A relatively new herbal extract known as Ampelopsin, commonly called Dihydromyricetin or DHM is making waves in the hangover cure supplement market.
Several supplement companies have started creating products in response to popular research that has shown that it reduces symptoms of alcohol intoxication, reduces the damage done to your liver, and, most importantly, prevents hangovers.
With so many so-called hangover cures around nowadays, it’s hard to tell which one is actually worth trying.
In this article, we’re going to take a close look at the main things you need to know about dihydromyricetin, including what the research has shown and whether it actually works as a hangover cure.
What is Dihydromyricetin (DHM)?
DHM is the active ingredient which is extracted from the Japanese raisin tree – otherwise known as the Holvenia Dulcis.
DHM has a few different names, some describing different forms of the extract and some describing the plant that it is derived from (DHM is an extract from the Holvenia Dolsis tree, as mentioned above).
Alternative names, that you may hear, are:
- DHM ~ the shortened/abbreviated name
- Cedrus Deodara ~ the name of the tree that dihydromyricetin is extracted from (specifically, dihydromyricetin is extracted from the bark of the cedrus deodara tree)
- Ampelopsin ~ the chemical name
- Holvenia Dulcis ~ another name for the oriental raisin tree that the dihydromyricetin compound is extracted from.
Dihydromyricetin/Ampelopsin can also be found in other plants except for Holvenia Dulcis, the major ones being Catha edulis and Chinese Vine Tea.
How was DHM discovered?
Originally a Chinese herbal tea, dihydromyricetin has been taken for centuries as a hangover cure and headache healer in rural villages.
It wasn’t until a pharmacologist from the University of California, Los Angeles, called Jing Liang led a team of researchers to effectively get rats (very) drunk and then test dihydromyricetin extracts on them, that it became apparent and well known that there was real merit in DHM and it’s potential as a hangover cure.
The original studies were performed whilst trying to develop a potential solution to Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), commonly called alcoholism, where the symptoms involve repeated alcohol use leading to tolerance and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Jing Liang’s popular study, entitled “Dihydromyricetin As A Novel Anti-Alcohol Intoxication Medication” detailed how dihydromyricetin counteracted alcohol (EtOH) intoxication.
Scratching your head? Let’s put that in terms we can all understand, and look at how and why dihydromyricetin works for hangovers next.
The research behind dihydromyricetin
Liang and her research team first tested whether Dihydromyricetin blocks the clumsiness and loss of coordination caused by drinking too much.
The rats were injected with high doses of alcohol to make them drunk.
And their results were pretty interesting:
1) Dihydromyricetin prevents intoxication:
When DHM was mixed into the alcohol solution, they found that the rats didn’t get drunk in the first place. How did they know they were drunk? Well, they tested the “Lighting reflex”. The rats have a natural reflex to flip from their back to front when placed down this way. So the researchers set the bar at when the rats stopped doing this flip.
2) Dihydromyricetin increases alcohol breakdown:
The researchers tested the rat’s blood at intervals after giving alcohol on its own and comparing it when given with DHM. They found that when they gave DHM with alcohol, the rat’s blood was clear from alcohol much faster.
3) Dihydromyricetin makes you want less alcohol:
They found that when DHM was given with alcohol, the rats naturally didn’t go after more alcohol to get more drunk. Whereas without the DHM, they seemed to like the effects of alcohol and go after it more and more.
More research has been carried out on the extract since Liang’s studies and the findings are even more impressive: it turns out that dihydromyricetin has hepatoprotective properties This means that DHM has the ability to reduce the amount of liver damage caused by alcohol.
More recent studies have shown that DHM has other promising properties, including:
- Clearing “free radicals” from the body and antioxidation.
- Antibiotic Action
- Protecting the Liver
- Reducing the levels of blood sugar and blood fat
So now that we’ve got some of the science out the way, next we’ll look at whether DHM really works for hangovers.
Does DHM work for hangovers?
To fully understand the way Dihydromyricetin helps your body in preventing the effects of alcohol, we must first understand how the body processes and metabolizes alcohol.
When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream through the stomach and intestines. Our blood is then filtered through the liver, where alcohol is broken down (metabolized) and removed from the system by breaking it down into different chemicals.
