After studying abroad, my college friends returned from Europe hoarding packs of orange-flavored discs that they swore would end even the worst hangover.
These tablets are known as Berocca, and dissolve in water, releasing (according to the packaging) an effervescent cocktail of vitamins B and C, plus zinc and sometimes caffeine.
After one glass, people say their hangover symptoms disappear completely. Now, the supposed hangover cure is finally coming to the United States, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Bayer officially bought the product back in 2005 when it acquired Swiss pharmaceutical brand Roche’s consumer health group. Already extremely popular in Australia since the 1980s, Bayer began marketing Berocca in more than 50 countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, and Korea.
The pharmaceutical company plans to start selling the tablets at U.S. drugstores such as Target, Wal-Mart, and CVS.
Bayer is marketing Berocca as a “performance” drink that falls somewhere between an energy shot and vitamin tablet. The website claims that it will enhance both your mind and your body, and that maybe (just maybe) it could help your hangover:
Whilst there have been no studies conducted on the effect of Berocca on hangovers, alcohol can affect the absorption and use of the B group vitamins. Apart from the other essential vitamins and minerals, Berocca is a high-dose vitamin B supplement which may help restore depleted levels of B-vitamins. Drinking a lot of water or other rehydrating drinks will help towards preventing or lessening most hangover symptoms. Having a Berocca effervescent tablet in water may also help you rehydrate.
Bayer is smart to avoid saying that Berocca can definitively stop a hangover. A 2005 study published in the medical journal BMJ concluded tha, “No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover.” A more recent 2010 study came to the same conclusion.
Since most hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration, it’s also possible that Berocca tablets help consumers remember to drink a lot of water, which is really the best way to combat a hangover.
Scientists are actively calling for more research into effective hangover cures. But in the meantime, “Community” star Joel McHale has already starred in two commercials for Berocca’s U.S. ad campaign, so chances are we’ll be seeing a lot more of Berocca in the coming months.
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