Alcohol proved to release endorphins; Scientist tests a “sober up pill” on drunken rats
We often hear much negative press about the affects of consuming mammoth quantities of that beautiful nectar we call alcohol. As official associates of the gamblin’ and carryin’ on club, drinkin’ comes as second nature. We mean, come on, it is an origin of civilisation after all.
Too regularly though are we made to feel guilty by various bodies and certain health watchdogs for simply getting pissed and having a good old laugh. Well, in your faces, World Health Organisation! A new study has proved for the first time that alcohol releases endorphins – the body’s way of making us feel pleasure and reward. Yes, there is a god.
The study, published in the Science Translational Medicine Journal and led by Dr Jennifer Mitchell of the University of California San Francisco, finds that the stress and pain-relieving proteins are naturally released in the brain and other tissues when alcohol is poured down our necks.
In a report by the Telegraph, Mitchell said: “This is something that we’ve speculated about for 30 years, based on animal studies, but haven’t observed in humans until now. It provides the first direct evidence of how alcohol makes people feel good.”
The study went ahead through head scans which showed the immediate effects of alcohol on the brain. These scans provided the first direct evidence to support scientists’ belief that guzzling down a cocktail or knocking back a shot of tequila triggers the release of those fun-loving chemicals; endorphins.
However, that’s not the only good news knocking around the internet concerning our much loved endorphin-inducing liquid.
You know when you’ve just had that one too many, and your night of fun and frolicks turns into a disastrous vomiting “where am I? Who am I?” nightmare? Well, another scientific study – this time by a pharmacologist named Jing Liang of the University of California, Los Angeles – has found a potentially safe way of instantly sobering a drunken person up. But get this – it might also possibly eliminate any form of hangover.
Too good to be true, right? We know – but here’s the science:
Extracts of a Chinese variety of the oriental raisin tree (Hovenia dulcis), which have been used for 500 years to treat hangovers in China, has been modified to prove its worth as an intoxication blocker in a series of experiments on rats.
In the study led by Liang, a component of the raisin tree extract named dihydromyricetin (DHM), was injected into lab rats which had previously been given a dose of alcohol proportionate to the amount a human would get from downing 15 to 20 beers in two hours. When the rats were hit with a DHM injection of the same amount of booze included a milligram of DHM per kilogram of rat body weight, the animals recovered their composure within just five minutes. That’s oppose to the 70 minutes it took to come round when not given the drug.
Flabbergasted? So are we. According to a report by New Scientist, the drug works by preventing alcohol from having its usual intoxicating effects on the brain, however much is in blood.
Dr Liang said: “DHM will reduce the degree of drunkenness for the amount of alcohol drunk and will definitely reduce the hangover symptoms. In time, it will reduce their desire for alcohol.”
The doctor also revealed that soon enough, a test containing DHM will be performed for the first time on humans. “I would give it to problem drinkers who can’t resist going to the pub and drinking,” she said.
But if it does work, is a “sober up pill” really a good idea? If used often, it seems like a bit of a waste. In our opinion, it should be used as a back-up only – for those times when you’ve just had one too many. Or if you want to drive yourself home and avoid drink driving. Or even perhaps it could be used as a nightcap to prevent nasty hangovers?
What do you think?