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Evidence based

NAD Boosters: What Are They And Do They Work?

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

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AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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Evidence based

NAD boosters (aka NAD+) have gained massive interest in recent years because their decline in our body has been strongly linked to aging and age-related medical conditions.

NAD is one of the most abundant molecules found in all living organisms and is essential for metabolism, energy production, and DNA repair to mention just a few of its functions.

Although the research into NAD and aging is still in its early days, several animal and human studies have shown that NAD levels fall as we get older and that replacing or “boosting” levels could have health implications.

Hence boosting NAD levels either naturally, through food or supplements is a hot topic right now.

With the introductions out the way. Let’s get straight into our in-depth guide on NAD boosters.

Table of contents

What is the hype around NAD boosters?

NAD is short for “Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide” and is essential for all the processes in our body that require energy. In other words, it’s crucial for life and present in all our cells.

The reason why NAD is gaining so much interest recently is that it’s involved in sirtuin activation which are enzymes linked to the aging process. To put it simply, some of the functions of sirtuins include DNA repair, controlling inflammation, and antioxidative defenses. The levels of which all decline with age.

Sirtuins are NAD-dependent enzymes and boosting NAD has been shown to upregulate sirtuins. Hence the massive interest in NAD boosters in recent times.

What is a NAD booster?

When people talk about NAD boosters, they are generally referring to supplements that have been shown to increase NAD levels in our cells.

So, what is a NAD and what are so-called NAD boosters?

To understand this, we first need to go into the science of how NAD is made in the body.

In simple terms, NAD is made of 3 components.
1- Vitamin B3
2- Sugar
3- Phosphate

The first step to making NAD is the combination of Vitamin B3 and Sugar. This molecule is called NR (Nicotinamide Riboside).

The next step is adding a phosphate to NR which makes a molecule called NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide)

The final step is putting two NMN molecules together to finally produce NAD.

When it comes to NAD boosters, NR and NMN are the most well-known because they are the precursors to NAD. And on that note, studies have shown that supplementing NR and NMN, in both animals and humans, increases NAD levels.(1)

There are other NAD boosters including Resveratrol which has been shown to increase NAD indirectly (more on this later).

You may be thinking, why not just take NAD supplements to boost NAD levels?

It’s a good question with a simple answer: NAD is way too large to be absorbed through the gut. Whereas NR and NMN and resveratrol can be absorbed directly.

On that note, we’ll now take a closer look at the three most popular NAD boosting supplements on the market – NR, NMN, and Resveratrol.

NAD boosting supplements

Before we go any further, it’s important to emphasize that efforts to boost NAD levels should be approached with caution. That’s because the science is relatively new and a lot more research needs to be done.

With that said, there are some promising studies that show NR and NMN boost NAD levels.

1. Nicotinaide riboside (NR)

NR was first discovered in the early 2000s in yeast. It was fed to yeast and they lived 30% longer which scientists linked to higher levels of NAD.(2)

Since then, its NR has been studied in numerous animal and human studies and has been shown to boost NAD levels.

These studies have shown that doses of around 250mg to 1000mg a day didn’t have any side effects and were well tolerated.(3)

It’s important to mention that despite the good safety profile reported in these studies, it’s not been confirmed over long periods (i.e several years) and the number of people it was tested on is relatively small compared to proper drug trials.

2. Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)

After NR is absorbed from the gut, it goes around the body and is taken up by your cells. Here it’s converted into NMN by adding a phosphate to it.

In other words, NMN is the next step up from NR in the road to producing NAD. And for that reason, many scientists believe that NMN is superior at boosting NAD levels. Simply because it’s the direct precursor to NAD.

It seems like the closer you get to NAD, the better. And NMN being the closest molecule to NAD is naturally the frontrunner in this race.

NMNs superiority at boosting NAD has been shown in some animal studies but it’s still a hotly debated topic that needs more research.(4)

The main downside in opting for NMN over NR is that it’s much more expensive. Simply because adding the phosphate component to NR to make NMN is expensive from a chemistry perspective.

3. Resveratrol

We mentioned earlier that NAD boosters are gaining interest because they activate sirtuins that resist aging and the diseases associated with it.

In the early 2000s, one of the first discovered sirtuin activators was resveratrol which raised activity 13-fold. And it’s thought that resveratrol partly does this by enhancing NAD production in cells.(5)

Compared to NR and NMN, it’s relatively well studied with 20 years of research into it. The main problem with resveratrol is that its relatively insoluble. This means it doesn’t dissolve in water and therefore isn’t absorbed well through the gut. However, in the presence of fat, this problem is mitigated. In other words, if you’re planning on taking resveratrol, it should be taken with a meal.

Do NAD boosters work?

The answer that everyone wants to know: Do NAD boosters actually work?

This depends on what you’re asking.

Do NAD boosters such as NMN, NR, and Resveratrol actually boost NAD levels. The answer to this is yes because it’s been measured in animals and humans. For example, oral administration of NMN shows NAD levels are boosted by 2-3x.(6)

But if the question is more specifically: Do NAD boosters work to slow down aging?

Then the answer is – we don’t know yet.

In animal studies, boosting NAD levels has been shown to have a positive effect on the hallmarks of aging. These include reducing inflammation, enhancing mitochondrial function, and improving insulin sensitivity.(7)

But this doesn’t mean it will do the same in humans. There are trials underway currently to see if supplementation with NAD boosters will have a similar impact in humans, but it’s a long way away from having concrete evidence.

How fast do supplements boost NAD levels?

You may be interested to know that NMN and NR raise NAD levels pretty quickly.

For example, studies have shown that with NR supplements, it takes around 9-10 days to get to peak NAD boosting levels. And NMN is a little faster than that.

How can you boost NAD naturally?

Aside from taking supplements to boost NAD levels, we can also naturally boost levels. The research suggests that when the body experiences adversity, the longevity genes which repair and restore our cells are turned on.

Next up, we’ll go into two well-researched adversity states that have been shown to have health benefits. With that said, this won’t be relatable to everyone and people with health conditions should speak to their doctor before trying this out.

Fasting

Specific fasting regimens are beyond the scope of this article. But being in a fasted or “Low caloric” state activates genes that promote NAD production.

In other words, when we are hungry, genes come on that make more NAD. This NAD is used by sirtuins as fuel to carry out their restorative functions.

Scientists have theories of why this may be. And it’s all to do with evolution and how not having enough food causes the cells in our body to “hunker down” for the long haul. Rather than being in a growth phase.(8)

NAD boosters are thought to mimic the fasted state by upregulating sirtuin activity and our natural defense mechanisms.

High Intensity Exercise

There are lots of interpretations of what high-intensity exercise means. But essentially any physical activity that raises your heart level and causes a degree of physical struggle has been shown in studies to boost NAD levels via various mechanisms.(9)

High-intensity exercise, in particular, has been shown to be especially effective for not only boosting NAD levels but also activating other genes that are involved in longevity.

Once again, it’s thought that from an evolutionary perspective, physical stress on the body, associated with high-intensity exercise, is another trigger for genes involved in repair being turned on.

