Alcohol Basics

When it comes to drinking we’ve accepted the good and the bad. The fun, the celebration, and the sacrifice of tomorrow. The light shines through the window… you’re not happy about it, your guts in rebellion, and work is very, very far away. You have - a hangover. But what is a hangover, really?

A hangover is an unpleasant experience that starts when alcohol blood concentration (BAC) approaches zero and can last up to 24hrs~ after drinking [1][2][3]. Symptoms include: nausea, headaches, stress, and anxiety. The experience ranges from physiological and psychological effects. Depends on what kind of night you had.

Hangovers impede an individual's ability to fulfill personal and societal responsibilities. A 2010 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine quantified this impedance to the cost of $191.1 billion lost in revenue in the United States alone [32].Thus, hangovers are more than an unpleasant experience for the individual but also an issue for society.

Many cultures consume alcohol as a way to come together and celebrate with friends and family. The Hangovers that come with this have been accepted as part of the deal. A well known problem within our cultures, but interestingly there has been very little work done to solve the issue.

For example, in January 2020, there were >700 publications in PubMed (a well-known database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics) in which hangovers were studied in different contexts. Of these publications, only ten relevant studies (<2%) have investigated various food supplements as possible cures for the aftereffects of alcohol drinking [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13].

With all this known, still very little research is being conducted on alleviating hangover symptoms, understanding alcohol metabolization processes, and the causes that can lead to a hangover. Additionally, there are substantial hangover myths and general misinformation accepted by the general public.

The Myths

This lack of clinical research for hangover cures previously gave rise to the pseudo-science market of hangover prevention commercial pills, drink, shots, and other methods.

Attempting to alleviate the negative after effects of drinking with improper or untested information lead to a series of products that don’t work; leaving consumers left with the impression that these products “can’t” work.

All this has changed over the past several years. Clinical research has been coming out to reveal everything anyone has ever told you about the causes of hangovers is wrong. Let’s go over the common myths we've all heard about before.

Dehydration

Dehydration is the most common myth for alleviating hangovers. The theory makes sense, and alcohol suppresses the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin (a hormone that keeps you from peeing too much).

Drinking alcohol and not water can lead to dehydration - which is never good. But the research shows that the level of electrolytes doesn't differ too much from baseline controls in dehydrated individuals [33].

Even when they differ, there is no significant correlation between dehydration and hangover severity [33].

Blood Sugar Levels

Low blood sugar is another common myth, and with good reason. Alcohol metabolizes into acetaldehyde; your body facilitates this process using coenzymes crucial for cells to undergo gluconeogenesis (this is the process in which organisms produce sugar).

As these coenzymes are depleted from consuming alcohol gluconeogenesis decreases, resulting in low blood sugar.

But if low blood sugar is the problem, administering glucose and fructose would be a solution. And the research shows it's not—sugar doesn't help the morning after [18].

High blood sugar or sugary drinks (alcohol with glucose) elevate lactate levels, and studies have shown that while sugar doesn’t cause hangovers - it can accentuate the symptoms [18]. 

So not only does consuming sugar with alcohol not help the low blood sugar levels, it makes the hangover worse. Those warnings about sugary alcoholic drinks might have some merit to them.

Acetaldehyde

Acetaldehyde is the most common myth among commercial hangover prevention companies. Many tout this toxic byproduct of alcohol as the cause of hangovers, but no published scientific evidence supports a hangover product that claims to enhance the elimination of acetaldehyde being effective in reducing hangover severity [14].

Alcohol is metabolized in a two step process. Your liver uses the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) to do this. ADH oxidizes alcohol to acetaldehyde, then ALDH oxidizes acetaldehyde into acetate (a harmless acid found in vinegar).

Acetaldehyde’s pharmacokinetics in the body reduce the chances it's a significant agent in the development of a hangover. For one, acetaldehyde can’t pass through the blood brain barrier, due to the abundance of ALDH enzymes near the brain [15][16].

Studies have shown that when acetaldehyde concentration was at its lowest, hangovers were recorded to be most severe [17]. Essentially, once your body has finished removing all the acetaldehyde from your system, you start to feel the hangover. Even variations of acetaldehyde blood level concentrations showed no correlation with hangover severity [34].

