First off: if you haven't heard of Pedialyte, what is it? And why does this name come up when discussing hangovers?
Pedialyte is a drink that's available over-the-counter to reduce dehydration. While it's typically marketed for dehydrated children, it has recently come up in debate about fighting hangovers.
Does Pedialyte help hangovers?
A big component of hangovers comes from being dehydrated by drinking alcohol. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it causes the body to remove liquids much quicker than other liquids. This can be from sweating, but more importantly, from peeing.
After a night of drinking, you might experience some dehydration symptoms which include:
- feeling tired
- feeling thirsty
- a dry mouth, lips and eyes
- feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
Of course, dehydration doesn't only happen when you drink alcoholic beverages, but can occur in a variety of situations
So how can Pedialyte help hangovers? The ingredients are targeted for dehydration and can minimise these symptoms after alcohol. In the classic version of Pedialute, the ingredients include:
- water (always needed when you're drinking alcohol)
- electrolytes (sodium, chloride, and potassium)
- dextrose (a form of the sugar glucose which helps balance your sugar levels)
- zinc ( a mineral involved in many body functions such as proper functioning of enzymes and the immune system)
If you've ever done research in minimising hangover symptoms, it's likely you've also come across "Electrolytes." These are minerals that fight to maintain a proper balance of things in your body, like the body’s water balance, pH, and nerve function.
But did you know that according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), there’s no correlation between the severity of electrolyte imbalance and the severity of a hangover?
It's obvious that Pedialyte can reduce your dehydration (even when it's caused by alcohol). However, there are other reasons for hangover symptoms that Pedialyte won't address, such as alcohol flushing, an upset stomach, rapid heart rate, or poor sleep from alcohol.
Another even bigger complement to hangovers is toxic acetaldehyde. In short, alcohol enters the body when we're drinking. The alcohol is broken down into acetaldehyde which is quite harmful to the body and causes a whole assortment of negative symptoms. Eventually the body breaks down acetaldehyde fully (although this process is interrupted if you have Asian Flush).
If acetaldehyde build-up is bad, and you suffer from Asian Flush, you might even experience a 2-day hangover.
Having acetaldehyde accumulating in your body can cause some really awful hangover symptoms the next day. Pedialyte does nothing to reduce acetaldehyde.
So what can we do instead?
Pedialyte alternatives for hangovers
Looking for a supplement is one option for finding a Pedialyte alternative for hangovers. Since this drink isn't created with hangovers in mind, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to hangover prevention or reduction.
A product that helps the body metabolise alcohol quickly can help greatly reduce hangover symptoms, so looking at product ingredients is the first step.
Supplements like the Asian flush pill work at fighting the internal process when drinking alcohol and breaking down alcohol quickly to avoid negative symptoms. Sunset ingredients like NAC, Quercetin, Bromelain and L-Theanine (among others) are really strong contenders for fighting hangover symptoms.
Is Pedialyte a hangover cure?
Definitely not! It's important to remember that very little research has gone into the correlation between Pedialyte and hangovers. No matter what stories you've heard from friends, Pedialyte is definitely not a hangover cure. While some people swear by Pedialyte for their hangovers, there is much better alternatives out there.
Final verdict for Pedialyte for hangovers
While Pedialyte does help with dehydration, it doesn't actively fight hangovers. There are a lot other symptoms and causes like acetaldehyde that Pedialyte does not address, making it a poor choice for hangover prevention.
Instead, supplements with proper ingredients to break down acetaldehyde can help reduce hangover symptoms much more effectively.