There are a number of events in life that simply slip through the fold of memory with ease, but when it comes to your first hangover, that’s a sensation you can likely recall in a heartbeat. From the metallic taste in your mouth to a desert heat surrounding your tongue that renders it limp and lifeless, that first hangover – and the subsequent experiences that followed – are enough to see you quit the booze, if only momentarily. And while the headache is something we can only groan about, it’s safe to say that no amount of Ibuprofen is enough to conquer it. But perhaps there is a pill big enough to tackle the hangover and make it obsolete: enter Swedish brand Myrkl.
Claiming to have put an end to hangovers, the pill is the first product in history that claims to break down booze effectively. According to Myrkl, up to 70 per cent of alcohol can be broken down in the body within just 60-minutes of taking the pill. Priced at 30 pounds for 30 pills, it seems like a god-send; the kind of medical genius most have been clambering for since they first put a schooner to their lips and felt the cold frothy wash down their throat. But to claim that simply popping a pill will see your hangovers be a thing of the past is a huge call. So, does it actually work?
You should know that the development of this supplement didn’t just land overnight. Rather, it’s been in the works for the past 30 years since first invented by scientist Johan de Faire in 1990. The pill contains the bacteria Bacillus Coagulans and Bacillus Subtilis and the amino acid L-Cysteine, which work together to break alcohol down into its constituent parts – namely, water and carbon dioxide. It also contains vitamin B12 which Myrkl claims will help drinkers “wake up feeling their best” as the alcohol is broken down before it reaches the liver, helping users to feel “refreshed.”
Per instructions, users are to take one pill 12 hours before drinking and the second pill an hour before they start drinking. So, for those who aren’t too organised when it comes to their partying, the pill’s capabilities will be undermined by your lack of timing. But, if you really want to go hard without the dreaded hangover sweats and exhaustion, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
According to research conducted by the pill’s manufacturer, pharmaceutical firm De Faire Medical, taking the pills before drinking help to cut alcohol concentration in the body by half within 30 minutes of your first drink. While it might sound like news worthy of celebration, experts are warning not to get your hopes up.
According to Joris Verster, principal investigator at the Division of Pharmacology at Utrecht University and founder of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group, “There is no scientific evidence that this product is effective against hangovers.” Verster added, “It has never been investigated in this context, it concerns the acute effects observed directly after consuming just one glass of vodka.”
In an interview with The Independent, Dr Dawn Harper warned that “this is not a product for people that want to get drunk. Taking Myrkl prior to alcohol consumption will make getting drunk much more expensive and will take significantly longer.” She also added that the pill is best suited for moderate drinkers as they will only get “some absorption and some of that jolliness that you experience when drinking alcohol.”
Still, there is hope. Paul Skett, a forensic pharmacologist specialising in the metabolism of alcohol, says that slowing down the absorption of alcohol could be a solution. “The research paper that Myrkl has published actually says you need to take the pill for at least a week before drinking.” He adds, “[The pill] reduces the absorption of alcohol by using a probiotic, which looks to be normal bacteria.”