Our hero, Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall, spent a decade drinking booze to find the best hangover cure. Wow.
Disappointed by modern medicine, he decided to find a remedy himself — subjecting himself to countless nights of binge drinking and horrific mornings-after in the process. Then wrote a book about his findings.
To establish his hangover base line, Shaughnessy recorded everything he drank on a night out and assessed the severity of his symptoms the next day. Then, he proceeded to drink the same stuff another night, but added in a hangover remedy and tracked its effects.
He says, “It was a process of elimination until I got . . . ingredients that I thought held some merit.”
He tried hundreds of so-called treatments. These spanned everything from bizarre culinary cures (eels and pickled sheep’s eyes) to high-end hangover helpers (a pricey but effective nutrient IV) to the classic “hair of the dog” strategy (one Bishop-Stall used often; the man was drinking almost every day, after all).
Although he sometimes called in friends for research assistance, he was primarily his own guinea pig. He says the experiment really took a toll on his body.
He gained weight, had problems with his circulatory system and his “mental health took a whack too.”
But his exhaustive research paid off: In the new book, “Hungover: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for the Cure”, he did find a reliable hangover cure.
Shaughnessy recommends a “high dose” — about 1,500 milligrams — of an amino acid called N-acetylcysteine (NAC). NAC, he explains, is “sort of a magic ingredient”: It helps the body produce a powerful anti-oxidant called glutathione. (NAC is used in hospital settings to treat Tylenol overdoses.)
Along with NAC, Bishop-Stall recommends taking vitamins B1, B6 and B12, which allegedly make NAC more effective, along with boswellia (frankincense), a supposed anti-inflammatory, and milk thistle, an herb that contains even more glutathione.
But one doctor (Dr. Edward Goldberg, an internist and gastroenterologist in Manhattan), is skeptical of Bishop-Stall’s cure.
“These supplements . . . are more for a chronic alcoholic with liver damage, not a casual drinker with a hangover.” He says that milk thistle and NAC may help with alcohol-related problems, such as liver inflammation and damage, but he notes, “The liver does not cause a hangover; dehydration does.”
He does concede frankincense might help. Although under-researched, if it truly has anti-inflammatory properties, “then it could theoretically help with a hangover in the same way Advil would.” Still, he’d rather see his patients drink 2 liters of coconut water or some Pedialyte before bed.