Travel product review: Recoverthol

Tony Hall, Travel Daily’s editorial director, Asia Pacific, reviews a new product that could make ‘the day after’ drinking while travelling much more enjoyable:

There are few better indulgences in life than sipping on that first glass of quality wine, champagne, beer or spirit as you settle into your chair while reviewing the movie selection at the commencement of a long-haul flight to an exciting destination.

The first glass tastes amazing, the second even better when the effects of altitude supercharge the flow of alcohol though the bloodstream and the third glass is probably where we should all stop. Drinks taste so good in the air but it takes only one too many to feel less than enjoyable after a long and dehydrating flight at 40,000 feet.

The side effect of over-consumption are not pleasant – a queasy stomach, dry mouth and pounding headache all combine to dampen the enjoyment of our favourite drink. There are many unproven cures that do little to alleviate the symptoms – greasy food, water overloading, sugar drinks and even the non-nonsensical consumption of even more alcohol just adds to the problem.

Drinkers worldwide have been searching for a hangover cure since the first brewing of alcohol back in ancient times. That was, until now, with new product Recoverthol.

Australian liquid vitamin company Plus Daily has released hangover prevention cure Recoverthol. The product is a natural 2ml clear, tasteless TGA listed medicine that is added to your first drink of the night and helps the liver metabolise alcohol more efficiently to reduce the symptoms associated with drinking in excess. 

How it works

According to the Recoverthol website, ” It contains ingredients that are found naturally in your body. When you drink alcohol, your liver gets to work using Alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme and its cofactors (i.e. Recoverthol), to slowly filter out the alcohol in your system. An extra dose of these cofactors WHILST you are drinking, is essential to replenish what you have used up in order to prevent getting a hangover. WHO recommends we should only drink 2 standard drinks per night, because that is what our liver can handle.

But let’s face it, sometimes we drink more than we should. So when you indulge you need to have a Recoverthol. Without it, you are going to stress your liver. Recoverthol is not a blend of amino acids or exotic herbs. Recoverthol is the only product that is scientifically formulated and tested, based on medical knowledge of alcohol metabolism. Recoverthol is the real deal. It works, because it is simple and only has what your body needs.”

Furthermore, the website explains, “When you drink, your liver gets to work using an enzyme to slowly filter out the alcohol in your system. Now some people have more and some have less of this. Because you only have so much of this in your body if you drink more that what your liver can handle (i.e. 2 standard drinks) well the alcohol is going to tax your liver, interrupts your sleep, makes you tired and give you a hangover.

When we exercise, we need extra water to rehydrate. The same principle applies when drinking alcohol. You need replace the ADH cofactors that you have used up. So just like you have some water when you exercise, you need Recoverthol when you drink alcohol.

The bulk of ingested alcohol is metabolised in the liver and initiated by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). This enzyme breaks alcohol down so that it can be processed more easily by the body. In order to work, this enzyme requires helper compounds, namely, zinc ions and NAD cofactor (constructed using Nicotinamide). Zinc ions hold the ethanol in place, while NAD performs the reaction.

This enzyme, in our liver and stomach, has been reported to effectively detoxify about one drink each hour. When people drink more than one alcoholic drink per hour, alcohol cannot be metabolized efficiently. As a result, toxic by-products build up, causing the symptoms of hangover such as headache, fatigue, nausea, dehydration, and sensitivity to light etc.

By providing an additional supply of alcohol dehydrogenase cofactor to the liver when drinking exceeds one drink per hour, the metabolism of alcohol can carry on, preventing a build up of toxic by-products and the subsequent development of hangover symptoms. The more efficient metabolism of alcohol will also serve to protect the liver from the damaging effects of alcohol metabolism.

Some people have genetically lower levels of ADH enzymes, including women and some ethnic groups. This causes a faster build up of toxic by-products when drinking alcohol, and possibly, more severe hangover symptoms.

Unfortunately, the liver’s stores of ADH cofactors quickly run out when larger amounts of alcohol enter the system. This causes a toxic by-product called acetaldehyde to build up in the body, causing the symptoms of hangover.

Although body weight is a factor, part of the reason women should not keep up with men drink-for-drink, is because women have less acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. This can often make their hangovers worse. The female body typically takes longer to break down alcohol than the male body, as a result of having lower levels of naturally occurring alcohol metabolizing enzymes.”

The company’s marketing materials state that the mechanism of action of the ingredients of this formula has been scientifically proven to prevent the excessive buildup of toxins in the body that are responsible for the development of hangover symptoms.

The real test: putting it to use

So the theory sounds plausible, but the only way to test the product is to try it. I have a love of Pinot Noir red wine. I just can’t get enough, whether it is from Australia, New Zealand, France or Chile – I like it so much that I may soon need some serious counselling.

Normally 1-2 glasses at dinner does not affect me. This aligns with the company’s claims that the body can naturally metabolise two alcoholic drinks on its own.  A third glass however will usually disrupt my sleep, sometimes bring on night sweats and cause me to wake up with a small, dull headache.

This is not a good start to a new day, especially when important travel, work or family time is required. It is only after I rehydrate and exercise vigourously that the after-effects of my favourite evening drink dissipate.

Test one: 6 standard drinks

A 750ml bottle of red wine contains 8 standard drinks. My test involved dissolving on dose of Recoverhol into the first glass and slowly consuming around three (of my over-generous) glasses of Pinot Noir for the equivalent of 6 standard drinks before and during dinner. This is probably more than the recommended 4 standard drinks per 2ml dose but a good test nevertheless.

The verdict: I experienced no night sweats and I woke up a little tired but with no headache whatsoever. I did not exactly bound out of bed but after a 60-minute bike ride, I felt as good as any day without any wine the night before.

Test two: 6 standard drinks two nights later

(Just to check it really does work)

The verdict: Exactly the same positive results as above.

Test three: long-haul flight Brisbane to Bangkok

Aboard Singapore Airlines A350, duration 7.5 hours

Flying will increase the impact and dehydrating effects of alcohol especially if little food or water is consumed. Often, travelers will notice increased euphoria when consuming alcohol at altitude but a tired groggy feeling when back on the ground.

My final test involved adding Recoverthol to the first of four glasses of red wine while trying to consume a few glasses of water and eating two small meals during the 8 hour flight.  

The verdict: Not as impressive as the results when not flying but a noticeably better feeling when back on the ground. Ideally, air travelers would take Recoverthol with the first drink, limit alcohol intake and drink plenty of water together with some healthy food.

Conclusion

Recoverthol is an impressive product that definitely seems to reduce the effects of alcohol consumption. It would be interesting to assess its comparative effectiveness between men and women and people with differencing body mass.

Despite this quite encouraging breakthrough in hangover relief, drinkers of alcohol should always consume responsibly, eat healthily and counter the effects of dehydration with water. There is a helpful Recoverthol app available in the Google Play store and the App store which helps monitor and calculate the effects of drinking alcohol on a big night out.

For more information and stockists, visit recoverthol.com.au.

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