With this knowledge, we can conclude that even though acetaldehyde is not a toxin to focus on, there is still the possibility that acetaldehyde may have indirect effects on the presence and severity of alcohol hangovers.

For example, the process of metabolizing alcohol into acetaldehyde creates endogenous free radicals that cause oxidative stress and an inflammatory response. Inflammation is a consequence of consuming alcohol, and has been correlated to show causation for hangovers.

We’ll review inflammation and other consistent scientifically-backed correlations that we’ve seen in regards to the causes of hangovers in the following section.

Negative Responses to Alcohol - The Problems

We’ve developed a promising theory. It comes from observing consistent and repetitive scientific findings on alcohol hangovers. These culprits we target are: inflammation, oxidative stress, GABA, and vitamins.

Inflammation and oxidative stress

Several clinical research studies have been focusing on the inflammatory response from drinking alcohol as the cause of hangovers, and with good reason. Strong positive correlations between inflammatory responses and hangover severity have been reported in recent published papers [19].

The inflammatory response caused from drinking alcohol can be measured with cytokines. These cytokines are a part of the inflammation process, and the more of them there are the worse the inflammation is. This is also true for the oxidative stress placed on the body when drinking. Studies have shown levels of these cytokine biomarkers having a significant correlation with hangover severity [17].

The causes of inflammation and oxidative stress on the body can either be from alcohol directly or indirectly within the process of breaking down into its byproducts.

As we mentioned before, the conversion of alcohol into acetaldehyde involves the endogenous production of free radicals, which are both harmful for the body and thus elicit an immune response [20].

With multiple studies tying in inflammation and oxidative stress to hangover severity and the known metabolization process of alcohol creating inflammatory responses, we theorized that the best option to fight hangovers would be to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

GABA - Alcohol's Favorite Neurotransmitter

Alcohol is one of the few exogenous molecules that can pass the blood-brain barrier. It interacts with a few select neurotransmitters that belong to the "reward system" in the brain.

Alcohol interacts with the neurotransmitter GABA’s receptors, binding to them and inhibiting responsiveness, and interacts with the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate via the same interaction. As these receptors are antagonized, this causes a buildup of the respective neurotransmitters, accentuating the familiar feelings of inhibition (relaxed, open) and excitement when drinking [28].

There is a delicate balance between GABA and glutamate, and the brain attempts to compensate for this change by bringing the balance back toward equilibrium.

When you stop drinking, the brain’s compensatory changes are no longer opposed by the presence of alcohol, thus leading to the over-excitation of GABA and glutamate, acute alcohol withdrawal-induced GABA receptor plasticity, and other related hangover symptoms [28].

That overcompensation of neurotransmitters leads to the feeling we know in the morning, where we feel restless but tired at the same time. That’s the rebound effect.

B-Vitamin Depletion

As you drink, the body consumes B-vitamins, agents in regulating the body’s functions for responding to inflammation and repairing oxidative stress [29][30].

Replenishing B-vitamins has been the target of some alcohol hangover studies. There have been results with B-vitamin tests that show a positive correlation between B-Vitamin supplementation when drinking and a decrease in hangover severity [31].

Reducing inflammation and oxidative stress

Good Morn uses a variety of ingredients to combat inflammation and oxidative stress. DHM (Dihydromyricetin, the extract of the Japanese raisin tree called hovenia dulcis), ginger, ginseng, glutathione, and green tea all assist in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress on the body*.[17][22][23][24][25][26].

By targeting specific inflammation-causing free radicals, alcohol metabolization, and antioxidant support - we can help protect against the negative effects of drinking alcohol.

For example, glutathione is the primary antioxidant responsible for metabolizing inflammation-causing free radicals. They are endogenously free radicals produced during the breakdown of alcohol into acetaldehyde.

DHM has been found to induce the expression of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes and reduce alcohol and acetaldehyde concentrations in rats [27]. With faster alcohol metabolization, alcohol related inflammatory responses in the body have been shown to decline, as well as hangover severity [17].

The Hypothesis: Good Morn

Step one: Target scientifically studied correlated causes of hangovers such as inflammation, oxidative stress, GABA receptor health, and B-vitamin levels in the body. 

Step two: Use natural and healthy ingredients such as herbal extracts, adaptogens, amino acids, and select vitamins; put together in a mini drink to help assist in next-day recovery.

