Does Gatorade Help A Hangover? (The Science)

Does Gatorade Help A Hangover

It's not easy waking up the morning after a long night of drinking with the dreaded hangover. Have one of your friends or someone on social media ever claimed that Gatorade helps hangovers or Gatorade is good for hangovers? Gatorade is a sports drink that has been around for decades and yet many people don't know about the science of it when it comes to drinking. Here we'll answer the age old question, does Gatorade help a hangover, and the actual science behind it.

What Causes Hangovers?

Everyone knows the consequences of a night of drinking: a splitting headache, nausea, the shakes and all-around misery. Hangovers are caused by a combination of factors. And the severity of your hangover depends on several factors: how much alcohol was consumed, how quickly it was consumed and your size and weight.

In our research we find three main causes of a hangover. A hangover is caused by a combination of acetaldehyde toxicity, dehydration, and inflammation.

1. Acetaldehyde Toxicity: A hangover occurs mostly when you are effectively poisoned by a chemical called acetaldehyde. This substance is formed in your liver as part of the process of breaking down alcohol, and it is harmful to the body. It is around 30 times more toxic than alcohol itself, and if it builds up in the body you will experience a hangover. To makes things worse it causes alcohol glutathione depletion, which is a key amino acid that helps the liver with acetaldehyde.

2. Dehydration: Alcohol-induced dehydration is another major culprit, since it reduces water and leads to headaches, fatigue, and thirst. When you drink alcohol, it lowers the fluids in your body and can make you urinate more frequently. This means that there is less water available for your body to function properly, which leads to an electrolyte imbalance.

3. Inflammation: A 2003 study found that alcohol-induced hangovers are caused by the inflammatory response from the immune system.¹ The combination of dehydration, headaches and all-around sluggishness can be a result of your body's response to the toxic byproducts of alcohol, which are called cytokines.

Cytokines are chemical messengers that alert the immune system when there's an invader like a virus or bacteria in the body. These invaders can also cause inflammation, so when cytokines are released they direct white blood cells to attack the targeted area and trigger symptoms like redness and pain. When you drink too much alcohol, you actually end up with more cytokine activity than normal, which means your immune system is triggered even though there isn't anything to fight off.

You must combat these three factors to have the best chance and most effectively help a hangover.

Does Gatorade Help A Hangover?

Gatorade is one of America's most popular sports drinks. It was created in 1965 by a team of doctors at the University of Florida for the school's football team, the Gators. The drink has since become an integral part of many athletes' routines, but does Gatorade help a hangover? Let's take a look at the science behind this claim and see if it holds any water.

The answer, as you may be expecting, is slightly complex. Many hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration and lost electrolytes, which means that Gatorade will help relieve some of the associated symptoms such as thirst and part of headaches. However, other hangover symptoms are caused by the buildup of acetaldehyde in your system, which is a byproduct of alcohol breakdown in your liver. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headaches. Gatorade cannot cure all of these symptoms—but it can help with some.

The verdict, does Gatorade help with a hangover? Yes, but only in part, it does not help with all the symptoms associated with a hangover. It certainly will help with dehydration and electrolyte loss due to drinking alcohol that has some subtle benefits.

How Does Gatorade Help Hangovers?

Now that you know the answer to does Gatorade help hangover, you may still wonder how.

When drinking alcohol we know we're dehydrated and we know that water is great for rehydration. Research has shown that drinking water alone doesn't help as much as drinking a solution of water and electrolytes does.

Gatorade is made up of water and three electrolytes including sodium, potassium and chloride — that make you feel better because they're replacing electrolytes better than simply drinking straight water.

Downside Of Gatorade For Hangovers

Unfortunately, though, Gatorade is also loaded with sugar (in the form of glucose). This is meant for athletes during prolonged periods of intense exercise when they need to replenish after intense sweating.

Sports drinks like Gatorade provide carbohydrates in the form of sugar, which gives energy back to the athlete as he or she continues to work out. But if you're not exercising to begin with, then the extra carbohydrates in sports drinks are unnecessary and could actually lead to weight gain. Even worse than this possible weight gain is the fact that these sugars can cause an upset stomach and gastrointestinal distress—not exactly what you want when you're looking for Gatorade to help your hangover.

In addition to being high in calories and sugar, Gatorade contains artificial colorings, modified food starch, glycerol ester of rosin, and caramel color which is considered a possible human carcinogen.

Hangover Pedialyte Vs Gatorade

The short answer is: It depends. While both drinks aims to prevent dehydration, they can both help with the dehydrating effects of alcohol contributing to a hangover.

Hangover Pedialyte Vs Gatorade
If you're looking for the drink with the most electrolytes and less carbs, calories and sugar, Pedialyte wins.

Healthier Hydration Than Gatorade And Pediatlye

It's best to look for a healthier hydration product rather than Gatorade and Pedialyte if you want to avoid the unhealthy amounts of sugar and other harmful ingredients. Products like Zaca's chewable electrolyte tablets contain no gmo's, no sugar, low carbs and calories, and no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Two Ingredients Shown To Help Hangovers

The good news is there's homeopathic remedies for hangovers and vitamins to help a hangover. We've found numerous studies to back up two ingredients showing they help hangovers.

Here's two ingredients shown in research to combat hangovers:

1. Dihydromyricetin (DHM) is an extract of Japanese raisin tree fruit that has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was traditionally used to treat alcohol poisoning, as well as to boost liver health.

  • DHM is popular today because it is believed to help overcome the symptoms of hangovers by speeding up the breakdown of alcohol in the body, specifically acetaldehyde. The more efficiently your body breaks acetaldehyde associated with alcohol, the less likely you are to suffer from a hangover and also potentially can be how to get rid of hangover anxiety

  • One South Korean study showed a significant decline in hangover symptoms using Japanese raisin tree.⁴ Supplementing DHM or Japanese raisin tree can help with liver aid, breaking down acetaldehyde, and even display anti-inflammatory properties which all contribute to a hangover.
    2. Prickly Pear, the fruit of a cactus plant opuntia ficus indica, has long been used as a natural Mexican hangover remedy.

    • The prickly pear cactus has often been used to help cure hangovers, and it's been shown in clinical studies to reduce symptoms of a hangover by half.⁵
    • Researchers theorize that prickly pears' effectiveness lies in its unique combination of vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants (vitamins to prevent hangover). These nutrients work together to help replenish what's lost during a night of drinking, while also protecting against further damage from oxidation and inflammation.

      The combination of these two ingredients, Dihydromyricetin (DHM) and Prickly Pear, can give you body sufficient nutrients to combat many of the negative effects of alcohol that cause hangovers.

      Hydration + Liver Aid Chewables

      Zaca versus Gatorade
      Zaca is the first liver aid chewable supplement specifically designed to help your body replenish, rehydrate and recover. Formulated with both Dihydromyricetin (DHM) and Prickly Pear, Zaca encourages the body's natural detoxification process, support liver function, and replacing key nutrients lost when drinking. Eat the delicious tasting berry chewables before bed for maximum performance. Don't regret that last drink, fight back with Zaca and try this Hydration + Liver Aid supplement today!



      1. Effects of alcohol hangover on cytokine production in healthy subjects
      2. The Inflammatory Response to Alcohol Consumption and Its Role in the Pathology of Alcohol Hangover
      3. Semen Hoveniae extract protects against acute alcohol-induced liver injury in mice
      4. A standardized extract of the fruit of Hovenia dulcis alleviated alcohol-induced hangover in healthy subjects
      5. Effect of Opuntia ficus indica on symptoms of the alcohol hangover