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Hangovers are an inevitable part of drinking. Whether you drink occasionally or regularly, waking up in the morning feeling rough is something most of us experience.
Hangover pills are natural supplements that are designed to support your liver process alcohol more efficiently, as well as neutralize the by-products of alcohol metabolism.
Nowadays, you’ll find so many options out there so it can be difficult to choose which hangover pill is actually the best for your needs.
In this article, we’re going to review the top products on the market right now based on the ingredients, company reputations, and effectiveness.
At the end of this review, we explain in detail how hangover pills work and the best ingredients to look out for. So, if you’re interested in the science, make sure to read on to the end.
With that said, let’s get straight into our pick of the best hangover pills.
5 best hangover pills
1) AfterDrink – Best overall
AfterDrink is a well-known brand that has gained popularity for having one of the best all-round formulations.
It includes all the top ingredients you’ll want to see in a hangover pill including, Dihydromyricetin (DHM), Milk thistle, B vitamins, Ginseng, NAC, and ginger to name a few.
In fact, AfterDrink contains a total of 23 ingredients that work in harmony to aid recovery from all angles.
All the ingredients are natural and no artificial colors, fillers, or flow agents are used in the manufacturing process.
In addition, all the ingredients are standardized which means whatever dose you see on the label is what you get.
Furthermore, it’s manufactured in the USA in a GMP (good manufacturing practice) certified facility
That’s why for us it ranks in the top spot for the best hangover pill on the market.
How to use AfterDrink
The recommended dose is 3 capsules before your first drink and 3 straight after your last
- Most effective hangover pill
- No artificial ingredients
- High potency standardized ingredients
- Money-back Guarantee
- Only available online
Cheers used to be called Thrive and were one of the first hangover pills ever on the market.
Their formula is backed by a US-granted patent and boasts the highest amount of DHM in any hangover pill available.
Cheers pills are also backed by a guarantee that you’ll feel at least 50% better after drinking. If you don’t, they’ll refund your money.
How to use Cheers
The manufactures recommended taking between 2 to 4 capsules after your last drink.
- High DHM dose.
- No proprietary blend
- Feel 50% better guarantee
- Artificial coloring used on capsules
Flyby is one of the top hangover pills on the market and includes most of the ingredients you’ll want to see.
The inspiration behind the formula came about when founder, Eddie Huai, was on a trip to South Korea. Over there, he tried a few hangover prevention products that worked really well.
As a result, he decided to bring the formula back to the US and utilize the traditional herbs used in Asia to create his very own hangover pill.
How to use Flyby
The dosing regimen for Flyby is the same as for AfterDrink. Take 3 capsules before your first drink and 3 after your last.
- No artificial substances
- Affordable hangover pill
- Uses proprietary blend
4) Purple Tree
Purple tree is another hangover pill that’s gained popularity over the last few years. That’s because It’s by far the cheapest product on the market so it’s great if you’re on a tight budget.
What’s different about them is that they use willow bark extract in their formulation which is a natural anti-inflammatory.
With a cheaper price point, naturally, some ingredients we normally like to see are missing. This includes vitamin B3, ginseng, ginger, and vitamin C.
How to use Purple Tree
They recommend taking 2 capsules before, during OR right after drinking. In terms of dosing, it’s a little less clear compared to the others in this review so you’ll have to test it yourself to see what works the best for you.
- Best budget option
- Natural anti-inflammatories
- Missing some ingredients
- Use gelatin capsules that are not suitable for vegetarians/vegans
5) NoDaysWasted (DHM detox)
Despite being a simple supplement, DHM detox hangover pills have gained a lot of popularity in recent years.
As the name suggests, the formula is built around the key ingredient Dihydromyricetin which we go into more detail about later in this article.
This hangover pill comes in convenient packets that contain two capsules in each. That means you can easily carry them in your bag while out drinking.
How to use NoDaysWasted
The manufactures recommend taking 2 capsules (one packet) during your night out or straight after your last drink.
- Good value for money
- Simple dosing
- Convenient packaging
- Artificial flow agents used to pack capsules
- Use a proprietary blend
How we ranked the best hangover pills
There are so many factors to consider before investing in a hangover pill. The market is flooded with different products, so it can be hard to know which hangover pill to go for. Below we’ve listed all the factors we considered:
We try to avoid hangover pills with proprietary formulas. You should know exactly what you’re putting into your body, but that’s impossible when a company hides its key ingredients behind a proprietary blend. Manufacturers claim to do this in order to prevent others from copying their “secret” formulation, which is a plausible reason. But the best hangover pills have nothing to hide.