There’s a fine balance between fasting for too long or exercising too much and everyone has different limits. So you should speak to your physician before considering embarking on significant lifestyle changes.

NAD intravenous drips

We mentioned earlier that taking NAD orally doesn’t work because it’s too large a molecule to get through the gut into the bloodstream. Th

There are companies that offer NAD via an IV drip to bypass this obstacle and anecdotally people report better levels of energy, endurance, and muscle function.

But at the time of writing, there are no randomized placebo-controlled trials to prove this. So we don’t know for sure whether NAD IV drips actually work.

What foods boost NAD?

A better question may be what foods are high in vitamin B3, NR, NMN, and Resveratrol because these have been shown to directly or indirectly boost NAD levels.

The list is vast but certain foods such as oily fish, whole grains, and green vegetables are particularly good. But there’s no surprise there as these feeds are good for health for so many reasons.

Resveratrol is found in high amounts in fruit and vegetables that are often deep red or purple in color. For example grapes blueberries and cranberries. It’s also found in peanuts, pistachios, grapes, red and even cocoa, and dark chocolate. 

With all the said, the doses used in the studies that measured a positive effect on NAD levels are several thousand times higher than what you could achieve from dietary sources. Therefore, boosting NAD from food alone is unrealistic.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider eating more fruit and veg in your diet!

NAD boosters: Final words

That brings us to the end of our dive into NAD boosters. It’s a hot topic right now and there’s lots of interest around boosting NAD to slow aging and, therefore, reduce the burden of age-related diseases.

But it’s important to bear in mind that the research into this area is new. There are no large-scale or long-term studies in humans that have proven NAD boosting supplements have positive effects on health.

Thus far there aren’t any major safety concerns in the studies done so far, but it’s not been tested long term in humans. Therefore you should approach with caution and speak to your physician.

With all that said, the research is fascinating and exciting. And we look forward to updating this article as more evidence from the research community comes out.

Evidence based

How To Choose a Resveratrol Supplement

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

X

AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

Posted on

Evidence based

If you’ve landed on this article, the chances are that you already know about the perceived health benefits of resveratrol. But navigating through all the different resveratrol supplements on the market to decide which one to choose can be confusing, to say the least.

That’s why in this article, we aim to clear things up so you can make an informed decision on which resveratrol supplement to choose.

And if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, it’s really quite important to know the basics before choosing which supplement to invest in. Because there’s a lot of variation on the market and the most expensive products aren’t necessarily the highest quality.

So, with the introductions out the way. Let’s get straight into how to choose the best resveratrol supplement.

Table of contents

Resveratrol – The Basics

Before we get into how to choose a resveratrol supplement, we first need to go over some of the basics of where resveratrol comes from because it’s relevant to understanding the science later on.

Resveratrol belongs to a class of compounds called polyphenols. These are antioxidants that are partly responsible for the vibrant colors of plants and their fruits.

Resveratrol is most commonly associated with red wine and grapes. But it’s actually found in over 70 species of plants and foods including berries, chocolate, and peanuts to name a few.(1)

Plants that are more “stressed”, produce more resveratrol. It’s a protective mechanism plants have evolved over millions of years to survive drought and damage from external organisms such as fungi. For example, grapes that are intentionally watered less to produce certain types of wine are known to contain higher amounts of resveratrol.

When it comes to supplements, most brands on the market use Japanese knotweed extract (polygonum cuspidatum) which contains very high amounts of resveratrol.

Japanese knotweed (polygonum cuspidatum)

What is the best form of resveratrol to take (Cis vs Trans Resveratrol)?

One of the first questions people ask is what’s the deal with cis and trans-resveratrol.

Resveratrol comes in two forms, the cis form and the trans form, both of which refer to its chemical structure.

Most, if not all of the supplements on the market use the trans form. This is simply because it’s more biologically active and has been researched most extensively. It’s not to say that cis resveratrol is useless. It’s just not as active and therefore has relatively less impact.

So when it comes to choosing a resveratrol supplement, take a closer look at the ingredients table and opt for trans-resveratrol.

What is the purest form of resveratrol?

Now that we know that trans-resveratrol is the optimal form, now you’ll want to look at the purity. Largely speaking, most of the supplements on the market contain one of two purities – 50% and 98%.

So to put this into perspective, 1000mg of 50% purity resveratrol will contain 500mg of resveratrol. Whereas a 1000mg of 98% purity will contain 980mg of resveratrol.

And this is a crucial point to appreciate because supplements marketing “1000mg of resveratrol” with only 50% purity are not offering the same thing as a 1000mg dose with 98% purity.

Example label with 98% purity

Don’t get duped by the large dose numbers in marketing material. Take a closer look at the label and opt for 98% purity resveratrol. This way you can compare pricing and value for money much more easily.

Choosing the best resveratrol dose per day

As with most dietary supplements, there is no official “recommended daily dose” per day of resveratrol. It’s not a well-established and extensively researched supplement like, for example, vitamin C and D.

That’s why most supplements on the market base the dosage on available studies in humans. There are a handful of studies that have shown doses of around 500mg a day are well tolerated with no reported problems.(3)(4)

Higher doses of around 1000mg have been shown to inhibit certain liver enzymes which can have serious implications if you are taking certain medications. Hence speaking to your doctor before taking a supplement is essential.

It’s very important to highlight that there are only a few studies on resveratrol dose. Nowhere near enough by scientific standards to recommend any real dose. So proceed with caution and consult your physician.

Which form of resveratrol is absorbed the best?

You may have heard that resveratrol isn’t absorbed so well from the gut. In fact, studies have shown that 75% of resveratrol is absorbed from oral supplements.(2)

In general, studies have shown that resveratrol may be better absorbed in the presence of fat. That means taking resveratrol with your breakfast or with a fat-containing food such as yogurt is ideal.

On that note, you may have also come across different forms of resveratrol such as micronized and liposomal. These are more recent methods of delivering resveratrol by surrounding it in fat or making the supplement powder finer to increase surface area for absorption.

At the time of writing, not much research has been done on other forms of resveratrol and the high purity powdered trans-resveratrol taken with some fat seems to do the trick anyway.

Other things to consider when choosing a resveratrol supplement

Aside from the three main considerations mentioned above, there are a few other things to be aware of that will impact the quality of your resveratrol supplement.

Capsules

Nowadays, most manufacturers are moving away from bovine-based gelatine capsules to vegetarian alternatives. They do the same job but ones simply plant-based, more sustainable, and avoids the use of animal products.

Fillers and artificial flow agents

Fillers are commonly used to fill out the empty space in a capsule so as to make it look full. For example, a size 00 capsule can hold around 700mg of ingredients. But if a manufacturer only fills it with 350mg of resveratrol, the capsule will look half empty – which is not desirable. Instead of adding more resveratrol, which is expensive, cheap fillers are used which have no active biological role other than taking up empty space.

The other thing to be aware of is flow agents which are a standard part of the manufacturing process. These are added to the mix to allow the ingredients to flow through the machinery more efficiently and avoid clumping. The most common one being used is magnesium stearate.

