Hangovers: the most common health problem?

In a recent British study, it was found that the average person spends about 2 years of their life hungover, making hangovers more common than the common cold!  Despite this, few people really understand what is happening to their body when they experience a hangover, and what they can do to help prevent one.

Let's change that.

How does your body break down alcohol?

When you consume alcohol, it is metabolised in the liver through a series of enzymatic reactions. The primary enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism is alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which converts alcohol (ethanol) into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance and a known carcinogen. It is further broken down by another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), into acetate, which is eventually converted into carbon dioxide and water.

Alcohol metabolism and hangover prevention

The toxicity of acetaldehyde is a key factor in the development of hangover symptoms. Acetaldehyde can cause damage to cells and tissues, leading to inflammation and various physiological disruptions. Make no mistake, when it comes to hangovers acetaldehyde is enemy number 1.

In addition to acetaldehyde, alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, as alcohol has a diuretic effect, causing increased urine production.  Along with this loss of excess fluid, key electrolytes and essential vitamins are flushed from the body.  This dehydration and loss of key nutrients can further contribute to symptoms such as headache, dizziness, anxiety (or "hangxiety") and fatigue.

What is alcohol flush?

Girl with Asian Flush

Sometimes known as "Asian flush" as an estimated 50% of people from East Asian descent suffer from it, alcohol flush is a genetic deficiency of the ALDH2 enzyme.  With a reduced ability to process it, excess acetaldehyde immediately floods the body, resulting in acute alcohol toxicity including facial flushing, headache and nausea when alcohol is consumed.  

So how can we speed up the breakdown of acetaldehyde?

This is where Asian wisdom meets recent scientific evidence.  For centuries, traditional medicine in East Asia has prescribed the fruit of the Japanese Raisin Tree (Hovenia Dulcis) as an antidote to alcohol toxicity.  It's only recently that scientists have started to uncover the active ingredient behind this - a flavonoid known as dihydromyricetin (or DHM).

If you want to know more, you can read our blog article and review the research cited below on the benefits of Japanese Raisin Tree and DHM for Hangover Prevention.

Similarly, the Korean Pear (Pyrus Pyrifolia) has demonstrated its ability to prevent hangover by accelerating the breakdown of acetaldehyde in a number of studies.  Our blog article provides a brief overview and as with all our key ingredients, the research we rely on is cited below.


Our commitment to transparency

At Neon Tiger we are committed to transparency in the research behind our products and believe that ongoing customer education is the key to unlocking better health outcomes.

Below we have published the studies that form the basis for the key ingredients in Recovery Shield +'s role in hangover-prevention:


Hovenia Dulcis (Japanese Raisin) fruit extract (with 20% dihydromyricetin content) - and its role in promoting alcohol metabolism, preventing hangover symptoms and supporting liver health:

Kim, H., et al, “A standardized extract of the fruit of Hovenia dulcis alleviated alcohol-induced hangover in healthy subjects with heterozygous ALDH2: A randomized, controlled, crossover trial”, Journal of Ethnopharmacology 209, 2015,

Shen, Y., et al, “A standardized extract of the fruit of Hovenia dulcis alleviated alcohol-induced hangover in healthy subjects with heterozygous ALDH2: A randomized, controlled, crossover trial”, The Journal of Neuroscience, 2012,  

Chen, S., et al, “Dihydromyricetin improves glucose and lipid metabolism and exerts anti-inflammatory effects in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A Randomized controlled trial”, Pharmacological Research 99, 2015, 


Pyrus Pyrifolia (Korean Pear) extract 10:1 - and its role in promoting alcohol metabolism, stimulating ADH and ALDH2 enzymatic response and preventing hangover symptoms:

Lee, HS., et al, “Effect of Korean pear (Pyrus pyrifolia cv. Shingo) juice on hangover severity following alcohol consumption.”, Food & Chemical Toxicology, 2013, 

Lee, HS., et al, “Effects and action mechanisms of Korean pear (Pyrus pyrifolia cv. Shingo) on alcohol detoxification”, Phytopher Research, 2012, 


Panax (Korean) Ginseng extract - and its role in relieving hangover symptoms:

Lee, MH., et al, “Red ginseng relieves the effects of alcohol consumption and hangover symptoms in healthy men: a randomized crossover study”, Food & Function, 2014, 


L-Cysteine (in the form of Cysteine hydrochloride monohydrate), and its role in preventing hangover symptoms:

Eriksson, CJP., et al, “L-Cysteine Containing Vitamin Supplement Which Prevents or Alleviates Alcohol-related Hangover Symptoms: Nausea, Headache, Stress and Anxiety”, Oxford Academic - Alcohol & Alcoholism, 2020,