Additionally, we gave credit to hangover pills with science-backed ingredients. Every part of the formula should have a purpose.We also rated hangover pills containing natural or organic ingredients higher. You should get the antioxidant boost you need without having to worry about any added nonsense.
The second most important aspect after the ingredients is the dosage. What’s the point of having an ingredient included if it contains only a tiny dose that won’t have any real effect?
You’ll often find products that jam pack lots and lots of ingredients just to say that they contain X amount of extract in their product. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the hangover pills mentioned in this article.
Safety / Side Effects
Your safety should be the number one priority when it comes to any product you consume. We focused on fat burners with all-natural ingredients and minimal odds for side effects.
Of course, natural formulas don’t completely eliminate the risk of adverse reactions, but they do dramatically decrease them. In addition, we picked hangover pills that are manufactured right here in the US which adhere to good manufacturing practices (GMP license). One thing to mention is that although reputable manufacturers may be FDA regulated, the actual supplements are not. The FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness which is an important distinction. So you should not see any dietary supplements marked as “FDA approved”.
Customer reviews provide a peek behind the curtain of the user experience. Consumers can let you know if a product was helpful, reliable, and worth the money. The hangover pills in this article have hundreds of thousands of customers with many thousand 5 star reviews between them. If you’re looking for a reliable hangover pill that will support recovery and take the edge off the night before, you can’t go wrong with the products mentioned above.
We believe that companies should demonstrate confidence in their product’s quality. One way to do that is by offering a money-back guarantee. If the hangover pills don’t work for you, the company should provide customers with a complete refund. We prioritized hangover pills with favorable refund policies. While we believe we have selected the best hangover pills on the market, it is always possible that the product will not work for you. If that’s the case, we believe you should get your money back without haggling or hassles.
Seeing as you’re meant to take hangover pills “as and when required”, the best way to compare pricing is the per-hangover cost. The cost ranges greatly from between $1.20 to $4.40 per hangover. The premium-priced products usually contain more ingredients at higher doses and use all-natural ingredients. With that said, it’s not always the case because you’ll come across overpriced products that don’t deliver. That’s why it’s so important to inspect the ingredients label carefully to see if you’re getting enough bang for your buck.
Why do we get hangovers?
The answer to this question is important if you’re interested in knowing hangover pills work. But before we get into that, we need to go over how alcohol causes hangovers in the first place. And to be honest, it’s an area that’s still debated by scientists.(1)
What complicates things is that hangovers are not caused by a single thing. And if you thought that dehydration was the only cause, you’d be mistaken.
In fact, scientists believe that hangovers are caused by several different side effects caused by alcohol that, in combination, result in your typical hangover symptoms. These include dry mouth, headache, nausea, agitation, and “hangxiety” to name a few.
Below we’ve listed some of the main factors which contribute to hangovers:
Everyone knows that drinking alcohol can make you dehydrated. The feeling of thirst in the middle of the night after drinking is like nothing else. But have you ever wondered why this happens?
Well, it’s because alcohol is a diuretic. This means it promotes excess water loss from your kidneys. It does this by blocking the production of a hormone from your pituitary gland called vasopressin. And this hormone is essential for the regulation of your hydration levels. Without getting into the science too much, vasopressin enhances water reabsorption from the kidneys. So blocking its action does the opposite.
When alcohol is broken down by your liver, it’s converted into acetaldehyde which is highly toxic. From here it’s then broken down into acetic acid which is harmless. This step in the middle is where the problem lies. The more alcohol you drink the more acetaldehyde is formed and the more it builds up in your system.
Acetaldehyde is very unstable meaning that it readily breaks down to form “free radicals”. These are charged particles that react with the cells in your body causing damage and disruption. This process ultimately leads to tissue inflammation and is thought to be part of the reason why you get headaches, muscle aches, and general lethargy after drinking too much alcohol.
3) Hormonal dysregulation:
Alcohol disrupts the balance of hormones including cortisol and insulin release. For example, alcohol consumption is known to cause an increase in insulin secretion, which leads to low blood sugar (otherwise known as hypoglycemia). With that said, it’s important to clarify that this usually occurs with heavy drinking way over recommended limits. The same effect is seen with cortisol which is a stress hormone.
4) Mood disturbance:
“Hangxiety” is a term used to describe the morning-after anxiety associated with drinking too much alcohol. The reason why this happens isn’t fully understood, but the theory is that once alcohol is cleared from your system, your nervous system snaps back into life after being suppressed by alcohol for many hours. In other words, there’s an over-reaction of your nervous system which leads to overstimulation. This is also known as the “rebound” effect of alcohol and is thought to be the reason why you may feel on-edge, jittery, and more anxious.
