Can alcohol hangovers soon become a thing of the past?

A scientist in Britain claims to have found a synthetic alcohol that could let drinkers enjoy the sensation of being drunk while completely avoiding the terrible hangover that usually follows.

Known as an "alcosynth," the non-toxic synthetic alcohol mimics the positive effects of normal alcohol and skips the negative side effects, according to creator David Nutt.

The former government drugs advisor who now works as a professor at Imperial College London told The Independent that he has already patented around 90 different alcosynth compounds. Two of these 90 compounds are now being tested for widespread use.

With that, Nutt hopes alcosynth could replace normal liquor in the market by 2050.

No Negative Side Effects

By researching substances that work on the brain in the same way as alcohol, Nutt and his colleagues were able to design and manipulate the properties of the alcosynth.

Nutt said brain science on alcohol has become well-understood in the last three decades. Because they know where the positive effects of alcohol are moderated in the human brain, they were able to mimic them.

Alcosynths supposedly do not cause nausea, dryness, headaches or any other long-term health issues, researchers said. The positive effects of alcosynth supposedly last for a couple of hours. It's the same with traditional alcohol.

Nutt and his team have also managed to limit the effects, so in theory, it would be impossible to "get drunk," he said.

"[B]y not touching the bad areas, we don’t have the bad effects,” said Nutt.

Benefits Of Alcosynth

In the United Kingdom, alcohol drinking is the third major risk factor for disease and death, according to Alcohol Concern.

In the United States, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that excessive alcohol consumption has cost the government as high as $223.5 billion in 2006.

Advocates believe alcosynth could revolutionize public health by relieving it from the burden caused by alcohol-related issues.

On the other hand, a Health official in the UK has said that Nutt's idea is "interesting," but too much of it is still in its infancy for any comments. The spokesperson said the government won't have to fund the research until it was a "little further along."

Indeed, the huge cost of funding research on the product means that it could be a long time before an alcosynth is out in the market.

Other experts are also not convinced with the alcosynth's alleged benefits.

Neil Williams, head of media at the British Beer and Pub Association, believes that alcosynth is "not necessary," asserting that there are other strategies to avoid a hangover. One example is by drinking low-strength alcohol, particularly beers, he added.

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski | Flickr

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