In large amounts, magnesium stearate acts as a laxative, and some people may have an intolerance to it. Therefore some manufacturers opt for all-natural alternatives such as rice flour.

Manufacturing standards

You may want to check where your supplement is made and what manufacturing standards the makers adhere to.

Always check for GMP certification (Good manufacturing practice) which means the manufacturer has been inspected by the regulatory body and compliance with health and safety regulations are met.

3rd party testing

Some brands go the extra mile and pay for their product to be 3rd party tested. This means they send the finished product to an independent lab which will run it through an extra layer of testing to confirm that the supplement contains what it says it does

Are all resveratrol supplements the same?

You may have guessed by now that the answer to this question is no. Not all resveratrol supplements are the same. With so much variation in the market, it’s no wonder people get confused.

Aside from the form and purity of resveratrol, there are lots of other things to consider before choosing a resveratrol supplement. Always check the label to see the ingredients used and check out the company credentials to see where and how the supplement has been made.

How to choose a resveratrol supplement – Final words

That brings us to the end of our look into how to choose a resveratrol supplement.

As you’ve probably realized by now, there can be significant variation between products on the market.

The main considerations are:

  1. What’s the purity – Ideally look for 98% trans-resveratrol
  2. What’s the dose – Although there’s no official recommended dose, most studies use a daily dose of 500mg to 1g.
  3. Where and how is the supplement made – Check to see if it’s made in a GMP certified facility, uses vegan capsules and natural flow agents
  4. Is it 3rd party tested – Has the supplement been sent to an independent lab to check the dose and purity?

We hope that clears things up and allows you to make an informed decision when choosing your resveratrol supplement!

Evidence based

How Much Curcumin Is There In Turmeric?

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

X

AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

Posted on

Evidence based

If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you already know the benefits of curcumin and want to know how much of the good stuff is actually in turmeric.

It’s a straightforward question. But one that has a longer answer than you’d imagine because it ultimately depends on the source of turmeric. Depending on whether you’re looking at turmeric powder, supplements, or drinks, the amount of curcumin varies greatly.

And if you’re planning on using turmeric for its health benefits, you’re going to want to know exactly how much curcumin your turmeric contains.

So that’s why In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how much curcumin is present in different forms of turmeric.

Table of contents

What is curcumin?

Some people get confused by the difference between turmeric and curcumin.

Curcumin is a biologically active compound found in turmeric that has been shown in studies to have various health benefits.

It belongs to a group of compounds known as polyphenols which are found in many fruits and herbs. Curcumin is a well-researched polyphenol that is found in turmeric root and has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

But only a fraction of turmeric is made up of curcumin. And that’s why you may want to know how much curcumin is in your turmeric.

Next up, we’ll take a closer look at different forms of turmeric to see how much curcumin each one contains.

How much curcumin is there in turmeric powder

Studies have shown that the amount of curcumin in the golden orange-colored powder that we are all familiar with ranges from 1-6%.

In fact, a group of researchers tested the curcumin content in 28 curry powders and found, on average, 3.16% curcumin.(1)

So curcumin only makes up a very small proportion of turmeric.

It all depends on where the turmeric has been grown and in what conditions. And that’s why it’ll be very difficult to know the quality of your turmeric powder without doing testing. That is clearly not realistic.

Which turmeric has the highest curcumin

The next thing you may be wondering is which turmeric has the highest curcumin. Well, it’s thought to be turmeric that comes from a northeastern area of India called Lakadong.

It’s said that the turmeric here contains up to 7% curcumin which is certainly in the higher range.

And it’s more than likely that the unique climate and soil quality have a part to play.

Does all turmeric contain curcumin?

The short answer is yes. All turmeric will contain at least some curcumin. But as mentioned earlier, the percentage can vary greatly.

Turmeric from the Indian subcontinent is known to have a particularly high amount of curcumin.

But the max is really around 7%. And on average around the world, it’s around 3%.

Is Curcumin only found in turmeric?

Turmeric as we know it comes from the root of a plant called Curcuma longa.

Curcumin is often thought of as a compound found exclusively found in turmeric. But in fact, this isn’t true.

Curcumin is actually found in several of the “Curcuma” species of plant.

With that said, curcumin is found in much lower quantities in the other varieties of the Curcuma family of plants and turmeric is known to have the highest of them all.

How much curcumin is there in supplements

So far we’ve gone over how much curcumin there is in turmeric powder. But what about the turmeric content in supplements?

This bit gets even more complicated so bear with us as we try to explain.

The best turmeric supplements use standardized turmeric. This basically means that the amount of curcumin is concentrated to a much higher level than that found in turmeric powder.

In fact, most good supplements will contain turmeric that’s standardized to contain 95% curcumin. A lot higher than the 3% found in turmeric root.

You may be wondering why such a large concentration of curcumin is used. And the main reason is that curcumin is very poorly absorbed from our gut.

Studies have shown that several grams of turmeric powder is required to produce a detectable increase of curcumin in the blood. And this is much higher than any realistic amount you could get from food sources.(2)

In other words, curcumin is not very “bioavailable”. And we’ve gone into more detail about this in our article on the bioavailability of turmeric.

For this reason, supplement manufacturers may use highly concentrated and standardized curcumin so it actually makes a difference.

Anything else to consider?

If you’re wondering how much curcumin is in turmeric, you may be looking to take this golden spice for its health benefits.

And if that’s the case, knowing about the bioavailability and absorption of curcumin is just as important as how much curcumin is in turmeric.

We’ve already mentioned standardized and highly concentrated forms of curcumin. But going further still, there are even better-absorbed preparations of curcumin.

Nowadays, you’ll find curcumin in liquid curcumin that utilizes micellar / lipid technology to make improve absorption.

The problem is, curcumin is fat-soluble which means it doesn’t dissolve well in water. By combining curcumin with fats, studies have shown that absorption can be increased by over 180x compared to turmeric powder alone.(2)

That’s a massive difference that could potentially provide an additional benefit to turmeric powder alone.

How much curcumin in turmeric – Final words

So, that brings us to the end of our look into how much curcumin is found in turmeric.

we’ve walked you through the basics of curcumin amounts in different forms of turmeric. In summary, turmeric powder contains on average just over 3% curcumin.

On top of this, curcumin is very poorly absorbed from your gut. And studies have shown that only negligible amounts of curcumin are detected from taking turmeric powder because of this.

That’s why if you’re thinking about taking curcumin for its health benefits, you may want to consider going for a turmeric supplement that has a high concentration of curcumin. In other words, a high standardized formulation.

Furthermore, opting for a formula utilizing micellar or lipid technology could provide an extra absorption boost which will ultimately help get more out of your supplement.

Evidence based

What Is The Difference Between Turmeric and Curcumin?

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

X

AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

Posted on

Evidence based

If you’re wondering what the difference between turmeric and curcumin is, you’re not alone.

I think it’s fair to say that navigating the terminology used to describe turmeric and its various preparations is a mind field.

That’s why in this article our aim is to clear things up.

