Hangover cures—while they act more as preventatives, and are not guaranteed to cure a hangover—are an essential if you drink alcohol regularly. They’re especially useful if you plan to drink more alcohol than usual. Hangovers occur for a variety of reasons, including alcohol toxicity, dehydration, inflammation, and changes in your nutrient status that can occur as a result of heavy drinking.
However, by far the factors that play the largest role in presence and severity of a hangover are how much alcohol you drink, your alcohol tolerance, and your size in relation to these things.
Hangover cures contain ingredients that support your liver function, that help you break down alcohol more quickly, and that may help replenish your fluid and nutrient losses during drinking. Here are our top 10 recommendations for the best hangover cure.
1. NatureNetics LiverSmart
NatureNetics takes pride in producing high-quality supplements. This LiverSmart blend contains milk thistle extract, which may be a powerful way to boost your liver health. It also contains other ingredients that can support your liver before and after drinking alcohol, like dandelion root, artichoke leaf, yellow dock root, protease, and beet root.
Although it’s not labeled as a hangover cure or preventative, it has many positive reviews regarding its benefits for hangover prevention. Its liver support ingredients may help your body to better be able to detoxify from alcohol.
Additionally, NatureNetics ensures that all of their supplements are third-party tested for purity, quality, and accuracy of label claims by not one company, but multiple third-party testing labs.
2. DHM Depot Dihydromyricetin
Dihydromyricetin is a compound isolated from the Hovenia dulcis, or Japanese raisin tree. It is a unique compound that may help prevent hangovers or potentially lessen their severity. It can be taken before, during, or after drinking alcohol to help prevent or improve hangovers by helping your liver to process alcohol more efficiently.
This dihydromyricetin supplement from DHM Depot is third-party tested to assure quality, and made using high-quality, pharmaceutical grade dihydromyricetin.
3. NatureBell Dihydromyricetin
NatureBell dihydromyricetin is another pure dihydromyricetin supplement, but theirs is isolated from the Ampelopsis grossedentata, or moyeam plant. Regardless, dihydromyricetin may help prevent a hangover if taken before drinking, and lessen your hangover’s severity if taken after drinking.
NatureBell‘s supplements are third-party tested, which can provide you some assurance that the label claims are an accurate representation of what’s in the supplement.
4. Toniiq Ease
Toniiq Ease is marketed specifically as a hangover cure and preventative, and it contains three potentially liver-boosting ingredients that can help prevent hangovers or ease the severity of them. It contains Reishi mushroom, an adaptogenic mushroom, along with dihydromyricetin from the moyeam plant, and milk thistle extract.
Toniiq Ease is manufactured in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified facility.
5. Red Deuces Take Back Happy Hour
This hangover preventative by Red Deuces contains a variety of potentially liver-boosting ingredients that may help your body process alcohol more efficiently and ease the severity of your hangover. It contains several B-vitamins in high doses, vitamin C, N-acetyl-cysteine, quercetin, bromelain, dihydromyricetin, milk thistle, L-theanine, prickly pear, and bioperine. To prevent a hangover or help lessen the severity of your hangover, you should take 3 pills before you drink.
Red Deuces supplements are made in a FDA- and GMP-approved facility.
6. Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle
Although this milk thistle supplement from Jarrow Formulas is not specifically made for hangover prevention, milk thistle does have some beneficial effects on the liver that may make it a great hangover preventative. Additionally, this product has some positive reviews from people who have used it for hangover prevention.
Jarrow Formulas labs complete multiple rounds of testing to ensure the quality of their supplements, and they are produced in a GMP-certified facility.
7. FlyBy Recovery
FlyBy Recovery is meant to be taken before and after you drink. It contains liver-support ingredients like dihydromyricetin and milk thistle, but also contains a variety of nutrients that may actually be impacted by alcohol consumption. It also contains a number of additional herbs that may keep you feeling your best after a night of drinking.
8. Krumpus Labs The Regimen
The Regimen by Krumpus Labs is specifically formulated for hangover prevention. It’s a powder, and you simply add one scoop to a glass of water and drink it after you drink alcohol, but before you go to bed.
It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, along with many of the herbal compounds mentioned above and some others—including melatonin, tryptophan, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Along with hangover prevention, it may help support a good night’s sleep.
9. Rite After Hangover Cure and Prevention
This supplement is designed to take right after a night of drinking, hence the brand name Rite After. It contains corn oligopeptides, prickly pear cactus extract, taurine, and l-alanine, all of which may help support liver function and prevent a hangover. According to the manufacturer, the corn oligopeptides can help your body break down alcohol faster.
