Maybe you're trying to get find out how to get rid of a wine hangover from a night of wine and Netflix, or from that weekend drinking that leaves you suffering from a hangover on a Monday.
As you know, a hangover is what happens when you drink too much alcohol and the effects the next day. In fact, the word actually means a headache that follows heavy drinking.
Either way, taking a vitamin B pill is supposed to help ease your hangover symptoms from the day before. So, does vitamin B help with hangovers?
Let’s see what the science has to say. In this article, we look at what Vitamin B is and if it can really be effective at combating hangovers via replenishment, alcohol detox and metabolism.
Hangovers are caused by a combination of factors including dehydration, inflammation from alcohol, electrolyte imbalance, acetaldehyde buildup, vitamin deficiencies and disrupted sleep.
Hangovers include symptoms such as:
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes the production of urine. Your body loses water when you drink alcohol and this can cause dehydration. Dehydration then can cause hangover symptoms like headaches and muscle aches.
Hangovers are can be caused by the inflammatory processes caused by alcohol in your body. The body creates inflammatory chemicals in response to alcohol. Alcohol causes inflammation in the brain and liver by activating inflammatory markers called cytokines.
It is also believed that the toxic byproducts of alcohol (ethanol) metabolism are responsible for hangover symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Ethanol is broken down in the liver into acetaldehyde and then into acetic acid. Acetaldehyde has been shown to cause damage to red blood cells, thus causing headaches and irritability, and increases stomach acids leading to nausea and vomiting.
Some people believe that other ingredients in alcoholic beverages besides ethanol are responsible for hangovers. In addition to ethanol, alcoholic drinks contain congeners and sulfites.
Although we've debunked sulfites causing hangovers, congeners are compounds other than ethanol produced during fermentation and include methanol, histamine, acetone, and tannins. More congeners tend to be present in darker alcoholic beverages such as brandy and whiskey than in lighter ones like vodka or gin.
There are an increasing number of people touting vitamin B as the cure-all for hangovers. Does it really work?
We've done the research on hundreds of studies in regards to vitamins to prevent hangover to find the science behind this nutrient and see if vitamin b or vitamin b complex helps with hangovers.
We've found evidence hangover helping vitamins such as Vitamin C, Prickly Pear, DHM, Glutamine and Glutathione -- but in this article we'll dive into vitamin B.
Vitamin B is not a single vitamin or nutrient but rather a group of eight different vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12). These vitamins are essential for normal body function, especially for the metabolism and digestion of food.
What we found is that primarily many vitamin B's are lost during alcohol consumption. Consuming alcohol increases the need for several B vitamins, especially thiamine, niacin and pyridoxine.
Excessive drinking can deplete your body of these nutrients and lead to a deficiency. While these condition is more likely to occur in people with chronic alcoholism, anyone who drinks heavily can see these similar results.
Let's dive into each vitamin B and how it effects hangovers:
If you're wondering does vitamin b help hangovers, the answer is a mixed yes and no.
The answer as you read above actually depends on what vitamin b's. As a whole, almost every vitamin B, with exception to vitamin B12, shows a negative effect or deficiency when consuming acute amounts of alcohol.
Simply supplementing vitamin B for hangovers is mostly replacing what alcohol depletes, and therefore might have a positive effect on a hangover because of the myriad of benefits from a vitamin b complex.
Three Vitamin B's showed the most promising research in regards to hangovers or headaches -- which includes Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), and Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5). If you're going to take Vitamin B to help a hangover, we'd recommend starting with these three first.
The bottom line is, you can't go wrong supplementing vitamin b for hangovers due to the overwhelming fact that alcohol can cause deficiencies. There's still limiting research to show how significant improvements in hangovers from vitamin b.
There is an herb out of Asia that has shown more promising hangover research results than b vitamins.
Hovenia Dulcis, also known as dihydromyricetin (DHM), is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been historically used to relieve symptoms of hangovers, headaches, and excessive alcohol consumption.
A Korean study that was conducted showed that the group who took the Hovenia Dulcis extract had a significant decline in hangover symptoms, and improving the inflammatory response from alcohol.¹²
Want to supplement the Hovenia Dulcis herb? Try our Zaca hydration + liver aid chewables that are loaded with Hovenia Dulcis.
1. Why Do We Give Thiamine to Alcoholics
2. Thiamine (B1 and alcohol)
3. High-dose riboflavin treatment is efficacious in migraine prophylaxis: an open study in a tertiary care centre
4. Chronic alcohol feeding inhibits physiological and molecular parameters of intestinal and renal riboflavin transport
5. Dietary Nutrient Intake, Alcohol Metabolism, and Hangover Severity
6. Lowering of blood acetaldehyde but not ethanol concentrations by pantethine following alcohol ingestion: different effects in flushing and nonflushing subjects
7. Scientific Research (on b vitamins and hangovers)
8. The Role of Acetaldehyde in Mediating the Deleterious Effect of Ethanol on Pyridoxal 5′-Phosphate Metabolism
9. Effect of chronic alcohol exposure on gut vitamin B7 uptake: involvement of epigenetic mechanisms and effect of alcohol metabolites
10. Folate deficiency disturbs hepatic methionine metabolism and promotes liver injury
11. Vitamin deficiencies in acutely intoxicated patients in the ED
12. A standardized extract of the fruit of Hovenia dulcis alleviated alcohol-induced hangover in healthy subjects