Two women drinking beer

Can Activated Charcoal Help with Hangovers?

Maybe you should have stopped with that one glass of red wine. Maybe it was the tequila shots after that did it. Either way, its 1 o'clock in the afternoon; you have a throbbing headache, dry mouth, queasy stomach, and have barely enough energy to move from your bed to the bathroom.

You have a hangover.

Ah, the price you pay for a night of fun, friends and booze.

But why do we get hangovers anyway? And is there a way we can lessen the aftermath of last night’s boozing?

Why Do We Get Hangovers?

As you drink, an enzyme in the body called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) metabolizes the ethanol in the drink into toxic acetaldehyde. Then an enzyme in the liver, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), turns the acetaldehyde into a less toxic compound called acetate which is further broken down into water and carbon dioxide. A 2000 study showed that elevated acetaldehyde levels caused flushing, increased skin temperature, headaches, increased heart rates, dry mouth, nausea, and etc.

Majority of these symptoms set in hours after consuming alcohol when your blood alcohol level (BAC) lowers. Think of it as a “mini withdrawal” or sorts. Some of the symptoms we associate with hangovers are due to dehydration. According to Brandon Browne, MD, in an interview published on the Everyday Health website, "Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it helps the body get rid of fluids. When you have a severe hangover, you're often severely dehydrated, and the body can't get rid of the byproducts of metabolizing alcohol (metabolites). And those metabolites are irritating", 

The other culprit that causes the myriad of symptoms is "Congeners". They’re the chemical byproduct from the production of alcohol. They’re at higher concentrations in darker alcohol and spirits like red wine, whiskey or dark beer. For example, bourbon has 37 times more congeners than in vodka.

Can Activated Charcoal Help with Hangovers?

Activated charcoal is porous and can attract chemicals, toxins and even gasses. That is why it has been used as a therapy for poisoning over the years.

Activated charcoal may help lessen the symptoms of a hangover. One animal study on activated charcoal showed that consuming activated charcoal at the same time as alcohol can prevent blood alcohol levels from rising. But another human study in 1986 on the efficacy of activated charcoal showed no change in blood alcohol levels on patients. Some believe that the alcohol is absorbed in the bloodstream faster for the activated charcoal to start adsorbing its byproducts. It must be noted that the study was a small scale study with only six participants. More research is needed with more participants in order to establish the efficacy of activated charcoal in hangovers. Still, plenty of anecdotal evidence exists from people who swear by its effectiveness to lessen the sting of a hangover. Activated charcoal may help with other symptoms associated with hangovers like bloating and intestinal gas which are a result of dehydration.

The best way to combat a hangover is to drink a lot of fluids either water, juice or even Simply Slender to prevent dehydration. Lastly, drink alcohol in moderation to give your body enough time to break down the alcohol.

Do you want to try Simply Slender Charcoal Lemonade today? Click here to get a bottle or two today!


"The role of acetaldehyde in the actions of alcohol (update 2000)" - PubMed, May 25, 2001
"In Search of a Cure for the Dreaded Hangover" - Scientific American, March 17, 2014
"7 Evidence-Based Ways to Prevent Hangovers" - Healthline, June 15, 2017
"Why Do We Get Hangovers?" - Everyday Health, December 29, 2011
"Does alcohol absorb to activated charcoal?" - PubMed, May 5, 1986