These scientists think they have found a way to sober up more quickly after drinking alcohol – Ouest-France evening edition

These scientists think they have found a way to sober up more quickly after drinking alcohol – Ouest-France evening edition
These scientists think they have found a way to sober up more quickly after drinking alcohol – Ouest-France evening edition

Excessive alcohol consumption causes several million deaths each year. Despite attempts, there is no truly effective drug to limit its toxicity. However, a new study shows promising results on drunkenness and effects on the liver and intestines.

Nothing to do with the pill invented by Professor Tournesol, to fight against alcoholism, in Tintin and the Picaros. This time, it is not a question of making the taste of the beverage unbearable, but of limiting the damage it causes in the body of its consumer. Every year, alcohol, ingested in excessive quantities, is responsible for several million deaths. It is with this observation that Chinese and European researchers began their study, published on May 13, 2024, in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.

Read also: What is this 10-2-0 rule for limiting alcohol consumption?

Limit ethanal

“Existing therapies only offer temporary relief of symptoms, such as nausea and headaches”, they observe. They instead sought to tackle the toxicity of alcohol. This mainly comes from the conversion, in our bodies, of ethanol into ethanal (or acetaldehyde), believed to be carcinogenic. It is he who attacks the liver and intestines and is particularly responsible for “hangovers”.

For the scientists, it was therefore a question of finding a way to convert this ethanol instead into less toxic acetic acid, or into carbon dioxide and water.

Read also: Three questions to help you navigate your alcohol consumption

Results in mice

They obtained convincing results by developing an oral solution with the barbaric name of“nanozyme biomimetic amyloid hydrogel”. In other words, it is a dairy-based gel, which mimics the enzyme that naturally breaks down alcohol.

The product was tested on mice, which were administered alcohol massively. It made it possible to lower the alcohol level in the rodents’ blood by more than 55% after just four hours and to limit the quantity of ethanal. The subjects also appeared less “drunk”, showing for example a better ability to move and find their way. Positive effects have also been observed regarding liver and intestinal damage.

Read also: Do Bretons really drink more than the rest of France?

“Promising prospects”

It remains to confirm these first lessons in order to consider an application on humans. “Our study offers promising insights into the development of effective and targeted antidotes to alcohol, with potential benefits for liver protection and gastrointestinal health”, estimate the researchers. Encouraging news for the health of chronic consumers, even if the best way to limit the negative impact of alcohol remains to consume it in moderation.

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