Magic Bullet: hangover prevention?

Magic Bullet

A "nutritional beverage" called Magic Bullet claims to prevent hangovers if you drink it during an evening of partying. Does it work, and if so how? I'm investigating.

Courtesy photo

My father recently became a distributor for a beverage called Magic Bullet that aims to help you “detox as you retox;” that is, it aims to prevent hangovers when you drink it during or after a big night of drinking. It can be consumed on its own or used as a mixer. A few of us in the family have put it to the test; the first time I tried it, I drank a can after a long day and night of drinking on Thanksgiving. I was not hung over the next morning (though I was extremely tired, but that may have been due to my snoring roommate that night.) I tried it again on a date, this time using it as cocktail mixers. Despite having a few drinks and a bunch of different types of alcohol, I wasn’t hungover the next morning. So, in my very limited experience, it does seem to work! The blood orange flavor is also pretty good – I’d say it’s a touch sweeter than San Pellegrino, but far less sweet than orange soda.

What does it claim to do?

From their website, “Magic Bullet is a tasty, nutritional & healthy beverage that is designed to support and accelerate your body’s own process of eliminating alcohol toxins, helping ensure you are fresh the next morning.” They claim “Magic Bullet’s natural ingredients will reinforce the body’s own production of antioxidants, which are quickly depleted when neutralizing alcohol toxins.” They further note, “Magic Bullet is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.”

As with the claims made by Magic Bullet, everything here is just research I did to see what all these ingredients are supposed to do. Nothing here should be taken as medical advice and you should always talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about anything you put in your body!

What’s in it and why?

The website points to a “proprietary mix of Milk Thistle Extract, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Lipoic Acid, Turmeric, Schisandra Berry, Grape Seed Extract and Yellow Dock Root [that] each have a reputation for fighting hangovers.” I decided to check out each ingredient to see why it might have been included.

Milk Thistle Extract

The University of Maryland Medical Center says that “several scientific studies suggest that substances in milk thistle (especially a flavonoid called silymarin) protect the liver from toxins” and that “silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” However, this information is with the caveat that “although a number of animal studies demonstrate that milk thistle can be helpful in protecting the liver, results in human studies are mixed.”

N-Acetyl Cysteine

According to WebMD, “N-acetyl cysteine comes from the amino acid L-cysteine.” and “it is also an antioxidant.”

“N-acetyl cysteine is used to counteract acetaminophen (Tylenol) and carbon monoxide poisoning. N-acetyl cysteine is also used for preventing alcoholic liver damage.”

(Alpha) Lipoic Acid

From WebMD, “Alpha-lipoic acid is a vitamin-like chemical called an antioxidant. Alpha-lipoic acid is used in the body to break down carbohydrates and to make energy for the other organs in the body.”

“Alpha-lipoic acid seems to work as an antioxidant, which means that it might provide protection to the brain under conditions of damage or injury. The antioxidant effects might also be helpful in certain liver diseases.”

Turmeric
A "nutritional beverage" claims to prevent hangovers if you drink it during an evening of partying. Does it work, and if so how? I'm investigating.

photo credit: Junayed M Chowdhury Turmeric via photopin (license)

Turmeric is a yellow spice often used in Indian food. I’ve written about turmeric’s anti-inflammatory uses before. The University of Maryland Medical Center says, “Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems.”

“Many studies have taken place in test tubes and animals. Turmeric may not work as well in humans. Some studies have used an injectable form of curcumin, the active substance in turmeric, and not all studies agree. Finally, some of the studies show conflicting evidence.”

Finally, UMMC notes that anyone taking blood thinners, drugs that reduce stomach acid, or diabetes medications should talk to their doctor before taking medicinal doses of turmeric. As it’s unclear how much is in the proprietary blend, you may want to proceed cautiously here.

Schisandra Berry

WebMD notes that “Schisandra is a plant. The fruit is used as food and also to make medicine.”

“Schisandra is also used for preventing early aging and increasing lifespan, normalizing blood sugar and blood pressure, stimulating the immune system, and speeding recovery after surgery. It is also used for treating liver disease (hepatitis) and protecting the liver from poisons.”

“The chemicals in schisandra improve liver function by stimulating enzymes (proteins that speed up biochemical reactions) in the liver and promoting liver cell growth.”

Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract contains high concentrations of Vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, and oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. They say “a study of healthy volunteers found that taking grape seed extract substantially increased blood levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that destroy free radicals, which are harmful compounds in the body that damage DNA (genetic material) and even cause cell death. Scientists believe free radicals contribute to aging, as well as the development of a number of health problems, including heart disease and cancer.”

This time, they warn “grape seed extract can potentially affect medications broken down by the liver. Numerous medications are broken down by the liver, so check with your physician. Also, OPCs in grape seed extract may interact with blood thinners.”

Yellow Dock Root
A "nutritional beverage" called Magic Bullet claims to prevent hangovers if you drink it during an evening of partying. Does it work, and if so how? I'm investigating.

Courtesy photo

From WebMD: “Yellow dock is an herb. The leaf stalks are used in salads. The root and fruits are used as medicine. Yellow dock is used for pain and swelling (inflammation) of nasal passages and the respiratory tract, and as a laxative and tonic. It is also used to treat bacterial infections and sexually transmitted diseases. Yellow dock is also sometimes used to treat intestinal infections, fungal infections, and for arthritis.”

This is the only one that doesn’t make immediate sense to me. I’m guessing the anti-inflammatory properties are what they are after, though the laxative effect is a bit concerning. I didn’t experience any issues with this either time I drank it.

So, it would seem that the ingredients are either antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, or liver function improvers. The combination, if everything works as described above, might prevent cell damage and help the liver process all the booze.

The bottom line: This does seem to make a difference the next morning. As long as you’re not concerned about any of the ingredients interacting with your medications, it’s worth giving it a go.

My review policy and disclosure: I received the product reviewed in this article for free, because my father is a distributor for the brand. I have done a fair and honest review of the product, and promise that I always will.

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