A capsule of L-ornithine may take the edge off your hangover
If you’ve been drinking more alcohol than is good for you, L-ornithine supplementation may cut the edges off your inevitable hangover. This is suggested by a human study that Japanese researchers published in BioPsychoSocial Medicine in 2013.
The authors of the study we are talking about work for the R&D department of Kirin, Japan. Kirin is researching possible applications of ornithine in supplements and functional foods. [Link] [Link] [Link]
The researchers experimented with 11 healthy adult Japanese, who the study describes as ‘flushers’. That means they responded to alcohol by blushing all over their bodies.
Large groups of Asians not only convert alcohol more quickly into the toxic alcohol metabolite acetaldhyde, but also break down that substance more slowly. That does not mean that these people get drunk faster, but it does mean that they suffer more from hangovers. Many negative health effects of alcohol consumption, including the malaise you feel the day after drinking, are the result of acetaldehyde.
We do not know to what extent you can extrapolate the outcome of this study to groups without Asian ‘alcohol genes’.
The subjects drank 0.4 grams of alcohol per kilogram of body weight in the evening. So the subjects drank the equivalent of 3 small glasses of wine.
Half an hour after the alcohol intake, the subjects took a capsule containing 500 milligrams of L-ornithine HCl. This equates to 400 milligrams of L-ornithine.
On another occasion, the subjects took a placebo capsule after drinking alcohol.
When the subjects woke up, there was significantly less cortisol in their saliva if they had taken ornithine.
If the subjects had taken ornithine, they felt better the day after. Ornithine made the subjects less fatigued, less listless, less hostile and less confused. In addition, the subjects who took ornithine slept longer.
The researchers don’t know exactly how ornithine works, but they do have a theory.
“Ammonia metabolism is disturbed by alcohol consumption, but is stimulated by ornithine administration”, the researchers speculate. “Furthermore, there is a correlation between decreased ammonia metabolism and fatigue. Thus, we speculate that ornithine may improve subjective feelings like ‘feeling of fatigue’ by correcting the imbalance in ammonia metabolism caused by alcohol consumption.”
“Further extensive studies are needed to clarify these associations.”
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