The Science of Hangovers
Not many will come this far in their quest for hangover knowledge, and for that we applaud you. What lies ahead is 3 years of research that has driven the hundreds of iterations of Cydekick until we finally arrived at a formula that combats hangovers from every possible angle. Enjoy
Table of Contents
- Science of the Hangover………………………………………..3
- How to Defend Against a Hangover……………………….....4
- Cydekick’s 2-pronged Approach……………………..............5
- The Importance of Cydekick’s Proprietary Formulation.....6
The Science of the Hangover
In order to understand how Cydekick works, it is important to first have a baseline understanding of the physiological processes your body experiences when consuming and metabolizing alcohol. Alcohol metabolism involves a few different pathways, but the most common pathway involves a two-step process involving two enzymes in the liver: alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and Aldehyde Dehydrogenase (ALDH).
Step 1: ADH is the first enzyme involved in the process and breaks down ethanol (drinking alcohol) in a compound called acetaldehyde, which is highly toxic and research has shown it to be around 30x more toxic than drinking alcohol.
Step 2: ALDH breaks down acetaldehyde into acetate, which your body expels as mostly water and carbon dioxide.
The two (of four) most important alcohol-induced contributing factors to a hangover are 1) cellular damage and 2) dehydration.
Acetaldehyde is a highly toxic compound and produces molecules called ‘free radicals’ in the body. Free radicals are toxic cells that are chemically unstable, lacking an electron, and they seek to balance themselves by gaining an electron from healthy cells within the body, effectively destroying these healthy cells. When the amount of free radical toxins exceeds the amount of antioxidants in the body, the body experiences a state of ‘oxidative stress.’ Oxidative stress is what leads to diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, as well as other physiological phenomena like aging.
Alcohol causes dehydration in the form of electrolyte imbalance. As a diuretic, alcohol increases the body’s urinary output by suppressing the hormone that keeps the body from expelling urine, vasopressin. The dehydration component of alcohol metabolism is what causes symptoms associated with fluid loss like weakness, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
In short, a hangover is the adverse reaction to alcohol metabolism. When metabolizing alcohol, the body loses fluid, and produces a toxic byproduct known as acetaldehyde which puts the body under oxidative stress.
How to Defend Against a Hangover
Now that we have outlined the physiological factors contributing to a hangover, we can discuss the scientifically backed methodologies for defending against things like oxidative stress and dehydration. Additionally, in this section we will discuss the importance of equipping your body with vitamins that enable your body to more readily metabolize the alcohol.
Oxidative stress is the state the body experiences when the number of free radical toxins exceeds the number of antioxidants in the body. The solution to combating oxidative stress is intuitive; if the body is lacking antioxidants relative to free radicals, supplementation with antioxidants is necessary in order to mitigate oxidative damage. That being said, not all antioxidants are created equally. Free radicals wreak havoc all over the body including the gastrointestinal tract, the brain, and other places. There are certain antioxidant compounds that are more able to address certain types of oxidative damage than others (details in The Importance of Cydekick’s Proprietary Blend). Regardless, antioxidant supplementation works in a very simple way. We established that free radicals are unbalanced because they lack an electron, meanwhile, antioxidants carry an extra electron and are therefore able to neutralize free radicals by essentially giving them the extra electron. After the free radical receives the extra electron from the antioxidant, it is balanced and does not destroy healthy cells. This mitigates oxidative damage substantially and reduces the negative health effects associated with alcohol metabolism and consumption drastically. Cydekick contains a wide variety of antioxidants, each of which serve a very specific purpose in targeting all potential symptoms of free radical damage in the liver, brain, and stomach.
Dehydration is a very important factor when considering hangovers. However, it is responsible for less of the adverse physiological symptoms than is believed by conventional wisdom. The single best way to optimize hydration is through a strong electrolyte balance in the body. This is why Cydekick contains a cutting edge electrolyte system. The electrolytes that make up Cydekick’s electrolyte blend are the same electrolytes research has shown are most severely depleted as a consequence of alcohol consumption. By supplying your body with the very electrolytes alcohol destroys, you can offset the reduction in individual electrolytes and maintain better hydration levels during consumption as well as upon waking in the morning.
Vitamins are crucial for facilitating enzymatic processes in all parts of the body, including cell regeneration, metabolism, as well as breaking down alcohol. The body is constantly using vitamins to create enzymes that keep your body healthy on a cellular level. Upon consuming alcohol, the body recognizes the toxic substance and essentially recruits all available vitamins to create the necessary enzymes to metabolize alcohol. What this means is that those vitamins are not being used to create enzymes that are catalyzing physiological processes that keep us feeling healthy on a normal day. The standard American diet (SAD) does not typically supply an adequate amount of vitamins and when consuming alcohol it is crucial to supplement with vitamins in order to ensure that the body has enough ‘fuel’ to create day-to-day enzymes in addition to the previously discussed enzymes that are crucial to alcohol metabolism
Cydekick’s 2-pronged Approach
At Cydekick, we have developed the most comprehensive blend of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and antioxidants that all work synergistically to equip the body with the necessary nutrients it needs to do two things:
- Metabolize Alcohol safely and efficiently
- Mitigate the damage done in the meantime
The way this is achieved is through the utilization of a 2-pronged approach: fortification & antioxidation.