One of the chemicals that alcohol breaks down into is a toxic byproduct known as Acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is up to 20-30 times more toxic to the body than alcohol. In fact, research has suggested that most of the hangover symptoms you get are because of a build-up of acetaldehyde!
In normal circumstances, your liver clears acetaldehyde before it causes too much damage. The problem is, your liver is only capable of breaking down alcohol and acetaldehyde at a certain rate. That rate is typically around 1 drink per hour (but this depends on factors such as height, weight, age, and gender).
What does this mean?
If you’re drinking more than 1 alcoholic beverage an hour, you’ll start to get tipsy/drunk. Which is normally the intended effect of course.
However, you’ll also get a buildup of toxic acetaldehyde at the same time. Which is why the more you drink, the worse the hangovers get.
The research suggests that DHM improves the ability of your liver enzymes to break down alcohol.
DHM basically makes them work faster and clear more alcohol from your system. Therefore the less buildup of acetaldehyde you have in your body.
DHM effect on hangover anxiety
We all know that feeling after a night of drinking where you wake up to 100 messages of what happened the night before, and your memory is patchy at best.
On top of that, the alcohol you’ve had is making you feel a little more delicate than usual and your anxiety levels are peaking.
Well, Dihydromyricetin has been shown to help reduce these symptoms.
Let me explain:
When you drink lots of alcohol, brain activity is suppressed. This means that our main neurotransmitters which keep us alert are all subdued. namely GABA and Glutamate.
When you wake up the next morning, the alcohol is out of your system (hopefully), so your brain is firing on all cylinders trying to catch up with the events from last night.
In fact, Its fired up more than it was the day before. This is known as alcohol rebound effect and is the reason why you get anxiety and the shakes.
Dihydromyricetin suppresses the rebound effect of alcohol by slowing down GABA and Glutamate. When DHM is taken after a long night of drinking, it basically slows down the rebound effect of alcohol which should, in theory, reduce the anxiety after drinking alcohol.
This effect of DHM was powerful enough that researchers believe DHM may have promise as a treatment for the more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms suffered by alcoholics attempting to kick the habit. But of course, a lot more research is needed before scientists can come to this conclusion.
Is Dihydromyricetin Safe?
There have been no dihydromyricetin tests specifically testing the side effects when consumed by humans, but several insightful studies looking into the benefits have concluded that overall: dihydromyricetin is probably safe for humans to use. It’s been used in traditional medicine for years.
As with all supplements, you should discuss with your doctor whether its the right thing for you. Herbal supplements can often interact with the medications prescribed by your doctor.
Can it affect your liver?
On the contrary, DHM has been shown in research to actually act as a protectant against alcohol damage to the liver, meaning it has hepatoprotective qualities.
One study, headed up by a researcher named Jian Xi, used Hovenia Dulcis on chronically alcohol-induced liver damage in mice showed and showed that dihydromyricetin significantly protects against alcohol-induced liver damage.
Essentially the study showed it has liver-protective properties.
It’s important to mention that these are preliminary studies on mice and therefore can’t be directly transferred to real effects in humans. However, it’s an interesting study that may sure future promise.
What is the recommended DHM dosage for hangovers?
The simple answer is – There isn’t one really.
Most hangover cure products containing dihydromyricetin use amounts between 100mg – 300mg per capsule/serving, which, depending on body weight and the amount of alcohol consumed, is more then enough to sober most people up (if not one serving/pill, then two will definitely do the job) while staying way under maximum recommended doses.
You can purchase much higher doses if you search online, but the safety at these levels hasn’t really been tested.
However, In one particular study, up to 200mg/kg of dihydromyricetin was given to rats and found to have no negative side effects. This scales up to 49mg/kg of body weight in a human or 3422mg for a 70kg person (150lbs).
How do you take DHM for hangovers?
DHM is best taken while you’re drinking or immediately after your last drink. This is because it needs to work while alcohol is in your bloodstream and before your hangover has taken hold.
Taking DHM when you’re already hungover has very little benefit as the damage is already done by this stage.
When it comes to hangovers, prevention is key. This is the case with any hangover prevention tactic you go for.