We’ll go through what really is the difference between turmeric and curcumin as well as clear up all the nuances around this topic.

Table of contents

Is turmeric and curcumin the same thing?

Right, let’s get things straight.

When talking about Turmeric, most of us think of the “herb” or “spice” which is the beautifully colored golden-orange powder.

This powder comes from Turmeric Rhizome – which is a fancy name for turmeric root.

Turmeric Rhizome (i.e root)

In fact, this all comes from a flowering plant called Curcuma longa – see image below

Turmeric plant – Curcuma longa

So where does “curcumin” come into this?

Well, curcumin is the name of one of the organic compounds in “turmeric” that is thought to possess its health benefits.

In fact, curcumin is one of many “curcuminoids”. i.e one of many of the biologically active compounds in turmeric.

But depending on what studies you look at, “curcuminoids” only make up between 2-6% of turmeric powder. In other words, turmeric as a whole contains lots of other things. But it’s the curcuminoids that have been shown in studies to have certain potential health benefits.(1)

So when answering the question, is turmeric and curcumin the same thing? In a way, the answer is not really. Because turmeric contains curcumin, but it’s not the only thing to contain curcumin.

There are lots of plants in the “Curcuma” plant species that also contain curcumin, albeit to a much lesser extent.

Therefore, it’s like asking: Is vitamin C the same as orange juice?

We all know that orange juice is a source of vitamin C, but it’s also found in lots of other fruits and orange juice is made up of lots of other components.

Make sense?

In summary: Turmeric contains high amounts of curcumin, which is a biologically active compound. So if you’re interested in supplements to reap the benefits of turmeric, it’s curcumin that is important to look out for.

What actually is curcumin?

We’ve mentioned that curcumin is a biologically active compound. But what does this actually mean?

Curcumin is a polyphenol. This is the name of a large group of organic compounds which are abundant in plants and herbs.

Polyphenols are biologically active in the sense that they interact with bodily functions. They can exert a change in cellular pathways. Some common pathways include inflammation and antioxidation, for example.

In other words, these naturally occurring organic compounds have the potential to have downstream positive benefits of lots of different health conditions.

And that’s why it’s always encouraged to eat a diet rich in foods and vegetables – amongst other nutrients, they are packed with polyphenols.

In summary: Curcumin is a polyphenol that has been shown in studies to have potential health benefits.

Is it better to take turmeric or curcumin?

If you’ve landed on this article, chances are you’re looking into turmeric supplements and are getting confused between turmeric and curcumin supplements. That’s because brands use a mixture of these names which doesn’t make it easy.

Ultimately, it’s the curcumin part of turmeric that possesses health benefits.

That means you should be looking for the curcuminoid/curcumin content in supplements.

Regardless of what it says on the front of the packaging, the best place to start is the ingredients table on the back. Take a look at the table below for example:

You’ll notice that this supplement contains two different turmeric preparations.

The first one is organic turmeric root which is, in essence, the same as turmeric powder used in cooking. We won’t know the exact curcumin content in this portion. But as previously mentioned, standard turmeric powder only contains on average of 3-4% curcumin.

The second one is turmeric that’s been standardized to 95% curcuminoids. This means that 47.5mg of the 50mg will be curcumin.

Seeing as it’s the curcumin content we are looking for, choosing a supplement with a standardized curcumin content.

The other thing to be aware of is that curcumin is very poorly absorbed and only a fraction is absorbed into our bloodstream. But there are ways to increase this which we’ve covered in detail in our article on the bioavailability of curcumin.

In summary: when looking for a turmeric or curcumin supplement, regardless of what it says on the front of the packaging, always look at the ingredients table to see how much curcumin the extract contains. Look for standardized supplements with a high percentage of curcumin.

Optimum turmeric or curcumin dosage

There are lots of things to consider when answering this question. But it’s important to emphasize that there is no “right” dose.

Ultimately, it depends on personal preference and own experience. And because it’s not a drug or recognized medicinal ingredient, there is no official recommended dose.

With that said, people often base the recommended dose of turmeric on previous research studies. And doses between 500mg to 2000mg (of a 95% standardized extract) is generally regarded as safe over a period of months.(2)

One study even showed that a dose up to 12,000mg as a single dose was well tolerated. Although it was just a single dose and not a daily long-term dose.(3)

With all that said, long-term studies are limited.

Turmeric vs curcumin – final words

That brings us to the end of our look into the difference between turmeric and curcumin. Turmeric and curcumin aren’t really the same thing as many other articles suggest.

Turmeric contains the biologically active compound called curcumin. Curcumin is not exclusively found in turmeric and is found in smaller amounts in other curcuma family of plants.

When it comes to turmeric supplements, many manufacturers just use curcumin or curcuminoid doses to market their products. And that’s because curcumin is the good stuff that harbors potential health benefits.

By knowing this, you can take a look at the ingredients table the next time you’re looking for a turmeric supplement to see if the preparation is standardized to contain a high amount of curcumin.

On that note, you can check out our article on the best turmeric supplements to find out which products are the most absorbable.

Evidence based

Bioavailability Of Turmeric: Why It’s So Important

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

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AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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Evidence based

Turmeric has been used as a traditional remedy for centuries. Also known as the “golden spice”, turmeric has been widely studied in areas such as joint and brain health.

And the active ingredient in turmeric called curcumin is thought to possess the majority of its health benefits. Curcumin is a polyphenol which is a type of antioxidant.

But did you know that curcumin is very poorly absorbed from your gut?

In fact, studies have shown that only between 1-6% of curcumin is absorbed from turmeric powder.

In other words, curcumin has very poor bioavailability. This means that only a fraction of the beneficial part of turmeric is ever absorbed.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the problems associated with the bioavailability of turmeric and how it has a massive impact on the potential benefit of supplements.

Table of contents

What does bioavailability mean?

To put it simply, bioavailability refers to the extent a substance (i.e curcumin), reaches its intended destination (i.e the bloodstream), whilst remaining “biologically active”.(1)

Contrary to what most people think, a significant proportion of the nutrients we consume are not absorbed by our gut. The bioavailability of nutrients varies depending on many different factors. Some of these include:

  • whether it’s fat or water soluble – does it dissolve in water
  • The stability of the substance – does it break down in the precense of stomach acid?
  • Once the nutrient reaches its intented destination, how quickly does your body break it down

These are just some of the factors that determine how “bioavailable” a nutrient is.

Why is the bioavailability of turmeric so low?

With turmeric and curcumin, the factors mentioned above are a problem.

Firstly, curcumin is fat-soluble. This means that the majority water environment of our gut is not ideal for absorption.

Secondly, by the time curcumin reaches the bloodstream, it’s broken down by your liver into an inactive compound. To add to this, it also quickly binds to blood cells which also renders it inactive.(2)

In combination, this means that the bioavailability of turmeric is very poor. Not only is it poorly absorbed, but it’s also quickly “deactivated”. And this has been the main problem when studying turmeric in research studies to date. Scientists result in using very large doses of turmeric to get a measurable amount of curcumin in the blood.

