few that you should look out for to ensure you’re investing in a worthwhile product.
We’ve looked at several of the latest studies and found that certain herbal extracts and vitamins can really make a difference.
N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) – This amino acid is the precursor to glutathione which is known as the body’s most powerful antioxidant.
Ginger extract – Ginger is the most research-backed natural anti-sickness remedy known. For us, this is an essential ingredient as hangovers can often leave you feeling nauseous.
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) – This is the active ingredient extracted from the oriental raisin tree. People have been using it for hundreds of years in the east of the world to reduce hangover symptoms. Research has only recently been able to prove its ability to speed up alcohol breakdown which is key to reducing hangovers.
B-vitamins – Your liver requires B vitamins to produce the enzymes required to break down alcohol so higher doses are required during periods of overindulgence.
Milk thistle – Extensively researched for its liver protecting qualities, milk thistle is a potent antioxidant that can help clear your liver from the toxic by-products of alcohol metabolism.
L -Theanine – Found almost exclusively in green tea, this amino acid is known to increase brain alpha waves which produce a sense of wakeful relaxation.
Turmeric extract – Usually used for its anti-inflammatory properties to alleviate pain, turmeric can be useful for your hangover headache.
Ingredients to avoid
Caffeine – It may seem like the right thing to do, but having a supplement or drink with caffeine in it can make things worse. Hangovers are commonly associated with feelings of anxiety as well as the shakes. In addition, alcohol speeds up your heart rate above your usual resting levels. As a stimulant, caffeine will only worsen these symptoms.
Aspirin / Ibuprofen – These painkillers will reduce your headache, but they also reduce the protective mucus lining of your stomach. As a result, they’re likely to make nausea worse.
Proprietary blends – You’ll see manufacturers hide their formula behind a “proprietary blend” which may be a mix of several ingredients. The problem is, you won’t know exactly how much of each ingredient you’re getting. Manufacturers normally use proprietary blends as it works out cheaper for them to produce their product. Complete transparency is essential when it comes to supplements you are consuming.
How do you take hangover supplements?
Hangover pills are somewhat different from supplements we are used to. The reason is, you don’t take them daily. They are designed to be taken only when you’re drinking.
This is because they are packed with high dose ingredients to provide a potent amount of various antioxidants to dampen the negative effects of alcohol.
It’s also essential that they are taken before your first drink and just after your last drink. This way, the ingredients will be able to work as soon as you’ve started drinking.
Once the hangover has set in, there’s no going back. The damage is already done and only time will heal your discomfort. With hangover supplements, the main aim is prevention.
So with the introductions out the way, let’s get straight into our top picks.
Best 5 Hangover Supplements on the Market
These are the best supplements on the market today to prevent those nasty hangovers.
This gets our top spot because it’s been formulated using the latest research, contains the most amount of proven ingredients and has excellent customer reviews.
AfterDrink ticks all the boxes when it comes to providing an all-round hangover solution in terms of their formula, dosing, and quality.
When it comes to assessing any supplement, the ingredient list is the most crucial component and AfterDrink contains our top natural ingredients in the right amounts.
The inclusion of ginger in combination with DHM and milk thistle ensures it covers both increased alcohol metabolism as well as symptoms of nausea.
B-vitamins, amino acids such as taurine and trace elements work in harmony to regenerate enzymes in your liver to clear alcohols toxic by-products.
They also don’t use a proprietary blend which is really important for us and shows total trust in their formula. It’s also suitable for vegetarians/vegans and they use no artificial excipients.
With top ingredients it’s premium-priced so it may not be for everyone’s budget.
Based on their clean ingredients profile, personal experience, and customer reviews, we recommend AfterDrink as the best hangover supplement on the market. For more information on this product, check out our full AfterDrink review.
#2 Cheers (Formerly Thrive)
Next, we have Cheers hangover supplement. They used to be called Thrive and have recently rebranded. They were seen on the TV series Shark tank looking for investment in their early years but didn’t manage to secure a deal.
Cheers has all the key ingredients that AfterDrink contains. We have only deducted points due to the balance of their formula.
