Researchers Find Possible Cure for Hangovers

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. surplus / ˈsɜr plʌs / (adj) – more than what is needed

    The country sells its surplus stock of rice to other countries.

  2. relieve / rɪˈliv / (v) – to lessen an unpleasant feeling or pain

    The medicine helped relieve my headache.

  3. induce / ɪnˈdus / (v) – to cause something to happen

    Her stress was induced by her heavy workload.

  4. questionable / ˈkwɛs tʃə nə bəl / (adj) – having reason to be doubted or questioned

    The information we got from that website is questionable. We should look for other sources.

  5. yield / yild / (v) – to produce something

    The research yielded some unexpected results.


Read the text below.

Researchers from Finland discovered that the amino acid L-Cysteine [el SIS-tee-een] can cure hangovers.

L-Cysteine can be naturally found in eggs, dairy products, nuts, and seeds. It is important for the body’s metabolic functions and in making protein. In medical settings, L-Cysteine is used to treat arthritis and some lung diseases.

Previous studies have suggested that as a dietary supplement, L-Cysteine can treat hangovers by helping the liver process surplus alcohol in the body.

To test L-Cysteine’s effectiveness as a hangover cure, the researchers asked 19 male participants to drink 1.5 grams of alcohol per kilogram of their body weight over the course of three hours. Then, the participants took either a placebo or an L-Cysteine tablet.

Results showed that those who took L-Cysteine had fewer hangover symptoms than those who took the placebo. A 600-milligram dose of the amino acid helped relieve stress and anxiety, which are two symptoms associated with hangovers, while a 1,200-milligram dose helped reduce nausea and headaches induced by alcohol.

Some experts, however, find the study’s results questionable. They said that the study’s sample size was too small to yield reliable results, and the research received funding from a company that sells L-Cysteine supplements. The findings also contradict a previous report, which found that NAC—a substance similar to L-Cysteine—is ineffective.

Despite the experts’ doubts, one scientist said that existing trials that involve L-Cysteine showed promising results. She explained that the amino acid maintains the body’s protein structure and helps in the creation of taurine, another amino acid frequently added to energy drinks.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that the study’s findings are questionable? Why or why not?
• Do you think scientists should work on developing an actual cure for hangovers? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Why do you think some people drink too much even though it causes them to experience hangovers? Discuss.
• Do you think people should avoid doing things that may cause them to experience unpleasant symptoms like hangovers? Why or why not?