Why it’s important to be aware of turmerics low bioavailability

Because it makes a big difference on whether a turmeric supplement is worth taking or not.

Being aware of turmerics’ low bioavailability means that standard food sources such as juices or turmeric-containing dishes are unlikely to provide your body with a measurable dose of curcumin.

Similarly, when it comes to choosing a turmeric supplement, bioavailability is arguably the most important factor.

Nowadays, the better turmeric supplements only use “standardized” curcumin.

To explain this concept, we need to go back to raw turmeric powder. If you sampled different turmeric from around the world, you’d find that each batch would contain a different amount of curcumin. Some will have negligible amounts and it all depends on the quality of the crop.

To solve this issue, good supplement manufacturers ensure that they use a standardized extract of turmeric which contains a guaranteed amount of curcumin. And the industry standard for a top product is 95% curcumin. In other words, 95% of the weight of your turmeric supplement will contain curcumin. Whereas with raw packed turmeric powder, it’s impossible to know.

The other way to get around the issue of turmeric bioavailability is to use another natural agent which will enhance absorption. As so, these are known as “bioavailability enhancers” which we will look into next.

How to increase bioavailability of turmeric

The low bioavailability of turmeric has been well-researched for years now and, as a result, there are now several proven bioavailability enhancers on the market.

They can be broadly separated into two categories.

1) Natural bioavailibilty enhancers – BioPerine® and AstraGin®

You may have noticed that most turmeric supplements now contain BioPerine® or AstraGin® alongside a standardized extract of turmeric.

For example, BioPerine® is a patented extract of black pepper and has been shown in studies to increase the absorption of curcumin by 20x.(3)

In the case of BioPerine®, it’s thought that the active ingredient in black pepper extract stimulates the absorption of certain nutrients from our gut lining.(4)

2) Converting curcumin to more absorbable form – Micellar / lipid technology

A more recent technology is the use of lipids (certain types of fat) to “coat” curcumin so that our body can absorb it better.

In fact, studies into curcumin packaged in this way showed an increase in absorption by over 180x.(5)

We mentioned that curcumin is a fat-soluble substance and packaging it with fats so our body can absorb it better has (at the time of writing) been proven to be the most bioavailable form of curcumin.

Anything else to consider aside from absorption?

The final thing to consider when it comes to curcumin bioavailability is how long it remains active in your bloodstream after it’s been absorbed.

Curcumin is quickly broken down by your liver and also reacts with your red blood cells to become inactive. This poses another problem with the usefulness of curcumin once it’s been absorbed – it doesn’t remain active for very long.

Studies have shown that curcumin from standard supplements peak at around 1 to 2 hours after ingestion and quickly become undetectable.(6)

With that said, studies in curcumin products utilizing the micellar / lipid technology have shown curcumin being detectable for up to 24 hours in blood.

Bioavailability of Turmeric – Takeaway points

For curcumin to be useful, it needs to overcome two main hurdles. First, it needs to get through the gut lining into your bloodstream. And secondly, it needs to remain active in the bloodstream to exert its benefits.

In other words, the bioavailability of curcumin is a crucial factor to consider when taking turmeric for its health benefits.

Turmeric root powder has very limited bioavailability. But when taken with a bioavailability enhancer like BioPerine®, the absorption is greatly improved (by 20x).

Better still, studies have shown that liquid curcumin using micellar lipid technology is even more bioavailable (by 185x).

On that note, check out our post on what makes a top turmeric supplement.

Evidence based

Can you take turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements together?

Afterdrink Author Kathy Caldwell
Kathy Caldwell

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AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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Evidence based

Wondering if you can take turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements together?

You’re not alone. It’s a common question as these two supplements are two of the most popular ones out there.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at whether you can take turmeric and apple cider vinegar together. And also whether there’s any added benefit of doing this.

Table of contents

Turmeric vs apple cider vinegar – do they interact?

To be able to determine whether you can take turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements together, we first need to understand what each ingredient is.

Apple cider vinegar is made by adding yeast to crushed apples, which ferments the sugars and turns them into alcohol.

Next, adding bacteria further ferments the alcohol, turning it into acetic acid — the main active compound in vinegar.

Essentially, apple cider vinegar is basically fermented apples.

Turmeric on the other hand is a spice that contains lots of different antioxidants. The most well-known is curcumin which is what’s believed to exert its positive health effects.

In essence, you’d be combining a spice with a mild acid. Provided turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements aren’t taken in excess, it shouldn’t cause any problems.

So to answer the question of whether you can take turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements together; yes, it’s fine to take them together.

Next up, we’ll take a closer look at whether there is actually any point in taking them together.

Turmeric and apple cider vinegar benefits

Now before we get into this section. It’s important for us to highlight that any reported benefits and health claims for turmeric and apple cider vinegar have not been recommended or accepted by governing bodies such as the FDA or MHRA.

There are some research studies into these supplements, but often the studies are small and nowhere near the standards seen in proper drug trials.

Therefore, the benefits reported from studies should be interpreted with a pinch of salt. In other words, they’re not fully proven.

With that out the way, let’s take a closer look at any potential benefits of taking turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements together.

Apple cider vinegar benefits

Many websites and natural healthcare proponents claim that apple cider vinegar has exceptional health benefits, including boosting energy and treating disease.

Unfortunately, there’s very little research to support most claims about its health benefits.

Ultimately, apple cider vinegar is just fermented apples. It contains negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals and even fewer antioxidants.

There are a handful of small studies that suggest it may offer some benefit in lowering blood sugar in diabetics and supporting weight loss. (1)(2)

But these studies are small and the impact of the benefit was small. for example with the study in weight loss, test subjects saw an average loss of 1 to 1.5kg.

And the studies suggest it’s the acetic acid component that is responsible for any effect which means any vinegar will do. In other words, it doesn’t have to be “apple cider vinegar” and any standard vinegar of any kind should theoretically have a similar effect.

Turmeric benefits

Contrary to apple cider vinegar research, many better-quality studies show that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) has the potential to have a significant impact on your body.

Curcumin is well-known to be a powerful antioxidant and is most researched in the field of inflammation.

Studies have shown that curcumin has similar effects to anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen for pain. Furthermore, it’s been shown to improve brain health in people with Alzheimer’s.(3)(4)

The main problem is that curcumin is very poorly absorbed from the gut. So very large daily doses are required in studies which makes it an unrealistic therapeutic option. However, nowadays, there are new highly bioavailable options on the market that may have a more promising future.

While in no way is curcumin a magic remedy for disease and health, the research is certainly promising.

If you’re thinking about taking turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements together, the lack of proven health benefits from apple cider vinegar may make you reconsider.

Are there any side effects taking turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements together?

Both turmeric and apple cider vinegar have been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for ailments.

In the case of turmeric, up to 8-12g a day over a short period was deemed safe. That’s several times higher than doses seen in traditional supplements.(5)

The side effect profile of both supplements is generally low.

With that said, side effects are still definitely possible in and have been reported in rare cases. The most common of these are allergic reactions, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.(6)

The other thing to consider is if that apple cider vinegar is an acid and turmeric being a spice can cause and exacerbate reflux symptoms.