This is because they have quite a high dose of Dihydromyricetin (DHM) at 1200mg which means they’ve had to reduce the number of other ingredients to make sure it all fits in.
Although DHM is a top ingredient, its main function is to increase alcohol breakdown which is only part of the battle against hangovers.
As a result, we feel Cheers is a little top heavy on their dose of DHM.
Its similarly priced to AfterDrink at $35 which is at the upper end of the market. Cheers also misses out on turmeric and theanine in their ingredient list and we think 1200mg of DHM is a bit of an over-kill.
Overall Cheers is a good product and again it ticks all the boxes when it comes to inclusion of the best ingredients. We rank it second place due to the imbalance in dosing.
A relatively new product on the market, Flyby have done a great job producing a product with good ingredients. It also comes in a sample pack as well as a smaller sized (30 capsules) bottle so that you can try before you invest.
It comes 3rd place for us because they use a proprietary blend which really lets this product down. Their main ingredients including DHM are inside the proprietary blend so who knows what you’re getting – it could be 5mg or 500mg of DHM.
We like to see the addition of magnesium in Flyby. Alcohol is known to deplete magnesium stores so it’s always good to replenish where possible.
On top of that, their latest version of the product is suitable for vegetarians. In their first release, however, this was not the case.
They also miss out on ginger in their formula.
It’s similarly priced to AfterDrink and Cheers but uses a proprietary blend and misses out on some key ingredients
Overall a decent product, but they’ve let themselves down with the proprietary blend and we would have liked to see ginger included.
#4 Leslabs Detoxx for Hangovers
Detoxx used to be called Pretoxx and has been around for many years. In fact, it was one of the first hangover supplements on the market.
As a result, it has a solid customer base with thousands of reviews online.
It’s a good product with most of the key ingredients but we don’t think it can compete with the latest more advanced formulas.
That being said, it’s by far the cheapest at around $20 so you still get some value for money.
Detoxx doesn’t include DHM which is a big surprise to us. In addition, they miss out a few key ingredients such as ginger, turmeric and theanine.
Unfortunately, they also use a proprietary blend.
This is a good entry-level product but its ingredient list is a little thin for us. You get good value for money however if you’re serious about beating hangovers, we would advise investing a little more to cover all bases.
A veteran in the game, Drinkwel has also been around since the early days. They hail themselves as the multivitamin for people who drink.
Their product contains more than 30 ingredients and is sold as a hangover product however it’s more geared towards a general liver detox supplement.
It’s different to the other products listed because they advise taking two capsules of Drinkwel on a daily basis and doubling the dose when drinking.
With so many ingredients, Drinkwel includes all the key ingredients in a hangover supplement but at tiny doses.
You can only fit so much into a few capsules. When you include so many ingredients, you take a big hit on the dosage which leaves you with a sub-therapeutic product.
Drinkwel have chosen quantity over quality and use two separate proprietary blends which isn’t ideal.
If you’re looking for a general daily liver supplement then Drinkwel may be a good choice for you. On the other hand, if you’re main focus is to prevent getting a really bad hangover, then Drinkwel falls short of the top products.
Wrapping things up
There you have our top 5 hangover supplements on the market today. Our favorite is AfterDrink because they have a well balanced and clean product which means it covers all bases when it comes to hangover prevention.
Just remember that hangover pills aren’t magic cures. They will help reduce your symptoms to a certain extent but they won’t completely stop a hangover from happening.
You’ll still need to drink plenty of fluid and have a full meal before you go out and then you’re much more likely to see the benefits of your hangover supplement.
Ryan is a former college wrestler and lifelong fitness fanatic. He has run half marathons, done mud runs, placed in body transformation contests, coached wrestling and now coaches girls soccer. Not to mention he has also tried literally hundreds of supplements over the years and has a vast and thorough supplement knowledge. He has written for Muscle & Strength, Testosterone Junkie, The Sport Review and other publications. He is also the editor in chief of this website. Feel free connect with him on his LinkedIn page below.