Many people love having a few cheeky drinks, and a few “cheeky” drinks basically means a LOT of drinks!
But waking up the next morning feeling rough as a dog’s bottom after a big night out is never fun.
And sadly, it gets worse with age! Feeling great, hangover-free and ready to face the day after a big night is a distant memory for most of us. Heck for me those days were over by my mid-twenties!
So-called “hangover prevention pills” are becoming more and more popular nowadays as they promise to be the helping hand you need to make you feel better the next day.
While it’s not entirely possible to cure a hangover, they claim to reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Well, they usually contain a selection of natural ingredients that support your liver in metabolizing alcohol as well as boosting antioxidant levels.
Nowadays, there are a lot of hangover prevention pills available on the market which can make choosing the best hangover supplement difficult.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top products for helping to get rid of your hangover symptoms. It is based on the ingredients, effectiveness and value for money.
Do hangover pills work?
I’ve tested these pills and can confirm they do help a lot with the symptoms of a hangover. Maybe scientists would say that it was a placebo effect but I don’t think so.
If they make you feel better then that is what is most important and that is all the evidence I need personally.
There are some scientific reasons why the ingredients would help to improve a hangover though.
What causes hangovers?
Alcohol causes hangovers in various different ways, drinking alcohol increases the Ethanol blood levels. Most symptoms are related to the increased Acetaldehyde levels that build up in your body when alcohol is broken down by your liver.
Alcohol is a diuretic, it inhibits the release of a hormone from the pituitary gland in your body called vasopressin and this hormone helps your kidneys reabsorb water. That’s why drinking too much causes dehydration.
While dehydration plays a big part in hangovers, it isn’t the only cause.
Another major cause of hangovers is inflammation. When alcohol is metabolized in your liver, harmful waste products such as acetaldehyde are produced and released into your body. These react with your cells causing inflammation.
And this is where hangover pills come into the picture, they can’t completely cure a hangover but can certainly lessen the symptoms associated with excessive alcohol consumption after a night of drinking.
Hangover pills include natural ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts. These ingredients boost antioxidant levels to support your liver in neutralizing the harmful by-products of alcohol metabolism.
And that means you still need to take all the necessary hangover prevention precautions such as keeping well hydrated, eating before going out and reducing your intake.
Other hangover cures
There are many mythical hangover cures that are said to work well such as a fry up, orange juice, ginger, green tea, aspirin, sports drinks and of course hair of the dog (start drinking again!).
I have found these don’t tend to work too well in practice.
I found these pills, which are specifically designed to be a hangover cure and give your body what it needs the most, are far more effective.
Many hangover pills also contain important vitamins and minerals including vitamin B which can help to boost the immune system, vitamins C (aka ascorbic acid) which helps to repair body tissue and folic acid which helps the body to produce healthy red blood cells.
7 Best Hangover Pills
In order to help you find good hangover pills in the sea of available options, we’ve researched and compared the best options below.
Our top spot goes to AfterDrink. That’s because AfterDrink has a well-balanced formulation and includes all the key ingredients such as Dihydromyricetin, Amino acids, B vitamins, Milk thistle, Prickly pear and many more. (We discuss the ingredients in more detail later in this article).
In fact, they include a total of 23 ingredients, all of which are natural. Unlike most supplements in this category, the dosing is clear and transparent as they don’t use a “proprietary blend”.
Overall, AfterDrink is a high-quality hangover supplement that is formulated to cover all angles when it comes to hangovers and the effects of drinking alcohol meaning you can wake up feeling fresh.
That’s why it works well and has great reviews.
2) Hang Zero
Hang Zero is another great hangover prevention pill with similar ingredients to AfterDrink. The downside is that the key ingredients are hidden behind a proprietary blend so it’s not exactly clear how much of each is included and it’s always better to know exactly what is going into your body.
With that said, it’s a good entry-level hangover supplement to help alleviate your hangover and is one of the cheaper options on the market. So it’s a sensible option if you’re on a budget.
You may have seen Cheers on the popular US TV show Shark Tank.
Although they didn’t get investment at the time, they continued with their work and produced one of the most well-known products in the hangover pill category.
They also have the highest amount of Dihydromyricetin of all hangover supplements currently on the market. It’s important to note that having the highest amount of Dihydromyricetin means that some of the other ingredients are underdosed to make space.
4) Purple Tree
Purple Tree hangover pills have come up the ranks in recent years. They have one of the cheapest hangover supplements on the market so it’s great value for money.
They use willow bark as one of their ingredients which is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Flyby is probably one of the most popular hangover pills on the market. If you take a closer look at the ingredients label, it’s exactly the same as Hang Zero’s.
The only difference is, Flyby is nearly twice as expensive. That’s the only reason it ranks lower in our list of top picks.
Drinkwel is one of the first hangover pills to ever come on the market. Unlike the rest of the products on this list, it’s designed to be taken daily and is, therefore, more of a “liver health” supplement. They contain lots of vitamins and electrolytes that can help with liver function and body health.
Furthermore, It comes with an expensive price tag and may not be for everyone’s budget.
In a similar fashion to Drinkwel, Detoxx is also one of the oldest hangover pills around. Although they don’t have Dihydromyricetin in their formulation, they still have a comprehensive list of things you’d want to see.