Step three: Come up with a great name.

Use this text to share information about your store with your customers. Describe products, share announcements, or welcome customers to your store.

Reducing inflammation and oxidative stress

Good Morn uses a variety of ingredients to combat inflammation and oxidative stress. DHM (Dihydromyricetin, the extract of the Japanese raisin tree called hovenia dulcis), ginger, ginseng, glutathione, and green tea all assist in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress on the body*.[17][22][23][24][25][26].

By targeting specific inflammation-causing free radicals, alcohol metabolization, and antioxidant support - we can help protect against the negative effects of drinking alcohol.

For example, glutathione is the primary antioxidant responsible for metabolizing inflammation-causing free radicals. They are endogenously free radicals produced during the breakdown of alcohol into acetaldehyde.

DHM has been found to induce the expression of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes and reduce alcohol and acetaldehyde concentrations in rats [27]. With faster alcohol metabolization, alcohol related inflammatory responses in the body have been shown to decline, as well as hangover severity [17].

GABA receptor protection

The GABA & glutamate rebound effect is indeed put into play when you stop drinking or reduce the intake. While this may lead some to believe that the “hair of the dog” method has some merit to it (and there is some there) - alcohol is still a toxin and I would not recommend it.

A better solution is DHM, our super herb that helps reduce inflammation and is the only novel GABA neurotransmitter regulator.

When DHM is consumed, it binds to GABA receptors antagonizing alcohol withdrawal-induced GABA receptor plasticity and reducing alcohol's interaction with GABA [28].

This helps reduce the imbalances of GABA and glutamate, reducing the "rebound effect" the next day. So that restlessness you feel the next day while also being too tired to get out of bed? Yes, DHM helps you cross off the restlessness.

B-Vitamin supplementation

One of the critical components of hangover IVs is B-vitamins, just for this reason. Refilling the cells with B-vitamins after drinking (or before) has shown positive benefits in helping avoid a rough morning.

Good Morn is filled with B-vitamins to help you maintain high levels throughout the night and the next day.

The Solution - Good Morn

Manufacturing

To ensure quality of product and safety we’ve built Good Morn as a dietary supplement, made in America. This means we source, mix, manufacture, and seal Good Morn under FDA compliant GMP standards.

Selecting ingredients is not as simple as picking the name from a roster of names, every manufacture of ingredients has variations. Some variations are more potent, some are organic - or others are just for the name.

Within the beverage industry, if you wanted to make a quick buck you could pick out all the ingredients we have and get them at a fraction of the cost, picking just the name with cheap manufacturing techniques and no active ingredients. We don’t do this. Our ingredients are potent, powerful, organic when available, and chosen for maximum effectiveness.

Not only that, but we work with our suppliers to create the best versions of our ingredients. Take DHM for example; DHM in its natural state isn’t very water soluble. Insoluble ingredients show lower bioavailability, especially with DHM. Our suppliers have worked with us to create a starch encapsulated a micronized version of DHM - with studies showing this increases the water solubility over 10x - thereby improving the bioavailability and effectiveness of DHM in your body.

The Team

Our desire to create a product that stands the test of time, turns skeptics into believers, and leverages modern science comes from our basic scientific background.

Kolade Oluwole
CEO
B.A., Biomedical Engineering, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Kolade’s path to Good Morn started while he was working as a product manager in gene therapy. He spent a year and a half working with large biomolecule purification equipment, examining the best methods and systems for biotech companies to purify their biological materials.

While pursuing molecular purification, Kolade would review supplements and nootropics in his free time. Discovering various amino acids had therapeutic implications in alcohol hangovers, he rotated his personal time to developing a formula for himself and his friends.

After two years of research on various papers, contacting suppliers to discuss ingredients, and working to create a formula, he moved from Boston to California to start Good Morn, a recovery drink for when you drink.

Conclusion

The science at Good Morn is exciting and the implications of how drinking culture can change for the better are huge.

We’re boost strapped, building this up from the ground up and going slowly so that your feedback will fuel the development of Good Morn for the future.

A new type of beverage, the recovery drink. Natural herbal extracts, adaptogens, amino acids, and select vitamins; here to help you celebrate and wake up refreshed.