If you do experience any side effects, stop taking both supplements and discuss with your clinician. And you should always speak to your clinician before starting a new supplement if you have any underlying health condition or take any regular medications.

Taking turmeric and apple cider vinegar supplements – The verdict

That brings us to the end of our look into whether you can take these two supplements together.

Taking them together in the short term and at regular supplement doses available on the market should not cause any problems. They are not known to interact and both have good safety profiles from traditional use.

The main consideration is whether it’s worth taking apple cider vinegar with turmeric supplements. Because the evidence for apple cider vinegars’ health claims is limited at best.

If you’re interested in what makes a turmeric supplement stand out, check out our post on the best turmeric supplements.

Evidence based

What Is The Best Turmeric Supplement?

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

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AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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Evidence based

Choosing which turmeric supplement to buy is hard. There are SO many different options. With tons of products to choose from, it can be hard to know what’s worth investing in. 

The active ingredient in turmeric that has potential health benefits is called “curcumin”. And when it comes to choosing a turmeric supplement to buy, it’s these “curcuminoids” that we are looking for. 

In this article, we do a deep dive into all the important considerations to make and why it makes your choice of turmeric supplement makes a difference in how well it’s likely to work. 

Table of contents

Best turmeric supplement – what matters?

Did you know that studies have shown that we only absorb 1-6% of curcumin from our gut?

Did you also know that of the tiny amount of curcumin we absorb, it only remains in our blood for a few hours at best? (1)

This highlights the two main problems associated with turmeric supplementation. It’s very poorly absorbed and it’s very quickly cleared from your bloodstream.

That’s why the two most important things to consider when purchasing a turmeric supplement are:

  1. Bioavailability – how well is the active ingredient (curcumin) absorbed
  2. Serum retention – how long the active ingredient remains present and active in your bloodstream

And there are so many different preparations available on the market that comparing these metrics can be tricky. And that’s what we aim to simplify in this article.

Furthermore, there are other important considerations such as whether the turmeric supplement is made by a reputable manufacturer and if all ingredients are truly natural or not. 

Next up, we’ll explore this in more detail to equip you with all the important information you need to make the right choice for you. 

What you should look for in a turmeric supplement 

Absorption 

We’ve already mentioned that absorption is one of the two main considerations when deciding which turmeric supplement is best. The issues around absorption is one of the main reasons why the therapeutic benefits of turmeric can’t be studied easily. 

So why is this such a problem with turmeric?

Well, the main reason is that curcumin is a polyphenol (antioxidant) that is fat-soluble and doesn’t dissolve in water. 

Your body simply can’t absorb much curcumin from turmeric powder. 

Nowadays, there are several preparations that enhance absorption by converting curcumin into a more readily absorbable. 

And the research suggests that converting curcumin into a water-soluble form by surrounding it in certain types of lipids (micellar technology) massively improves bioavailability and hence absorption. (2)

In fact, studies have shown that these methods of curcumin delivery are hundreds of times more absorbable compared to turmeric powder and even concentrated powder extract. 

How long curcumin stays in blood

The other main consideration is how long curcumin remains active in the bloodstream and body. The problem is, curcumin is rapidly metabolized (broken down) by your liver and also reacts with proteins in blood to form an inactive compound. 

In fact, studies have shown that curcmin only remains detectable in blood for a few hours with standard turmeric supplements. 

So the second most important consideration is finding a preparation of curcumin that is able to remain active in your bloodstream for longer. 

Once again, studies have shown that the new liquid micelle technology where curcumin is surrounded by lipids remains detectable in blood for up to 24 hours. This is compared to just 2 hours with turmeric powder supplements.(3)

In summary, not only is curcumin poorly absorbed, but it’s also rapidly metabolized. Therefore, the amount of benefit you might get from this “golden spice” is limited at best. That’s why maximizing the potential benefit by making sure you chose a turmeric supplement that is highly bioavailable and resistant to breakdown are arguably the two most important considerations.

Other things to consider

Aside from the two key factors for deciding which turmeric supplement is best, there are several other considerations to be aware of.

Bioavailability enhancers – Bioperine or Astragin

Nowadays, you’ll see that most powder supplements will combine BioPerine® (active ingredient being piperine from black pepper extract) or AstraGin® to boost bioavailability.

They have been shown in studies to greatly increase the absorption of curcumin and other nutrients from our intestines which is great news. For example, BioPerine® reports an increase in absorption by 20x.(4)

Liquid forms of curcumin that utilize micellar technology increase absorption by 185x without the need for any added bioavailability enhancers.(5)

Potency – standardized vs root powder

If you check supplement labels closely, you’ll see that some brands use standardized ingredients. This means that the amount of active ingredient curcumin is what you’ll get.

Compared to raw root powder, the amount of active ingredients will be completely random and unknown. It’ll be impossible to know whether the root powder has a decent amount of curcumin or not.

That’s why it’s so important to check the label closely and opt for a standardized turmeric supplement.

Patented turmeric formulations

There are several innovative companies that make it their mission to bring out turmeric preparations that are highly bioavailable and longer acting.

They go a step further than just mixing a standardized extract with black pepper extract to enhance absorption.

For example, we use a patented liquid formulation utilizing micellar technology. But to be frank, there are at least half a dozen other top-quality formulations on the market.

When it comes to finding the best turmeric supplement, every little bit of extra absorption helps. So opt for a premium product and get yourself a science-backed formula.

Company reputation 

Supplements do not need to prove their safety or effectiveness to a regulatory body such as the FDA (USA) or MHRA (UK). That’s why choosing a brand that goes to lengths to ensure its ingredients are sourced from reputable top-quality sources and producing it at a facility that adheres to good manufacturing practices is important.

Quality and vegan

Not all supplements are made equal. There are lots of brands that use fillers, artificial coloring, and flow agents in their manufacturing process. It’s easy to avoid these unnecessary ingredients and another reason why examining the ingredients label is crucial.

investing in a vegan-friendly supplement is also something else to consider. Whether for moral, environmental, or dietary reasons, moving away from gelatine capsules or supplements that contain animal products is arguably the right way forward.

Best turmeric supplement – final words

That brings us to the end of our article on how to know what the best turmeric supplement is. There are tons of turmeric supplements on the market and the difference between them is often vast.

To summarise a few key points:

  • The active ingredient in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant called curcumin
  • Curcumin is VERY poorly absorbed into your bloodstream
  • Curcumin is VERY quickly broken down by your liver into an inactive compound

The best turmeric supplements:

  • Provide a highly bioavailable (i.e better absorbed) and breakdown resistant formula
  • At the time of writing, Liquid curcumin utilizing micellar / lipid technology is, by far, the most absorbable and longer-lasting form of curcumin
  • Stick to brands that stick offer premium quality curcumin that is vegan friendly with no artificial agents.

Evidence based

Advil (Ibuprofen) For Hangovers: Should You Take It After Drinking?