5) Sleep disturbance:
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that causes brain activity to slow down. Alcohol has sedative effects that can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness, but the consumption of alcohol – especially in excess – has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration. Although you may fall asleep easier after drinking, the actual sleep quality is much worse. That’s because alcohol blocks the REM stage (rapid eye movement) of sleep. This is the deepest stage of sleep and is pivotal for feeling well-rested.
6) Gastrointestinal irritation:
Overconsumption of alcohol has lots of negative effects on your gastrointestinal system. Firstly, alcohol is a toxic substance that irritates the stomach lining causing inflammation as well as stimulating it to release more stomach acid. It also causes “delayed gastric emptying”. This basically means it slows down the transit of food from your stomach to your small intestine. As a result, food sits in your stomach for longer. The combination of these factors means people often feel bloated, nauseous and may develop acid reflux.
In summary, you can see that the science of hangovers is far from simple and it’s not just dehydration! That’s why drinking water doesn’t normally do the trick. With the science out the way, let’s dive straight into how hangover pills work.
How do hangover pills work?
First things first, hangover pills aren’t going to solve all the damaging effects of alcohol mentioned above. They are merely designed to support liver function by providing your body with nutrients that may become depleted while your liver battles to clear alcohol and its harmful by-products from the body.
The best hangover pills on the market contain a selection of vitamins. minerals. amino acids and botanical extracts which are specifically selected to serve a purpose. You’ll notice that most of the ingredients boast anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which we will cover in more detail in the next section.
With all that said, we have to mention that hangover pills haven’t been researched or proven to help reduce hangover symptoms. There are some small-scale studies into certain vitamins and herbal extracts which have shown to be beneficial, but overall there are no solid research papers. Therefore, most of the benefits from hangover pills are reported by customers. And between the brands reviewed in this article, they have thousands of positive reviews.
What Ingredients to look for in hangover pills
Now that we’ve covered our pick of the best hangover pills on the market, let’s take a closer look at the key ingredients to look out for.
They work by providing your body with natural ingredients that support alcohol metabolism, liver health, and contain antioxidants that clear up free radicals produced when alcohol is broken down.
For this reason, hangover pills contain a selection of ingredients that address the following aspects separately.
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) – Dihydromyricetin has been shown in animal studies to speed up alcohol metabolism. In addition to this, a research group in California found that rats given DHM wanted less alcohol and didn’t show as many signs of alcohol intoxication. With that said, the research into DHM is preliminary at best and there are no good human studies. But you’ll find it in all the best hangover pills on the market.(2)
Prickly pear extract – Prickly pear is the fruit of a species of cactus. It’s becoming quite a popular, so-called, “superfood” and you’ll find it for sale in health shops. Prickly pear is packed full of polyphenols which are well-known to be powerful antioxidants. Interestingly, it’s been shown in a small human study to reduce the severity of hangovers when taken before drinking alcohol. And the researchers suggest that the polyphenols help clear up the free radicals that are formed when alcohol is broken down into its by-products. (3)
Ginseng – Ginseng has been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries. The active ingredient is called ginsenoside which has been shown to exhibit potent antioxidant properties. Furthermore, animal studies have shown that ginseng can speed up alcohol metabolism. In fact, it’s also been studied in a small human trial and also found to enhance alcohol breakdown and reduce hangover severity. Once again, the study was very small with only 25 male volunteers.(4)
Support liver health
B vitamins – Vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B6 are essential cofactors involved in the metabolism of the food and drink we consume. Requirements go up during periods of over-indulgence.(5)
Milk thistle – Used traditionally for centuries as a digestive, hangover, and liver health aid. Studies show that milk thistle, silymarin, can reduce the inflammation seen in certain types of liver disease. The active ingredient is called silymarin which is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Although there’s tons of research into milk thistle for liver health, surprisingly, there aren’t good studies for hangovers. Nevertheless, almost all of the hangover pills on the market contain milk thistle for, at the very least, its liver-supporting properties.(6)
L-cysteine – You’ll see this amino acid in most hangover pills. It’s the precursor to glutathione which is one of the most potent antioxidants known to man. Why not include glutathione by itself instead of its precursor you ask?
Well, that’s a fair question. Glutathione is made up of three amino acids (cysteine being one of them). The problem is, if you ingest glutathione, the acid in your stomach just breaks it down into the individual amino acids.