10. The Hangover Secret Rosé All Day, Next Day Okay
The Hangover Secret‘s hangover preventative is a blend of several nutrients along with herbs that support liver health and alcohol detoxification. It comes in a convenient single-use package, making it great for when you’re on-the-go or traveling. You simply mix the powder into a glass of water and drink it after you drink alcohol and before you go to bed. If you plan to drink a lot of alcohol, you should also take a packet before you start drinking.
How we ranked
Dietary supplements, unlike medications and food, are not regulated by any kind of government organization or regulating body. Unfortunately, this means that some manufacturers may take advantage of this lack of regulation and lie about what their supplement actually contains in order to cut costs or make more sales.
Luckily, there are a number of third-party testing labs that offer supplement testing to ensure that the manufacturers are making honest claims and using high-quality ingredients in their products. Some of these organizations include NSF International, ConsumerLab, and United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
Our top three supplements—NatureNetics LiverSmart, DHM Depot Dihydromyricetin, and NatureBell Dihydromyricetin—have all underwent this third-party testing process, ensuring that their product is safe and that their manufacturers are honest in labeling and marketing claims.
The next best option to ensure product quality is by seeking out supplements that were manufactured in a GMP- or FDA-approved facility. Although this is not a guarantee of the quality of the supplement, it does mean that the manufacturer is meeting certain rigorous standards in the facility where the supplement is produced. The fourth, fifth, and sixth rankings on our list—Toniiq Ease, Red Deuces Take Back Happy Hour, and Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle—were also manufactured in a GMP- or FDA-certified facility.
Finally, the remainder of our rankings were based on the scientific evidence behind certain ingredients. All of the supplements that made this list contain ingredients that have been shown in scientific studies to help prevent hangovers, reduce their severity, or help boost liver function.
Hangover cures may prevent and treat hangovers. The most obvious benefit of a hangover cure is that it may prevent a hangover, or at least decrease the severity of your hangover.
These supplements contain ingredients that may help reverse or prevent the changes to your body that cause hangovers, namely hormonal balance, the toxic effects of alcohol, liver stress, and dehydration.
In animal studies, dihydromyricetin—which is an ingredient in many hangover cures—reduced alcohol consumption and reduced the effect of alcohol on the neurotransmitter GABA. In humans, these changes would hypothetically result in a less severe hangover. However, more research in humans is needed, as most of the current evidence for dihydromyricetin is in animal models (1).
Additionally, silybin—which is the most biologically active compound in milk thistle—has been demonstrated to help protect the liver. Because alcohol is primarily processed by the liver, milk thistle supplementation may help the process of alcohol detoxification by the liver to be more efficient. This can help decrease the damage done by alcohol to your body, as well as decrease your risk of a hangover (2).
Hangover cures may help rehydrate you. Dehydration is one potential factor contributing to the development of a hangover, as well as the severity of them. Although alcohol is fluid, drinking it to excess can actually cause you to become dehydrated. This is why common advice for hangover prevention includes drinking water before and between alcoholic beverages (3).
Because alcohol is toxic to your body, your liver prioritizes it so that it can get rid of the alcohol quickly. It decreases the action of the hormone vasopressin, which causes your body get rid of more fluid. Because of this, you may urinate more frequently or have a higher volume of urine during or after you’ve drank alcohol. Dehydration occurs when you don’t replace these fluid losses (4).
However, some hangover cures that come in powder form need to be taken with water, which can help decrease your risk of becoming dehydrated. Additionally, nearly all hangover cures—even those in pill form—should be taken with a full glass of water, instead of just a few sips.
Hangover cures may prevent headaches and muscle cramps. Along with dehydration from fluid losses, it is easy for your electrolyte levels to become imbalanced when you’re drinking alcohol. This can lead to headaches and muscle cramps, which are commonly reported with hangovers.
To help alleviate these problems, some hangover cures contain the electrolytes that you may lose due to dehydration, like magnesium, chloride, sodium, and potassium.
Hangover cures may prevent electrolyte and nutrient imbalances. In the short-term, alcohol consumption can affect your electrolyte levels, as discussed above. This can lead to headaches or muscle cramps.
However, chronic alcohol consumption over the long term can also lead to changes in nutrient levels, particularly the B-vitamins, such as thiamin. Thiamin deficiency is a common trait in alcoholism (5).
Many hangover cures contain added nutrients to help mitigate your risk of becoming nutrient deficient. For people who only drink occasionally or who drink in moderation, nutrient deficiency is not a huge risk. However, if you have a drinking problem, a hangover cure will not be enough to protect you from nutrient deficiency. You should seek guidance from a qualified healthcare professional to help you quit drinking and keep you healthy.
