By Max Rothman
A recent study conducted by Medicus Research indicates that hangover-prevention supplements made by Mercy Nutraceuticals, Inc. can diminish common symptoms from hangovers, such as headache and nausea, and alcohol consumption, such as reductions in attention and cognitive function.
Dr. Jay Udani, the CEO and medical director at Agoura Hills, Calif.-based Medicus, led the pilot phase of the third-party study. The study was funded by Mercy, which markets a hangover-prevention beverage.
“Processing speed and executive function in those taking placebo declined while those in the Mercy group improved,” Udani said in a release.
The crossover, double-blind study, which is ongoing and has undergone a series of standardized computer testing, has been randomized. Trial subjects were given alcohol and Mercy, then evaluated for symptoms. About two weeks later, the same subjects were given alcohol and a placebo.
The subjects who consumed Mercy reported 73 percent improvement in hangover symptoms, which were defined as nausea, headache, anorexia, dry mouth, soreness, weakness, tremulousness, diarrhea and dizziness.
From a cognitive perspective, the subjects who consumed Mercy reported a 110 percent improvement in memory.
The following statistics, also cognitive-related, achieved statistical significance, a result that isn’t likely to occur randomly and can be attributed to a specific cause. The subjects who consumed Mercy reported a 106 percent improvement in executive function, a 122 percent improvement in processing speed and a 122 percent improvement in reaction time.
The study defines memory as how a subject can perceive and attend to symbols using short-term memory processing. Executive function measures how well a subject recognizes rules and categories and manages or navigates rapid decision making. Processing speed measures how well a subject perceives and responds to incoming information through motor speed, fine motor coordination and visual-perceptual ability. Reaction time measures how quickly the subject can react in a millisecond to a simple and increasingly complex set of directions.
Mercy CEO David Racicot said that Medicus and Mercy can’t divulge more information on the study, such as the number or demographics of the subjects, because they don’t want to risk their chance at publishing the study in a nutraceuticals journal in the first or second quarter of 2014.
Racicot said that he values this kind of study because it can add greater credibility to Mercy’s brand and increase the odds that it resonates with consumers as a hangover prevention tool.
“It’s really important to have that objective, third-party view of it,” Racicot said. “I think anybody can say we do this, we do that.”
Considering the study, Dr. Richard Firshein, the founder of The Firshein Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City, said in the release that Mercy provides increased health-related benefits in conjunction with safe and moderate alcohol intake. Mercy defines moderate alcohol intake as three to six drinks, depending on the individual.
As a result, Mercy isn’t marketed toward excessive drinkers who may have a greater propensity and tolerance for a higher intake of alcohol.
The Alcohol Hangover, a study published in June 2000 by Jeffrey G. Wiese et al., said that 54 percent of all alcohol-related problems in the workplace are caused by light drinkers and 87 percent of the problems are caused by light-to-moderate drinkers.
“The majority of the U.S. adult drinking population that have to wake up the next day to either go to work or take care of a household or drop your kids off and all of that, we can significantly improve how they feel the next day,” Racicot said.
Medicus is continuing the study on a larger pool of subjects to verify the significance of the current results.