Une femme se tenant l'estomac et ses mains faisant une forme de cœur

HANG-OVER and Alcohol Metabolism

HANG-OVER promotes the alcohol metabolism process through three elements: NAC, Vitamin E, and grape seed extracts. In this article, we will describe more precisely the functioning of each ingredient.

NAC (N-Acetyl-L-cysteine)

The acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolite of ethanol, harmful to our body and especially to the liver, is formed during the alcohol elimination process.

To eliminate acetaldehyde, the body uses two elements: aldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione. This metabolic cascade is effective but quickly saturated due to a lack of glutathione, leading to numerous undesirable effects. Fortunately, there is a way to counter this problem by properly supplementing the body with NAC.[1]

The most powerful antioxidant in the body is Glutathione. [2] Most foods contain it, but it is difficult to absorb by our digestive system and degrades before entering the body. It plays a crucial role in the liver detoxification process and the functioning of the immune system. Additionally, it helps the body rid itself of toxins present in food and the environment. Glutathione is formed from glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine.

Among these three elements, the one that tends to be deficient in the body is L-cysteine. N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) is a precursor to L-cysteine. Supplementing the body with NAC provides the body with an L-cysteine supply, which promotes the biosynthesis of glutathione, in other words, replenishing its reserves.[3]

Elevating glutathione levels promotes the detoxification process, as it acts directly as an antioxidant by capturing free radicals. NAC has been identified as a therapeutic option in the management of certain pathologies characterized by the development of free radicals.[4]

Adequate glutathione intake helps support the immune system and allows for toxin neutralization.

NAC also helps prevent liver damage

Numerous studies have shown that NAC contributes to preventing liver damage during alcohol consumption.[5] The effectiveness of its hepatoprotective action is demonstrated by clinical use in acetaminophen poisoning; if administered correctly at the right time, liver damage is neutralized. It is referred to as an antidote to acetaminophen poisoning.[6]

The dosage used in these studies suggests that NAC should be taken before alcohol consumption for better effectiveness. This way, glutathione production will be active and able to meet the metabolic needs, effectively eliminating toxic ethanol metabolites.

Vitamin E

During the alcohol elimination process, Acetaldehyde, present in excessive amounts, releases free radicals (nitrogen and oxygen-based) that are toxic to the body.

The Vitamin E is an antioxidant that must be obtained through our diet because the body is incapable of synthesizing it. It helps protect polyunsaturated fatty acids (good fats) and other components of cell membranes (e.g., low-density lipoproteins) against the oxidation of free radicals.[7,8,9]

100 years of research have demonstrated that Vitamin E possesses numerous antioxidant properties, such as trapping reactive oxygen and nitrogen species.[10] Vitamin E is the most abundant and powerful in vivo free radical-trapping antioxidant. [11]

Vitamin E is therefore essential in eliminating free radicals resulting from alcohol consumption.

Grape Seed Extracts

Oxidative stress is the imbalance between oxidative and antioxidative systems of cells and tissues, towards an excess of reactive oxygen species (ROS: free radicals, oxygen ions, peroxides).

Grape seed extract is rich in Oligo-proanthocyanidins (OPCs).

The proanthocyanidins in grape seeds have been shown to be more potent free radical scavengers than vitamins C, E, and β-carotene in vitro and in vivo.[12,13]

The most recognized mechanism of action lies in the inhibition of lipid peroxidation, preventing ROS production, and consequently saving cell membranes from apoptosis (programmed cell death).

Researchers have reported that grape seed proanthocyanidin extracts rebalance cellular redox status through glutathione synthesis pathways.[14] Another study reported that grape seed procyanidins had a protective effect against ethanol-induced toxicity in mouse brain cells.[15]


This combination of antioxidants (Vitamin E, OPC, and NAC) is a wise choice in managing hangovers. With a focus on prevention and detoxification, it helps capture free radicals and combat damage caused by oxidative stress. Moreover, this combination stimulates glutathione biosynthesis, aiding the body in eliminating toxins generated by excessive alcohol consumption.