Hangover cures may help prevent liver damage as a result of excessive drinking. Alcohol is toxic to your liver. In low doses, it usually doesn’t cause any significant issues, as your liver is able to process it fairly quickly to remove it from your system.
However, excessive drinking—especially over the long-term—can lead to severe and debilitating liver problems, such as fatty liver disease and liver cirrhosis. Even short-term episodes of binge drinking can cause permanent liver damage.
Although you should avoid binge drinking entirely to maximize your health, some of the herbs and compounds in hangover cures may help your body to metabolize alcohol more efficiently, leading to a decreased risk of liver damage from alcohol consumption. These include dihydromyricetin and milk thistle.
Hangover cures may not prevent or cure your hangover. Although they’re generally referred to as “hangover cures,” the best protection that these supplements can offer is the possibility that they can prevent a hangover or make it less severe than it otherwise would be. Taking one of these supplements before or after drinking alcohol is not a guarantee that you won’t have a hangover the next day. Many factors affect if you’ll have a hangover and its severity, like your hydration status, how much alcohol you drink, how much you weigh, and your alcohol tolerance—and these are just a few examples.
To help your hangover cure supplement be as effective as possible, you should drink plenty of water while you are drinking alcohol. A good rule of thumb to consider is to have one glass of water between each serving of an alcoholic drink. You should also not drink to extreme excess. Alcohol is toxic to your liver, so your liver prioritizes the detoxification of alcohol when it’s in your system. When there’s a large amount of alcohol in your system, you are more likely to experience a hangover the next day while your body is still struggling to detoxify the alcohol.
Hangover cures may contain allergens. You may be allergic to the ingredients in some hangover cures. You should check the label carefully to see if it contains any of your known allergens before taking it. If you feel like you may be having an allergic reaction to one of these supplements, you should discontinue use immediately and seek medical care.
If you’re allergic to ragweed or other plants in the same family, you may also be allergic to milk thistle – which is a common ingredient in hangover prevention supplements. Use extreme caution and seek a health professional’s advice before using a milk thistle supplement if you’re allergic to ragweed (6).
Hangover cures may contain ingredients that cause complications or that interact with medications. For instance, milk thistle—which is commonly found in liver support and hangover prevention supplements—can cause digestive problems. It may also decrease your blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous if you’re already taking insulin or a blood sugar-lowering medication (6).
Because many of these hangover cure supplements contain multiple ingredients, this can make it difficult to identify what exactly is causing side effects if you are experiencing them. If you do experience any uncomfortable side effects, you should stop using the supplement.
Depending on the brand and formulation, hangover cures can be taken before, during, or after drinking alcohol.
Most supplements that are specifically marketed for hangover prevention instruct you to take the supplement after you are finished drinking, but before you go to bed. They may instruct you to double-up on doses or to take one dose before you start drinking too, if it’s going to be a particularly heavy night of drinking.
On the other, other supplements like NatureNetics LiverSmart is meant to be taken with meals, and may be more effective for hangovers if taken with a meal before you start drinking.
It’s important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosing, which will give you the highest odds of successfully preventing a hangover after drinking.
You should also take your hangover prevention supplements with a glass of water, and make sure you are drinking plenty of water while drinking alcohol as well. Dehydration may be one of the main causes of a hangover, so if you can stay adequately hydrated before, during, and after drinking you may be able to prevent the worst of a hangover’s effects.
Q: What is a hangover?
A: A hangover is a group of symptoms that typically occurs after an episode of alcohol consumption, especially excessive alcohol consumption. Hangovers affect different people in different ways, but may typically involve grogginess, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, and generally feeling unwell.
A variety of factors affect the severity of a hangover, or if you will have a hangover at all. The largest factor appears to be the amount of alcohol you drink in relationship to your size and your alcohol tolerance. For example, a larger person who drinks regularly will have a higher alcohol tolerance—and a lower risk of hangover—than a smaller person who doesn’t drink very often.
However, a number of other factors are at play as well. These include brain alterations and cellular dysfunction that occurs as a result of alcohol exposure, as alcohol is toxic to the body. Hangover severity may also be affected by your hydration status, inflammation levels, electrolyte levels, and hormonal balance (3, 7).
Q: What ingredients in hangover cures may help treat or prevent hangovers?
A: There are a number of ingredients in hangover cures that may support liver function and alcohol detoxification. These include:
Milk thistle. Although there’s very little evidence available regarding milk thistle specifically for hangovers, a great deal of evidence exists to support the use of milk thistle for general liver health and improved detoxification of alcohol and other toxins.