Fortification refers to the part of the formula that supplies the body with an adequate amount of vitamins and electrolytes. These are the nutrients that have been shown to be depleted by alcohol consumption and as previously discussed, proper supplementation can help prepare the body to most efficiently breakdown and ultimately expel alcohol.
Antioxidants are the most important part of Cydekick’s formula. We discussed the importance of antioxidants in the previous section, and now we will address their true role in the formula. There are a variety of different antioxidants to choose from, however not all of them target the right forms of free radicals or work synergistically. For instance, Cydekick contains N-Acetyl-Cysteine, an amino acid that encourages the endogenous (internal) production of the liver cleaning antioxidant Glutathione. This seems to be enough for the competitors, however, as with most things, Cydekick takes it one step further. We included the mineral selenium, which acts as a cofactor to N-Acetyl-Cysteine. Essentially Cydekick has a synergistic compounding effect on the production of the antioxidant that is responsible for clearing the liver of toxins. This is just one example of the way the antioxidants in the formula work together, and we will discuss more specifics in the next section. Ultimately, antioxidants are what combat the negative effects of alcohol, reduce hangover symptoms, and make alcohol consumption less toxic to the body.
The Importance of Cydekick’s Proprietary Formulation
Cydekick contains all the aforementioned nutrients that are essential to mitigating damage done by alcohol and therefore protecting against the hangover. The formula is split into 3 main parts:
- Minerals & Electrolytes
We have touched on the importance of each of these individual classes of nutrients in previous sections, and in this section will take a more holistic look at the formulation, how it works, and why it is superior to the competition.
Cydekick ignores nothing when it comes to causes of a hangover. Most competitors rely on a compound known as Dihydromyricetin (DHM) that catalyzes alcohol metabolism and in theory ultimately leaves you less hungover as a result of less alcohol in your body. The intuitive problem with this formulation is the simple fact that DHM makes it more difficult for the user to experience the pleasant effects of alcohol as it essentially makes you less drunk. This is why you will see most brand instructing their users to use the product after the last drink of the night, something we see as problematic from a practicality perspective as opposed to drinking before alcohol consumption. Although 2 of the main causes of a hangover were primarily addressed in this document, Cydekick specifically covers all 4 of the physiological factors that contribute to a hangover as discovered by leading hangover researchers Dr. Robert Swift and Dr. Dena Davidson; Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, Gastrointestinal disturbances, Headache, and Effects from things other than ethyl alcohol (congeners).
How it Works
Cydekick contains specific, all natural ingredients that have been scientifically proven to treat and prevent the above physiological phenomena as related to alcohol consumption. Below are just some of the individual ingredients associated with each symptom/cause:
Dehydration & Electrolyte Imbalance
- Potassium & Magnesium
Two electrolytes shown to be most severely depleted by alcohol consumption
- Ginger Root Extract
Acts as the primary ingredient for treating gastrointestinal disturbances. The phenolic (phytonutrients) compounds in ginger are known to help relieve gastrointestinal irritation, stimulate saliva and bile production and suppress gastric contractions and movement of food and fluids through the GI tract
- Prickly Pear Extract
Prickly Pear extract has extremely powerful anti-inflammatory & antioxidative properties and has been used as a hangover treatment supplement for hundreds of years.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) has been scientifically proven to reduce brain damage associated with drinking alcohol by reducing inflammation. ALCAR is an amino acid that more easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and mitigates inflammation.
Effects From Things Other Than Ethyl Alcohol
A fact that goes commonly overlooked is the effect of compounds known as congeners, and the role that play in the hangover. Congener simply means ‘part of the same group’ and the congeners referred to in this context are alcohol derivatives like methyl alcohol that cause worse hangovers. Congeners are exactly why darker alcohols tend to give worse hangovers, as they tend to more prevalent in darker liquors. At Cydekick, we realize it doesn't just stop at ethyl alcohol metabolism, and that is why our antioxidant blend is comprehensive. With, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, Vitamin C, Prickly Pear, Acetyl-L-Carnitine and more, the antioxidants are truly able to target all forms of alcohol induced free radical damage.
Wow. Try saying that 5 times fast. If you read all of that, go ahead and hop over to the Cydekick store. Use code NERDY for 15% off your order. If you just scrolled to the bottom, well you got us there:)