[1] Morozova TV, Goldman D, Mackay TF, Anholt RR. The genetic basis of alcoholism: multiple phenotypes, many genes, complex networks. Genome Biol. 2012;13(2):239. Published 2012 Feb 20. doi:10.1186/gb-2012-13-2-239. 

[2] Elgindy EA, El-Huseiny AM, Mostafa MI, Gaballah AM, Ahmed TA. N-acetyl cysteine: could it be an effective adjuvant therapy in ICSI cycles?. A preliminary study. Reprod Biomed Online. 2010;20(6):789–796.

[3] Pieralisi A., Martini C., Soto D., Vila M.C., Calvo J.C., Guerra L.N. N-acetylcysteine inhibits lipid accumulation in mouse embryonic adipocytes. Redox Biol. 2016;9:39–44. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2016.05.006.

[4] Shahin AY, Hassanin IM, Ismail AM, Kruessel JS, Hirchenhain J. Effect of oral N-acetyl cysteine on recurrent preterm labor following treatment for bacterial vaginosis. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009;104(1):44–48.[23] Tunek A. Possible mechanisms behind the anti-inflammatoire effects of N-acetyl cysteine; is metabolism essential? Eur Respir Rev. 1992; 2(7): 35-38. 

[5] N-acetyl cysteine in the treatment of alcohol use disorder in patients with liver disease: Rationale for further research. Kirsten C. Morley, Andrew Baillie, Wim Van Den Brink, Kate E. Chitty, Kathleen Brady, Sudie E. Back, Devanshi Seth, Greg Sutherland, Lorenzo Leggio & Paul S. Haber. Pages 667-675 | Received 28 Mar 2018, Accepted 13 Jul 2018, Accepted author version posted online: 18 Jul 2018, Published online: 01 Aug 2018

[6] Acetaminophen Toxicity Treatment & Management, Updated: Jan 17, 2020 author heading Author: Susan E Farrell, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller

[7] World Health Organization (WHO) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Vitamin and Mineral Requirements in Human Nutrition: Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation, Bangkok, Thailand, 21–30 September 1998. WHO, FAO; Geneva, Switzerland: 2004.

[8] Sato K, Niki E, Shimasaki H. Free radical-mediated chain oxidation of low density lipoprotein and its synergistic inhibition by vitamin E and vitamin C. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1990.

[9] Bowry VW, Ingold KU, Stocker R. Vitamin E in human low-density lipoprotein: when and how this antioxidant becomes a pro-oxidant. Biochem J. 1992.

[10] Zingg J.-M. Vitamin E: An overview of major research directions. Mol. Asp. Med. 2007.

[11] Jasmeet Kaur 1, Sonia Shalini, M P Bansal. Influence of vitamin E on alcohol-induced changes in antioxidant defenses in mice liver. Toxicol Mech Methods.2010 Feb

[12] Rani V., Deep G., Singh R.K., Palle K., Yadav U.C. Oxidative stress and metabolic disorders: Pathogenesis and therapeutic strategies. Life Sci. 2016.

[13] Bagchi D., Swaroop A., Preuss H.G., Bagchi M. Free Radical Scavenging, Antioxidant and Cancer Chemoprevention by Grape Seed Proanthocyanidin: An Overview. Mutat. Res. Fundam. Mol. Mech. Mutagen. 2014.

[14] Grape seed procyanidins prevent oxidative injury by modulating the expression of antioxidant enzyme systems. Puiggros F, Llópiz N, Ardévol A, Bladé C, Arola L, Salvadó MJJ Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jul 27.

[15] Direct in vivo evidence of protective effects of grape seed procyanidin fractions and other antioxidants against ethanol-induced oxidative DNA damage in mouse brain cells. Guo L, Wang LH, Sun B, Yang JY, Zhao YQ, Dong YX, Spranger MI, Wu CF J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Jul 11.

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