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Is Pedialyte actually good for hangovers? It’s a common question as many people are using this rehydration drink to recover after drinking.
Pedialyte was originally designed as a drink to rehydrate unwell children. Nowadays, it’s widely marketed as a drink for all ages and causes of dehydration. Even as a rehydration drink for sports stars and athletes.
But is Pedialyte also good for hangovers?
Given that dehydration is one of the main causes of a hangover, it’s only natural to presume that it could help.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what Pedialtye is made of before answering whether this drink is good for a hangover.
Causes of a hangover
Before we get into whether Pedialyte is good for hangovers or not, we first need to go over the causes of a hangover. After all, without knowing the reasons why drinking alcohol leaves you feeling rough, it’ll be hard to tell what works.
Ultimately, hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol for your body to handle. Alcohol is metabolized by your liver at a certain rate. Typically, that’s around one drink per hour for the “average” person. But the rate varies greatly depending on factors such as your weight, gender, and age to mention a few. You can read more about this in our article about how long alcohol stays in your system.
When you drink faster than the rate your liver is able to break down alcohol, levels start to rise in your bloodstream. And this is where the problems start:
One of the main causes of a hangover is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes your kidneys flush out water. It does so by blocking the release of a hormone called vasopressin. As a result, drinking over several hours can lead to dehydration.
While dehydration plays a big part, it isn’t the only cause. When alcohol is metabolized, toxic by-products are formed. Examples include acetaldehyde which is a highly reactive molecule that damages the cells it comes into contact with.(1)
In normal circumstances, your body breaks down acetaldehyde quickly before it causes damage. In addition, antioxidants help by neutralizing harmful by-products. However, during periods of overindulgence, this system is overrun. Hence why inflammation is another major factor in the cause of hangovers.
Alcohol massively reduces the quality of your sleep. It blocks your brain from entering the deep stages of sleep which is required to feel fully rested. This stage is also known as the rapid eye movement (REM) stage. Therefore, reduced sleep quality plays a large part in the severity of hangovers.(2)
In summary: The science of hangovers is complicated. It’s caused by a combination of the factors mentioned above.
With the science out the way, let’s take a closer look at what Pedialyte is made of to see if there’s anything in it that can help with hangovers.
What’s in Pedialyte?
There are many different formulations of Pedialyte available, but the classic version contains:
- dextrose, (a form of the sugar)
- electrolytes: sodium, chloride, and potassium
Essentially, it's water with added electrolytes, a small amount of sugar, and zinc.
Is Pedialyte good for hangovers?
So, now on to the all-important question. Is Pedialyte good for hangovers?
At the time of writing, there are no studies looking at Pedialyte as a remedy for hangovers.
However, Pedialyte contains sugar and electrolytes which will support rapid hydration and provide an energy boost.
Furthermore, it's a tasty drink and probably easier to drink than plain water alone when hungover. So if you're looking for a drink rather than water when hungover, Pedialyte is a good choice.
When to drink Pedialyte for hangovers
When it comes to hangovers, prevention is key. That means taking all the necessary steps to help your body deal with the stresses caused by alcohol.
Aside from drinking less alcohol, making sure you rehydrate after drinking alcohol is important. Therefore, drinking Pedialyte at the end of your night out is likely to be more beneficial than when you’ve woken up with a hangover.
Does drinking Pedialyte prevent hangovers?
Although we’ve said that rehydrating after drinking alcohol is important, it doesn’t mean that drinking Pedialtye will totally prevent you from waking up with a hangover.
Perhaps it will help reduce the severity of some of your symptoms. But completely preventing a hangover is unrealistic.
How much Pedialyte to drink for hangovers
So, you’re planning on trying Pedialyte for hangovers. How much should you drink?
There’s no hard and fast rule for this. But drinking a small glass of Pedialyte is unlikely to make much difference. Similarly, drinking too much, meaning more than a litre bottle in a short period of time may be excessive.
The best way is to sip on a bottle over a couple of hours with the aim of finishing up to one, 1-litre bottle.
Is Pedialyte a hangover cure?
Regardless of whether you drink Pedialtye before, during, or after drinking alcohol, it’s not going to cure your hangover. The same goes for drinking one cup of Pedialyte versus ten cups.
We mentioned earlier that dehydration is only one of the reasons why drinking too much alcohol causes hangovers.
Therefore, if you plan to drink loads of Pedialyte after a big night out and wake up hangover free, you’re going to be disappointed.
Are there any negatives?
Fortunately, drinking Pedialyte is unlikely to come with any side effects. It’s essentially just water with some minerals and electrolytes.
With that said, drinking litres of it in a short period of time is best avoided. But the same can be said about anything! even plain water.
Anything else to consider?
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve had too much for your liver to handle. Trying to “cure” or “prevent” hangovers with Pedialyte is not the best approach.
Drinking less alcohol, at a slower pace, and eating before going are the most important steps. Another good tip is to drink a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage.
In addition, darker coloured drinks are known to cause more severe hangovers. That’s because they contain more congeners which, like acetaldehyde, react with your cells. That’s why sticking to lighter coloured drinks may also help. You can read more about this in our article about congeners.
With that said, if you drink enough of any alcoholic drink, dark or light-coloured, you’ll wake up with a bad hangover.
Pedialyte for hangovers – Final verdict
That brings us to the end of our look at Pedialyte for hangovers.
It’s a great drink that supports efficient rehydration with added minerals and electrolytes.
Whether it actually helps with hangovers is unclear because it’s not been researched. But the likelihood is that it’s probably a good drink to have at the end of your night to counteract some of the dehydration caused by alcohol.
Unfortunately, it’s not going to prevent or cure a hangover. So, the usual precautions still need to be taken.
If you’re interested in this topic, check out our article about the best drinks for a hangover.