The other two amino acids that glutathione is made of are glutamate and glycine. And the reason why the other two amino acids aren’t included in hangover pills is because your body is able to produce it naturally itself if it becomes deficient. Whereas that’s not the case with Cysteine.
Vitamin C – Most people associate vitamin C with immune health, however, it’s also an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. It also recycles vitamin E which is also another antioxidant.
Alpha-lipoic acid – Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that’s made inside the mitochondrion — also known as the powerhouse of cells — where it helps enzymes turn nutrients into energy. Humans only produce alpha-lipoic acid in small amounts. That’s why many turn to certain foods or supplements to optimize their intake. Animal products like red meat are great sources of alpha-lipoic acid, but plant foods like broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and Brussels sprouts also contain it. That said, supplements can pack up to 1,000 times more alpha-lipoic acid than food sources (7)
Ginger – It’s one of the only extensively researched herbal extracts and has many proven health benefits. The active ingredient in ginger is called gingerol. It’s one of the best-known natural anti-nausea remedies around. On top of this, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Piperine – Nowadays you’ll find piperine included in many supplements on the market. It’s the active ingredient extracted from black pepper. It’s been shown to massively increase the absorption of nutrients from supplements. In other words, it’s a “bioavailability enhancer”. It means piperine has the ability to increase the absorption of certain nutrients from the gut. You may be wondering why this is beneficial, but you’ll be surprised to know that only a fraction of the nutrients you ingest are absorbed. To put it into perspective, studies have shown that vitamin B6 is absorbed 2.5 times higher when taken with piperine.
Ingredients to avoid
Caffeine – The first thing that most people do when hungover in the morning is to reach for a cup of coffee. Believe it or not, it’s probably not the best thing you could do. We all know that caffeine is a stimulant that will make you more awake. But it also has side effects that do not go well with a hangover.
Firstly, caffeine, like alcohol is a diuretic. This means it causes your kidneys to flush out more water – not ideal when already dehydrated from alcohol. Secondly, the stimulant effect of caffeine can increase “hangxiety”, a term used to describe the anxiety associated with a hangover. Finally, it can also worsen alcohol-related shakes and jitters making you feel more on-edge and potentially more clumsy.
That’s why avoiding supplements with caffeine may be the better option and there are several products on the market that do contain it. With that said, the hangover pills in this article don’t include it.
Artificial flow agents – To pack ingredients into pills, “flow agents” are used to keep the machines working smoothly. The most common flow agent used in the supplement world is magnesium stearate. Some people have sensitivities to these artificial flow agents which can cause gastrointestinal upset. The premium hangover pills on the market use natural flow agents like rice flour.
Do hangover pills actually prevent or cure hangovers?
The simple answer is, no. Hangover pills do not prevent or cure hangovers. Although they are often referred to as “prevention” supplements, they do not protect you from the damaging effects of alcohol.
Ultimately, alcohol has so many negative effects on the body that no single product is ever going to be a true “hangover cure”.
The best way to prevent a hangover is to drink less alcohol. Hangover pills work by supporting recovery to a certain extent. And none of the products in this article claim to be a cure.
Therefore, if you’re expecting to wake up hangover-free, you will be disappointed.
With that said, a top hangover pill may help support recovery and could take the edge off how you’re feeling.
Who should use a hangover pill, and why?
Everyone suffers from hangovers differently. It’s estimated that up to 20% of people don’t even get hangovers.
Generally speaking, it’s fair to say that for most of us, hangovers get much worse when we hit our 30’s. Over this age, even a couple of drinks is enough to negatively impact your energy levels and ability to concentrate the next day.
This is around the time when the benefits of hangover pills are seen the most. They are designed for those of us that are starting to feel the effects of drinking small amounts of alcohol as we get older. At this point, they are the perfect addition to your recovery ritual.
Hangover pills are not a “get out of jail free” card. Therefore, if you’re planning on getting wasted, these products may not make much of a difference.
How to use hangover pills for maximum effect
The hangover pills in this article are all designed to be taken before, during, or straight after your last drink. If you forget to take this dose and wake up in the morning hungover, It’s too late.
The reason is, the nutrients in hangover pills need to work while alcohol is still in your system to support metabolism and normal liver function.
Aside from following the instructions on the product packaging, you’ll still need to take all the standard precautions when it comes to drinking alcohol. These include avoiding eating on an empty stomach and drinking enough water.
Things to consider when looking for a hangover pill
With so many hangover pills on the market, it can be hard to decide which one is best for you. Aside from the ingredients, which is by far the most important factor, there are some other things you may also want to consider:
- Is the product easy to travel with?