All the research studies so far have also given it just before or during alcohol administration.
Furthermore, all the top hangover supplements also usually advise taking DHM before and/or just after your last drink.
you’ll find DHM in drink, pill and patch supplements, but which one is best?
It’s often hard to tell as every manufacturer claims their supplement is better than others. Next, we’ll look into what different options are available.
Is it better to take DHM as a drink, pill or patch?
The absorption of DHM from your intestines into your bloodstream is generally low. There arent many studies looking at how much DHM is actually absorbed but one has shown that factors such as stomach acidity can make a difference.
Unfortunately, this is not something you have control over.
The delivery of DHM from a patch is debatable as the amount absorbed from the skin is dependent is low, especially as the doses in DHM patches are small.
DHM in drink and pill form are likely to give similar results and even though most companies claim theirs is the best, we don’t have concrete evidence to say which one is superior.
So personal preference is the best way to decide which form of DHM is best for you.
How much does dihydromyricetin cost?
If you are looking for the cheapest source of bulk raw dihydromyricetin, the best source is always going to be a manufacturer or processor from Asia, of which there are many on Alibaba. Prices can vary depending on who you are buying from and the quality of their DHM.
The main problem with buying directly from the source is quality. You want to make sure you are buying the highest quality DHM powder and that there are no impurities or harmful substances that you might ingest within the extract powder.
we are not experts on testing extracts, so I can only suggest doing some research on proper testing of substances & supplements before purchasing and ingesting any substance from a Chinese/oriental supplier.
You also want to make sure that the dihydromyricetin you buy hasn’t been diluted with other substances, so make sure you go for a 99% or higher purity powder. Always ask for a COA (certificate of analysis) before ordering to ensure quality.
Otherwise, you can purchase DHM from reputable companies such as AfterDrink, Flyby or Cheers which feature in our list of the best DHM containing products.
Are there any reviews?
Apart from the studies and product sources mentioned in this article, Dihydromyricetin is included in most hangover pills nowadays.
In fact, most of the hangover supplements on the market today build their product formulation around DHM.
A quick search on sites like Amazon will show thousands of positive reviews for hangover supplements.
So overall, we would say the reviews are positive. As mentioned before, it’s been used for centuries in Asian traditional medicine and only recently discovered in the western world.
That said, everyone is different, so will respond differently to DHM. It may be more effective for some people over others. This is just the reality with any herbal product you consume.
Does DHM cure hangovers?
People always talk about “hangover cures” and this would suggest that you will wake up after a night of drinking with absolutely no symptoms of a hangover.
In reality, we’re confident in saying this is impossible. At the end of the day, alcohol and its by-products are toxins. In addition, drinking normally goes with a late night and poor quality sleep.
Therefore, a real cure doesn’t exist. Not even with DHM.
That being said, the research on DHM and customer reviews so far is very promising and could support your liver in reducing the severity of your hangovers.
Anything else to consider?
When it comes to looking for a hangover prevention remedy, it’s important to appreciate that alcohol affects your body in many different ways.
DHM can increase the rate of alcohol metabolism and reduce the “rebound effect”, but this is only part of the battle.
There are several other ingredients which have been shown to reduce hangover symptoms including prickly pear, milk thistle and B-vitamins for example.
This is why the best hangover pills usually contain DHM plus many other ingredients to cover all bases.
As always, it’s important to take the practical steps like eating before going out and keeping hydrated while drinking alcohol.
DHM is making waves in the scientific world, in particular with regards to its hangover busting properties. It’s a natural ingredient that’s been used for thousands of years but only now are we utilizing its full potential.
DHM is a top ingredient to look out for and most of the top hangover supplements build their whole formula around this ingredient because of it’s powerful
There’s no doubt that it works for many people as you’ll find so many hangover products containing DHM online with thousands of positive reviews.
It’s important to emphasize that DHM is not the only ingredient to look out for in your quest for the best hangover cure. There are several other potent ingredients which work hand in hand with DHM.
Taking DHM on its own is only addressing part of the damage caused by drinking and it’s essential to cover all bases to give yourself the best chance of waking up with less of a hangover.
You can check out our top pick of DHM containing supplements by following the link below.