Afterdrink Author Kathy Caldwell
Kathy Caldwell

X

AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

Posted on

Evidence based

Can you take medication like Advil after drinking alcohol, and are they good for reducing hangover symptoms?

If you’re asking these questions, then chances are you’ve had a few too many at happy hour but aren’t sure whether you can mix Advil with alcohol.

Advil is the brand name for the drug Ibuprofen which belongs to a “class” of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).

In this article, We’re going to take a closer look at whether you can take Advil after drinking alcohol and if helps with reducing hangover symptoms. We’ll also focus on some of the interactions and dangers of taking NSAIDs like Advil with alcohol.

So, with the introductions out the way, let’s start taking a closer look at whether taking Advil a hangover is a good idea or not.

Table of contents

How does Advil work?

We mentioned earlier Advil belongs to a group of medicines called NSAIDs.

They block cyclooxygenase which is a prostaglandin. In simple terms, prostaglandins are inflammatory chemical messengers, and blocking them reduces inflammation. That’s why these drugs are used as painkillers.

Other commonly known NSAIDs include Aspirin, Naproxen and Diclofenac. They work in very similar ways and much of what’s included in this article also applied to these drugs.

You should never take NSAIDs together. That means you shouldn’t mix Advil with Naproxen or Diclofenac or high dose Aspirin (300mg) in any combination. That’s because it increases the risk of side effects and overdose.

It’s important to mention that Advil is a brand name for the drug Ibuprofen. So you shouldn’t take Advil and Ibuprofen together as you’ll be double dosing.

So, with the science out the way, let’s take a closer look at whether these medicines are good to take for a hangover.

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A single pill of Afterdrink

Advil and alcohol interactions

Advil and alcohol don’t technically “interact” with one another. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any dangers when taking this drug with alcohol.

Advil has a long list of side effects which we won’t go into as it’s beyond the scope of this article. But there’s one that’s particularly relevant when it comes to taking Advil with alcohol.

Your stomach has a mucus lining that protects it from the harsh and acidic environment created by stomach acid. NSAIDs, like Advil, reduce the stomach’s mucus lining. Therefore, exposing your stomach lining to acid. In other words, increasing the risk of developing stomach ulcers.

The worry is that stomach ulcers in combination with drinking alcohol can increase the risk of severe bleeding.

With all that said, these risks are mainly associated with the regular use of drugs like Advil in combination with excessive alcohol consumption.

So, if you don’t have a history of stomach ulcers and don’t suffer from indigestion, taking a couple of Advil after a few drinks is unlikely to cause any problems. (1)

NSAIDs, like Advil, should not be taken with alcohol. This is especially the case if you have a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding disorders.

Should I take Advil for a hangover?

By the time you wake up hungover, the alcohol levels in your bloodstream should be close to zero. Obviously, if you wake up drunk, then that’s a different story.

So, can you take Advil when you’re hungover?

Well, the manufacturer says no.

Here’s some info from the Advil website: “We don’t recommend taking Advil if you have a hangover. NSAIDs, like Advil, can cause severe stomach bleeding, especially if taken at higher doses. Those chances become even higher if you have 3 or more alcoholic drinks a day while taking Advil.”(2)

The answer is pretty clear. Note that the emphasis is on taking Advil when drinking over recommended limits. i.e daily and/or more than two drinks a day.(3)

How long should you wait before taking Advil after drinking alcohol?

There are no hard and fast rules about this. But the important thing to appreciate is that your gastrointestinal tract is left in a fragile state after binge drinking. And we mention binge drinking specifically because that’s what usually causes a hangover. For most of us, a couple of glasses of wine with dinner doesn’t usually leave you feeling rough in the morning.

That’s why hangover nausea is a real problem after you’ve had a few too many at happy hour.

So, if you’ve woken up with a hangover, it’s best to wait until you’re feeling well enough to have a meal and get some fluids in you before popping any Advils.

Is Advil good for a hangover?

Side-effects aside, is Advil actually good for a hangover?

If your goal is to reduce some of the body aches and headaches associated with a hangover, then yes it definitely helps.

It’s a “painkiller” and would, therefore, ease some of the pain caused by a hangover.

On the other hand, it could make hangover nausea worse especially if you take it on an empty stomach in the morning.

As for the other 47 symptoms of a hangover, Advil will have zero effect.

Anything else to consider?

Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much alcohol for your body to handle. Taking painkillers like Advil will certainly help reduce some of the pain, but prevention is always the best approach.

Aside from drinking less alcohol, making sure you keep well hydrated and eating before going out is key.

You could also consider natural hangover supplements that can support your body during periods of overindulgence.

If you’re taking any medication or have a history of any bleeding disorders, ulcers or indigestion, it’s best to speak to your doctor first before taking Advil.

Taking Advil after alcohol and for hangovers – Final verdict

That brings us to the end of our look into whether you can take Advil and drink alcohol as well as if you’ve got a hangover the next day.

The answer is, ideally not if you can avoid it. Advil reduces the mucus lining of your stomach leaving it vulnerable to stomach acid. Regular use of Advil and alcohol in combination is particularly dangerous.

However, if you’ve got no medical history and don’t drink regularly, taking a couple of Advil when hungover or after drinking is unlikely to cause any problems.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to hangovers. And if it’s too late for this already, check out our article on the best hangover cure drinks that’ll help kickstart your day.

Evidence based

Is Prickly Pear Good For Hangovers?

Afterdrink Author Kathy Caldwell
Kathy Caldwell

X

AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  5. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

Posted on

Evidence based

If you’ve landed on this article, chances are you know a thing or two about herbal hangover remedies.

Prickly pear is the fruit of a cactus plant and is hailed for its anti-inflammatory properties.

But is prickly pear actually good for hangovers?

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the benefits of prickly pear and whether it can help with hangovers.

Table of contents

What is prickly pear?

Prickly pear fruits come from the prickly pear cactus (also known as the Nopal cactus).

It’s found natively in the southwestern regions of the United States and in Mexico.

The colorful fruits are packed full of polyphenols. Polyphenols are organic compounds that are found in colorful fruits such as berries, citrus fruits, and apples to name a few.

Diets rich in fruits which contain high amounts of polyphenols have been linked to several health benefits.(1)

And these benefits are thought to be because polyphenols are antioxidants which reduce levels of inflammation among other things.

With that said, the research is still ongoing and there’s a lot that is unknown about the role of antioxidants such as polyphenols in health.

You can get prickly pear as an extract in supplements and also pressed as a juice.

So, with the basics out the way, next up we’ll take a closer look at how alcohol affects the body and where prickly pear fits into the picture.

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Causes of a hangover

Before we get into whether prickly pear is good for a hangover or not, we first need to go over how alcohol causes hangovers.

After all, without knowing why we get hangovers, it’ll be hard to know if anything works.

Hangovers are ultimately caused by drinking too much alcohol, too quickly. Your liver breaks down alcohol from your bloodstream to get rid of it from your system. When your liver is overrun, your blood alcohol levels rise which is when the problems start.

Firstly, alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes your kidneys flush out extra water. over the course of a night out, drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration as you pee out more fluid than you are consuming.

