Dihydromyricetin is a herbal ingredient that is making waves in the supplement world because of its perceived health benefits.
It’s extracted from the oriental raisin tree (Hovenia Dulcis) and this plant has been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries.
recent studies have shown that Dihydromyricetin (also known as DHM) increases your liver’s ability to break down alcohol and support liver function.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at DHMs uses, side effects, and potential benefits for health based on available research papers.
What is Dihydromyricetin?
Dihydromyricetin is actually the active ingredient extracted from certain plant species.
One of which is “Hovenia Dulcis” which is the Latin name for the oriental raisin tree. Another common source of DHM is “Ampelopsis grossedentata” which is another plant species.
Just to make things a little more complicated Dihydromyricetin (DHM) is also known as Ampelopsin.
DHM is a flavonoid compound which means it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (more on this later).
The oriental raisin tree has actually been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in eastern medicine to help with digestive symptoms and as a hangover remedy.
It’s only in recent years that scientists have looked at DHM more closely to see if this flavonoid could have any benefits for health.
Next up, we’ll evaluate some of these research papers.
A quick search online will show results that claim Dihydromyricetin is hepatoprotective, has anti-diabetic properties, and is good for hangover prevention among other things.
Our aim is to shine some light on these claims to clear up to separate the facts from the fads.
1) Alcohol metabolism and hangover prevention
If you’ve ever heard about Dihydromyricetin, chances are it’s in the context of hangover prevention.
Researchers in California gave rats alcohol and DHM to see what effect it had. And this is what they found:(1)
Dihydromyricetin speeds up alcohol metabolism:
The study reports that the rats given alcohol with Dihydromyricetin metabolized alcohol at a much faster rate and, therefore, cleared alcohol from their bloodstream faster.
Dihydromyricetin made rats want less alcohol
They also noticed that rats given DHM seemed to be less interested in drinking more alcohol compared to those who weren’t given any.
Dihydromyricetin counteracts alcohol intoxication
Essentially, rats taking DHM with alcohol didn’t become as drunk. They tested this by examining the “righting reflex”. When rats are placed on their backs, they flip back round. Therefore, the righting reflex can be used to assess how inebriated the rats were.
There is a lot of hype around Dihydromyricetin which all stems from a total of 3 small scale research papers in animal studies. They all mainly focus on DHMs ability to increase alcohol clearance.(2)(3).
t’s very important to emphasize that these results are preliminary and the study designs are far from robust. At the time of writing, there are no good human studies.
Does DHM work for hangovers?
So, now on to the all-important question, does DHM actually work for hangovers?
It depends! there are people who see benefits from taking supplements containing DHM but this is based on anecdotal customer feedback.
You’ll find it in most hangover prevention supplements and there are certainly lots of positive reviews. It’s been used for hangovers in traditional Asian medicine for centuries so there may be some benefit.
With that said, it’s not been proven in human research studies. Therefore any hangover-related benefit from DHM is anecdotal at best.
One things for certain though: DHM is not a hangover cure. So if you’re expecting to take DHM and wake up hangover-free, you’ll be disappointed.
Initial DHM studies show interesting results, however, a lot more research needs to be done to confirm its benefits.
2) Hepatoprotection and liver health
“Hepatoprotection” means liver protection. Dihydromyricetin has been reported to have hepatoprotective properties which are thought to be from its antioxidant properties.
For example, one study published in 2019 found that Dihydromyricetin protects mice liver from acetaminophen related injury.(4)
Another study in 2018 found that DHM improve liver inflammation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).(5)
Once again, these studies are small scale animal studies that need a lot more research to elucidate DHMs hepatoprotective properties.
In summary, the research into DHM is promising, but far from conclusive. So far, the studies have been carried out in mice and rats which cannot be assumed to have the same effect in humans.
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The first study mentioned by the group in California gave rats between 1 – 15 mg/kg of Dihydromyricetin with alcohol.
If we extrapolate this to a 155lb (70kg) adult, this would be around 70 – 1000mg. This isn’t too helpful though because there’s a large difference between these numbers and rat doses don’t necessarily correlate with human doses.
That said, most supplements on the market containing dihydromyricetin will contain somewhere between 100-1000mg.
It’s also important to mention that dihydromyricetin is poorly absorbed from the gut. Therefore, the amount actually absorbed into the bloodstream will be a fraction of the amount ingested.(6)
Are there any side effects?
A study in mice gave huge doses of dihydromyricetin (22g/kg) and found no adverse effects.(7)
Generally speaking, dihydromyricetin is regarded as safe to take at the doses available from reputable brands. That said, everyone is different and could potentially develop side effects.
If you’re on any medication, it’s always best to discuss with your doctor before taking dihydromyricetin because drug interactions are as yet unknown.
Where to buy Dihydromyricetin
Nowadays, you’ll find a selection of Dihydromyricetin containing supplements on the market. There are several brands to choose from online.
Always check the label and choose a supplement that’s been made in a manufacturing facility with rigorous quality standards to ensure safety.
Also, look out for Dihydromyricetin in “proprietary blends” which are used by some manufacturers to hide the doses used. It’s best to know exactly how much Dihydromyricetin you’re actually getting from your supplement.
Another thing to look out for is whether the DHM dose is “standardized” in your choice of supplement. “Standardized” means that manufacturers ensure every batch of their products is produced in a consistent way, with the same ingredients and the same concentration of ingredients.
In the example below from the AfterDrink label, you’ll notice that DHM is standardised to 98%.
Dihydromyricetin – Final words
That brings us to the end of our look into Dihydromyricetin and its potential health benefits.
There are a few promising research studies that could pave the way for larger-scale human studies. However, at the time of writing, the current research base is limited.
Nevertheless, it’s a popular ingredient in hangover supplements and there are many people that swear by DHM for hangovers.