Milk thistle is rich in silybin, a flavonoid antioxidant that gives the herb many of its potential health-boosting benefits.
A high-quality study from the 1980s also noted an improvement in liver health after milk thistle supplementation in people with liver disease related to alcohol abuse. Although this research is dated, newer research shows similar findings (8).
In one recent study of children with leukemia and subsequent liver toxicity, supplementing with milk thistle was associated with improvements in markers of liver health and a decrease in toxicity. Although this study was not alcohol-related, it highlights the liver health benefits of milk thistle and silybin (9).
Dihydromyricetin. Although most of the evidence for dihydromyricetin is from animal studies, this evidence offers a promising starting point for future human research. This compound can help reduce alcohol consumption when taken before drinking, and help lessen the short-term effects that alcohol has on your body. It works by dampening some of the effects that alcohol has on your body, particularly on the hormone GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that actually blocks nervous system function. After alcohol consumption, GABA usually becomes stronger. However, dihydromyricetin keeps the nervous system functioning optimally without additional interruption from GABA (1).
Prickly pear cactus. One high-quality human study in 64 adults found that prickly pear extract reduced hangover when taken 5 hours before consuming alcohol. Particularly, prickly pear significantly decreased complaints of nausea, dry mouth, and appetite loss. Taking prickly pear also reduced the risk of having a severe hangover by 50 percent (10).
Researchers theorize that this is because prickly pear helped decrease the body’s inflammatory response to alcohol.
N-acetyl-cysteine. N-acetyl-cysteine is another ingredient that is commonly found in hangover cures. It’s a powerful antioxidant that may help reduce inflammation and prevent some of the cellular damage caused by alcohol exposure, which may theoretically help improve a hangover.
Although most of the existing research on N-acetyl-cysteine has been done in animals, the evidence is promising. This antioxidant may help strengthen your liver cells, equipping them to more efficiently process and rid your body of alcohol. Taking N-acetyl-cysteine before drinking may also help prevent alcohol-related reductions to your glutathione levels. Glutathione also acts as an antioxidant that can help prevent cellular damage (11).
Q: How much alcohol does it take to cause a hangover?
A: This varies significantly from person-to-person. Your overall health, size, alcohol tolerance, and the amount you drink in a sitting are all key factors.
As a general rule, you should try to avoid binge drinking. This will likely keep you from experiencing a hangover at all. Moderate drinking is defined as one alcoholic drink per day for a woman, and two alcoholic drinks per day for a man (12).
Q: Why does alcohol in excess harm the liver?
A: Alcohol and its breakdown products are toxic to your body. When alcohol is present, your liver prioritizes alcohol detoxification so that it can remove the toxin from your body as quickly as possible.
Over time, alcohol exposure can damage your liver and lead to fatty liver disease or liver cirrhosis, when sections of your liver essentially die. If you continue to drink in excess, this puts even more strain on the functioning remainder of your liver.
Because your liver also has a number of other responsibilities, like storing nutrients, creating bile, packaging fats, and detoxifying other substances from your body, like medications, the constant cycle of detoxifying alcohol can cause a number of other issues that affect your whole body.
Q: Should I take a hangover cure before or after drinking?
A: Follow the label instructions for the hangover cure that you purchase. Most hangover cures should be taken after you’re finished drinking for the night, but before you go to bed. They may also instruct you to take a dose before drinking if you anticipate that you’ll be drinking more than usual.
Q: What are some other ways to help prevent or treat a hangover?
A: The best way to prevent a hangover is to avoid drinking to excess. A general rule of thumb for moderate drinking is that women should stick to one alcoholic beverage per day, while men can have up to two alcoholic drinks per day. While this may not be the best advice for everyone, it covers most people. A single alcoholic beverage is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of a distilled spirit like whiskey, rum, or vodka (13).
However, you shouldn’t “bank” your drinks and have them all in one night, which may seem tempting. This puts a much greater strain on your liver and will likely lead to a hangover.
If you do plan to drink excessively, you should drink plenty of water during the day leading up to your event. Consider having a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage as well, and eat your meals as normal to ensure that alcohol is not the only substance in your stomach.
Hangover cures function primarily as hangover preventatives. They are typically taken after you drink alcohol, and they can help your body process alcohol more efficiently and combat the negative effects of alcohol consumption—ideally resulting in no hangover or a significantly less severe hangover for you the next morning.
Some of the ingredients in hangover cures contain a great deal of scientific evidence to support them, especially milk thistle and dihydromyricetin.
For BodyNutrition’s #1 recommended hangover cure, click here.