Being one of the first hangover remedies on the market, they have a loyal customer base and a strong company reputation.
What are the key hangover pill ingredients?
You need to know exactly what you are putting into your body.
So, what are the key ingredients to look out for in hangover prevention pills and which ones actually work?
Despite the amount of alcohol-related research out there, only a few ingredients have been shown to reduce hangover symptoms in studies:
DHM has been used as a hangover remedy in Asia for centuries. More recently, studies have shown that it speeds up alcohol metabolism and, therefore, has the potential to reduce hangover symptoms.(1)
The B complex vitamins (particularly Vitamin B) are essential for the metabolism of all the things we eat and drink. That includes alcohol. They are cofactors in the enzymatic reactions involved in the breakdown of alcohol. Hence, drinking can increase your requirements.(2)
Prickly pear has been shown in studies to reduce hangover symptoms as well. That’s because it’s packed full of polyphenols which are antioxidants. The theory is that prickly pear extract helps settle inflammation caused by the free-radicals produced from drinking alcohol.(3)
Ginseng (Korean or Panax)
Korean red ginseng, also known as Panax ginseng, was shown in a small study to speed up alcohol metabolism and reduce hangover symptoms.(4)
Most hangover prevention pills include NAC in their ingredients formula. That’s because NAC is the precursor to glutathione. And glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is naturally produced by your liver.
You’ll find milk thistle included in just about any liver health supplement on the market. The reason being, it’s been shown in several studies to reduce liver inflammation and enzyme markers. That being said, it’s not been specifically tested for hangovers.(5
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic acid is an organic compound derived from plants and is well-known for its antioxidant properties.
Black pepper extract
The active ingredient in black pepper extract, piperine, is a bioavailability enhancer. That means it increases the absorption of certain supplement ingredients from your gut. Especially Vitamin B6 and C.
L-cysteine (l-Cys) is an amino acid which is thought to help with the nausea and headaches you get when hungover.
Ingredients to avoid
When it comes to choosing the best hangover prevention pill, there are a few things that you’ll probably want to make sure to avoid. Next up, we’ll take a closer look at these:
We all know that caffeine is a stimulant and will make you feel more awake. Some people drink caffeine in the hope that it will “sober them up” by accelerating alcohol metabolism. However, studies have shown caffeine makes no difference to how fast it is cleared from your bloodstream.
Although the products in this review don’t contain caffeine, you’ll come across others that do. Aside from disrupting your sleep and making you feel more on edge, caffeine is unlikely to have any other impact on how you feel the next day.
Nowadays, it’s common to see “proprietary blends” on the ingredients list of cheaper supplements. Manufactures hide part of their formula behind proprietary blends to conceal the exact doses.
The problem is, that means as consumers we won’t know how much of each ingredient we are getting. Unfortunately, only a handful of the hangover pills in this review are fully transparent with their formulation and don’t use a proprietary blend.
Who should use hangover prevention pills?
Let’s be straight, hangovers get so much worse as we age. Remember the days in your early 20’s when hangovers were brushed aside with hearty breakfast and some orange juice?
If you’re in this age group, then hangover prevention pills are unlikely to be a worthwhile investment.
However, if you’re over 30 and your favorite whiskey or red wine is starting to make you feel rough after a couple of drinks, then hangover pills may be exactly what you need.
As we get older, drinking water and “sleeping it off” just doesn’t work as well anymore. Hangover prevention pills provide a natural antioxidant boost that gives you that little extra recovery support.
When is the best time to take hangover prevention pills?
If you take a closer look at the dosing instructions for hangover prevention pills, they all advise you take your dose before or straight after your last drink.
That’s because the ingredients are designed to work while alcohol and its toxic by-products are still swirling around in your bloodstream. By the time you’ve woken up with a hangover, your body has already endured the damaging effects of alcohol.
Therefore, the best time to take hangover prevention pills is as instructed. They won’t work If you forget to take your dose and hope that taking a few pills in the morning will make you feel better.
Benefits & hangover symptoms the pills can help with
We have found these pills to be effective to varying degrees for improving many symptoms of a hangover including sickness, headaches, nausea, brain fog, anxiety and dehydration.
Other benefits include providing vital nutrients, reducing toxins, liver protection, containing dihydromyricetin (DHM) which boosts liver enzymes.
Are there any side effects?
The products we’ve included in our list of best hangover prevention pills are all made from natural ingredients. As dietary supplements, they are regarded as safe and there are no medicines or stimulants included.
With that said, everyone is different and could potentially experience side effects. Perhaps being intolerant or allergic to the herbal extracts that are included.
That’s why it’s important to read the ingredients label before taking any new supplements.
Obviously if you did feel unwell after taking any hangover supplements you should consult a doctor.
Hangover pills Vs hangover drinks
If you don’t like the idea of taking pills there are several hangover drinks on the market such as Morning Recovery and H Proof. You can check out our review of Morning Recovery here we think it’s a great hangover product.
There you have it, our list of the most effective hangover pills on the market right now.
The main thing to remember is that hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol. So the best thing for preventing a hangover is to limit your alcohol intake.
Hangover pills should be seen as a helping hand to your existing routine, rather than a cure.
With all that said, our favorite hangover pill and the best hangover cure we have found at WhiskeyBon is AfterDrink.