With the holidays come parties and with parties comes alcohol and with alcohol comes the dreaded hangover. However, there may be something that can help prevent them. Taurine has been popular in many household goods, most recently in energy drinks, and may be the magic cure to end hangovers.
This substance is colorless and often paired with caffeine, though many people wonder at the safety. There have been some links to energy drinks and death, though nothing has ever been clearly proven. This caused Sweden to say not to drink it with alcohol, France to ban it, Norway to make it a medicine, and Japan to sell it only in pharmacies.
Taurine and the Liver
However, newer studies are bringing up new information, and taurine may be able to reverse liver damage, whether it is from a long term alcohol addiction or just a night of too much partying. The problem is, when we drink, fat builds up in the liver. This causes the liver to swell and blood flow to be decreased. Some studies are showing that taurine can not only prevent this from happening, but that it might help reduce the process.
It is already known that taurine helps the digestion and nervous system, and it is used to treat heart failure and diabetes. Cats would be ill without it being added to their diets. So some scientists have decided to take a closer look.
You Dirty Rat
A study in England was done involving rats. The rats were given alcohol and taurine for a month, and it was shown that it helped prevent a build up of fat in the liver. When the taurine was given to them after they drank, the taurine went on to reverse liver damage. While studies still need to be done on people, it does show that adding taurine to the alcohol may help decrease liver damage and hangovers.
The researchers hope to do a trial on damaged livers that cannot be used for donation to see how taurine affects them. However, some funding groups feel that this may lead to irresponsible drinking if people think they can get away from the detrimental side effects to their health.
Some day, taurine may be used to treat alcohol-caused illnesses. Binge drinking and obesity are affecting a growing number of the population, causing numerous liver problems from cirrhosis to cancer. Alcoholics are especially prone to problems. As current medicine stands, the only way to treat a fatty liver is to abstain from alcohol and lose weight. Should taurine prove effective, it could lead to new treatment options for not only alcoholics, but those with liver problems caused by obesity.
So, while there is yet to be proof as to the effectiveness of taurine, if you are planning on a night on the town you might take a couple of energy drinks along. They may just be the cure you need when feeling badly the next morning. And while the taurine may do nothing for your liver, many heavy drinkers swear by caffeinated drinks as a way to combat the hangovers that are sure to follow a night of drinking.