Secondly, when alcohol is metabolised in your liver, toxic by-products are formed such as acetaldehyde. These are also known as free radicals which react with your cells causing inflammation.

Finally, alcohol significantly reduces your sleep quality. Even small amounts of alcohol can prevent your brain from reaching the deep stages of sleep which is also known as the REM stage. Despite the fact that alcohol can help you fall asleep easier, the actual sleep quality is massively reduced.

In summary, dehydration, inflammation and poor sleep quality are just some of the main causes of a hangover. So it’s important to appreciate there are a combination of factors that all play a part.

So, with the science out the way, let’s move onto whether prickly pear can help with hangovers.

Is prickly pear good for hangovers?

So, now on to the all-important question, is prickly pear good for hangovers?

Prickly pear is one of few hangover remedies which has actually been tested in a clinical trial.

In 2004, 64 healthy young adults received either prickly pear cactus extract or placebo 5 hours before drinking alcohol.

Prickly pear cactus extract did not reduce overall hangover symptoms, but it did reduce the risk of having a severe hangover by 50%.

In addition, the groups receiving prickly pear reported less hangover nausea and dry mouth. However, symptoms such as hangover headache, and shakes were the same.

The researchers also found that levels of inflammation were reduced in those who took prickly pear before drinking alcohol.

So, to answer the question, is prickly pear good for hangovers?

Perhaps…

These initial results are promising. But as with all research studies, larger numbers of people are required for studies and it needs to be repeated.

Despite the research results showing promising results for the use of prickly pear as a hangover remedy, a lot more research needs to be done to show it works.

When should I take prickly pear for hangovers?

At the time of writing, we only have the research study mentioned above to to give us an idea of when to take prickly pear for hangovers.

With that in mind, taking prickly pear before drinking alcohol is what they went with.

And it seems like a logical approach. That’s because, by the time you’ve woken up with a hangover, alcohol has wreaked havoc on your insides already.

Is prickly pear a hangover cure?

No. Prickly pear is definitely not a hangover cure.

In fact, a hangover cure doesn’t exist and is unlikely to every do so. The reason being, we explained earlier that the cause of hangovers is complicated and involves several different damaging pathways.

At the very most, prickly pear may support your body’s antioxidant system.

Anything else to consider?

Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much alcohol for it to handle. Taking prickly pear to help hangovers is the wrong approach.

The best way to help hangovers is to prevent them from happening the first place. Drinking less alcohol is usually all that’s required.

Aside from this, eating before going our and making sure you keep well hydrated is also very important.

Prickly pear for hangovers – The verdict

Whether prickly pear is good for hangovers or not is still up for debate. There’s one promising study that has shown it can reduce the severity of hangover symptoms.

That means, a lot more research needs to be done to prove that it works.

Nevertheless, prickly still makes it onto our list of best supplements for a hangover.

If you’re interested in this topic, you should also check out article on the best vitamins for a hangover.

Evidence based

Is NAC Good For Hangovers?

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

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AfterDrink Content Standards

  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
  4. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
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Evidence based

Is NAC good for hangovers? In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at whether NAC can be used to support hangover recovery.

If you’re reading this article, the chances are that you already know a thing or two about NAC and are looking to learn more about using it for hangovers.

We should mention that at the time of publishing this article, NAC’s definition as a dietary supplement has been removed by the FDA and is pending review. Therefore you can’t purchase NAC supplements in the US.

So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at NAC for hangovers.

Table of contents

What is NAC?

NAC has a few different names:
– N-acetyl-cysteine
– Just “acetylcysteine”
– Acetyl-L-Cysteine

However you want to call it, it’s all the same thing.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a supplement form of cysteine. Cysteine is found in most high-protein foods, such as chicken, turkey, yogurt, cheese, eggs, sunflower seeds, and legumes.

NAC is an amino acid that is best known for its role in replenishing glutathione levels. And glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants in our bodies.

Glutathione is made from three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamine.

The reason why cysteine is the most important of the three is that you need to get some of it from your diet. That’s why it’s considered semi-essential because your body can produce it from other amino acids, namely methionine, and serine. It becomes essential only when the dietary intake of methionine and serine is low.

On the other hand, glycine and glutamine are non-essential amino acids because your body can make it if needed.

Next up, we’ll take a closer look at what the causes of a hangover are before seeing if NAC can help prevent or treat them.

NAC is the supplement form of the amino acid cysteine. It’s a “semi-essential” amino acid that is important in the production of glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant.

Causes of a hangover

Before we get into whether NAC is good for hangovers or not, we’ll first need to understand how alcohol causes hangovers.

Although dehydration is one of the main causes of a hangover that everyone knows about, it’s not the only one:

It’s true that alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes your kidneys flush out extra water. Clearly, NAC isn’t going to help with hangover related dehydration because only water can solve that problem.

Aside from this, the by-products of alcohol metabolism are another reason why we get hangovers. When alcohol is broken down in your liver, toxic substances such as acetaldehyde are formed. These are highly reactive and damage the cells they come into contact with causing inflammation.

Antioxidants, such as glutathione, neutralize some of these by-products before they cause damage.

And this is where it’s thought NAC could help with hangovers.

Is NAC good for hangovers?

So, now on to the all-important question, is NAC good for hangovers?

In 2021, a group of researchers gave NAC to 49 healthy volunteers to test it out. The research paper was published in the renowned publication, nature. 

The researchers gave between 600 and 1800mg of NAC prior to drinking and used a questionnaire to rate hangover severity. 

The results showed that the female participants reported less nausea and weakness with NAC. In males, there was no significant difference.(1)

At the time of writing, this is the only decent quality study looking into NAC for hangovers. On that note, it’s still only a small study and much more research needs to be done. 

In summary, it’s not proven whether NAC is good for hangover prevention or not. To date, there’s been one study that is suggestive of NAC improving specific hangover symptoms such as nausea and weakness in women only.

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Does NAC protect the liver from alcohol?

The answer to this question is, absolutely not.

NAC will not protect the liver from alcohol. In fact, nothing in the world exists that can protect the liver from alcohol.

NAC side effects

As with most supplements, side effects with NAC are uncommon. But they do happen. These include:

  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • a skin rash
  • vomiting

Side effects are more commonly seen when NAC is given in hospital at high doses with an IV infusion.

Anything else to consider

Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much alcohol for your liver to handle. Taking NAC to prevent hangovers is the wrong approach.

The best way to prevent hangovers is to drink less alcohol. Second, to this, making sure you eat before going out and keeping well hydrated are also important.

Sticking to lighter-colored drinks may also help. That’s because they contain fewer congeners which have been shown in studies to make hangovers more severe. You can read more about this in our article about congeners.

NAC for hangovers – Final verdict

That brings us to the end of our look into NAC for hangovers.

There are many hangover prevention supplements on the market that include NAC in their formula. However, the benefits of NAC for hangovers is anecdotal at best.

What is certain is that NAC will not protect the liver from the damaging effects of alcohol.

If you’re interested in this topic, check out our article on the best supplements for hangovers.

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