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Myrkl is a new anti-hangover supplement that claims to be a hangover ‘miracle’ but does it really work? Henrik Sorensen/Getty Images
  • Myrkl, an anti-hangover supplement, has been launched in the US and Canada.
  • It claims to break down 70% of alcohol in 60 minutes after you start drinking.
  • The brand says by taking two pills before drinking, users can prevent hangover symptoms like headache, nausea, and fatigue.
  • The supplement contains probiotic bacteria, L-cysteine, and vitamin B12 and is said to break alcohol down before it reaches the liver.

A pounding headache, churning nausea, and unshakeable fatigue. When you’re in the throes of a hangover, these symptoms can feel like a cruel punishment for the excesses of the night before.

But what if a glass or two too many didn’t result in a day spent in bed? Imagine you could drink alcohol without getting a hangover the next day.

That’s what Myrkl, a new anti-hangover supplement that’s just launched in the US and Canada, claims to do.

According to the company’s website, the pill is the result of 30 years of research and development. It’s marketed as a “miracle” cure for hangovers and claims to help drinkers wake “feeling refreshed.”

Made with natural and vegan ingredients, the supplement is recognized as safe by the FDA and is said to break down 70% of alcohol 60 minutes after you start drinking.

Users are advised to take two pills before drinking to ward off tiredness and fatigue and prevent common hangover symptoms like headache and nausea. It certainly sounds good, but how does it work, and is it actually effective?

This drug is designed to place gut flora in your intestinal tract. It’s essentially a probiotic supplement with important healthy bacteria (Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus coagulans) that break down alcohol and turn it into water and carbon dioxide,” explains Adeem Azhar, clinical pharmacist and co-founder of healthcare organization Core Prescribing Solutions.

The supplement also includes:

  • L-cysteine, an amino acid
  • vitamin B12, which helps metabolize alcohol before it’s absorbed into your blood
  • fermented rice bran.

Nutritionist Maria Jones, BSc, says these ingredients have “great potential” in supporting the biochemical processes that occur in the body to prevent a hangover.

“Fermented rice bran supports our digestion and could potentially regulate the gut–liver pathway for the prevention and treatment of hangovers, while L-cysteine is widely known to support the processing of alcohol,” she explains.

Azhar says the supplement appears to work by significantly reducing how much alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and, thus, how much your body has access to.

“The pills have an acid-resistant capsule that is designed to make sure bacteria isn’t released until it reaches the intestine, where most alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream,” he explains.

“This neutralization of alcohol in your bloodstream means you should not experience the short-term effects alcohol has, such as euphoria and relaxation. By breaking down alcohol so quickly, you will feel the effects for a shorter time,” he added.

In other words, Myrkl may not only prevent you from getting a hangover but from feeling drunk in the first place.

So, how effective is Myrkl? Can this supplement really prevent a hangover, even when you’ve really overdone it the night before?

Both experts Healthline spoke with say they are on the fence.

Jones says the supplement certainly “looks promising on paper” but believes the pill has its limitations.

“Myrkl is only meant to support digestion of alcohol before it reaches the liver, and so an excess of alcohol will still likely result in a hangover. This isn’t because the pill hasn’t worked, as such, but because the capacity our bodies have to process alcohol is limited,” she explains.

Even when taking Myrkl, Jones says your body – particularly your liver – will deploy every system possible to break down alcohol. This results in the production of aldehyde, a product of alcohol metabolism that gives you that dreaded hungover feeling.

Azhar shares similar sentiments.

“A hangover is mainly due to the dehydrating effects of alcohol, which can give a headache, and the direct effect of alcohol on the stomach, which can cause a sore stomach and nausea,” he explains.

“If less alcohol is taken into the body, the risks of being dehydrated are less. But since the pills only work after alcohol has passed through the stomach to the intestine, they will not stop alcohol’s effect on the stomach,” he says.

Add to that, the evidence to support Myrkl is based on a very small study published in the journal Nutritional and Metabolic Insights. In it, 24 healthy young white adults took either two Myrkl pills or two placebo pills every day for seven days.

They were given between 47 and 89ml of spirits (based on their body weight), and their blood alcohol level was regularly tested over the next several hours.

The researchers found that after the first 60 minutes, the amount of alcohol in the blood was 70% lower in the Myrkl group compared to participants who received the placebo. No alcohol in the blood was detected after three hours.

Aside from not being a large-scale study, Azhar says several problems make the results of this study weaker.

“First, the researchers only reported results from 14 of the 24 people because ten had lower blood alcohol levels at the start,” he notes. “Second, results varied between different people, which reduces the accuracy of the study.”

Azhar also says the study leaves many unanswered questions: Does the pill work in people who are not young, healthy, and white? Does it work in people with gut or liver disease?

So the jury is certainly out on just how effective Myrkl is. Add to that, such supplements raise questions about our relationship with alcohol on a national level.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 25.8% of people ages 18 and over reported that they engaged in binge drinking within the past month in 2019.

There are concerns that without the threat of a hangover to curtail drinking, rates of binge drinking could increase.

While Myrkl could potentially help you avoid a hangover, binge drinking still carries a number of health risks, such as an increased risk of heart disease, liver disease, and certain cancers.

“Myrkl does not eliminate the potential damage excessive alcohol consumption can have on the liver and wider human body,” Azhar points out.

If you suspect you’re going to drink more than usual, Myrkl may be a good option if you want to avoid a pounding head and sick stomach in the morning.

However, both for hangovers and your overall health, nothing beats drinking in moderation or not at all.