Holidays are probably the time when you’re most likely to make use of hangover pills. Can you easily pack your hangover pills with you in your suitcase? What’s the size of the packaging? Does it come in handy packets? Although you may not think of these questions now, these are all things to consider when choosing which hangover pill to invest in.
- Is the dosing easy to follow?
Some of the hangover pills on the market require you to take a different number of pills depending on the number of drinks you have. Obviously, it’s not ideal to track this while on a night out.
- Try to avoid proprietary blends
Unfortunately, lots of manufactures use proprietary blends in their formulation. It’s a way of cutting corners to produce a cheaper product. It’s also a way of manufactures hiding exactly how much of each ingredient is included. Knowing exactly what the doses are is important because it determines whether a hangover pill is going to be effective or not.
- Is the packaging recyclable?
We all need to be a little more conscious of the products we are buying so that our long-term effect on the plant is minimized. Unfortunately, most of the hangover pills on the market use plastic bottles which we’d like to see change in the future.
- Where is the product manufactured?
All countries will have manufactures that are bad players and that don’t take care of their products safety standards. Manufactures in the USA and, UK, and other European countries are often regulated by organizations that expect strict safety measures. Of note, always check if your hangover pill is made in a GMP (Good manufacturing practice) certified facility which adds a layer of reassurance.
- Avoid stimulants
None of the products in our list of best hangover pills contain stimulants like caffeine. However, there are several products out there that do. It’s a cheap way to boost energy levels. But high doses of caffeine can exacerbate dehydration and make you feel jittery and on edge. All of which is not ideal when hungover.
Are they safe?
The hangover pills mentioned in this article are made from natural ingredients that are regarded as safe for consumption in dietary supplements. We’ve specifically avoided products that contain stimulants or medicinal compounds which are much more likely to give side effects.
Nevertheless, it’s always possible to have a reaction to particular ingredients. So, if you experience any side effects, stop taking the product and discuss it with your doctor.
It’s also essential that you read the ingredients label carefully to make sure it doesn’t contain anything that you are known to be allergic to.
Furthermore, if you have any medical conditions, are taking another regular medication, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding, it’s even more important to speak to your doctor first before taking any new supplements.
Hangover pills vs other products
There are an array of hangover-related products available to buy on the market. These include patches, drinks, chewable pills, and IV drips. Ultimately, it’s about which mode of delivery you prefer. But there are also some differences in the amount of nutrients each option delivers.
For example, IV drips will provide a lot more water but won’t contain herbal extracts. Whereas patches will deliver nutrients faster into your system but the overall doses may be smaller. On top of that, IV drip options are several times more expensive than the other products on the market so it’s about deciding what suits your budget.
Other things to consider
To be frank, hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol. It’s a way for your body to alert you that you’ve taken it too far the night before. We’ve all been there!
The best way to prevent a hangover is by drinking less alcohol. Hangover pills and making sure to keep well hydrated with water can significantly help. Aside from this, there are a few other things to consider.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach
On an empty stomach, alcohol is absorbed much faster into your bloodstream. This means you get drunk quicker and peak blood alcohol levels will be higher than if you had something to eat before. Peaks and troughs in blood alcohol concentration can wreak havoc on your hormonal systems we talked about earlier which contribute to bad hangover symptoms. To add to this, it doesn’t matter what you eat beforehand. It’s a myth that milk “lines the stomach”. Anything you eat will help.
- Avoid dark-colored drinks
Darker-colored drinks contain higher concentrations of congeners. These are by-products that are produced when alcohol such as whiskey, red wine, and bourbon are aged in barrels. Although they make your drink taste wonderful, they have also been shown to make hangovers much worse. No wonder they say that whiskey hangovers are the worst!
- Rehydration supplements for hydration
Consider investing in rehydration salts and electrolytes to supercharge your hydration efforts. Water alone is also good, but having a rehydration mix at the end of your night will ensure optimum hydration.
- Stay up a little longer
If you get back home and you’re feeling drunk, instead of going straight to sleep, why not stay up a little longer and use that time to take your hangover pills and rehydrate properly? Furthermore, the less alcohol in your bloodstream, the better sleep you’ll have.
Conclusion – What is the best hangover pill?
Hangover pills are becoming really popular nowadays. Everyone is on the lookout for something natural that will reduce the severity of their hangover symptoms.
Thankfully, we now have natural options to help support your recovery and we’ve covered some of the best hangover pills on the market right now. We’ve also covered what the most important ingredients to look out for are as well as factors that make certain products more premium than others.
Remember that hangover pills are not miracle cures and you’ll still have to drink sensibly, and ensure you’re well hydrated.