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A boozy night out is fun while it lasts, but with morning comes a painful awakening. Your head is throbbing, your stomach is doing flip-flops, and you’re bleary-eyed and tired—indeed, nothing says the party’s over like the next day’s hangover.
I’ve been there, and whenever I’ve found myself wallowing in post-revelry misery, I’m willing to try most anything to assuage the hurt of a raging hangover. Save for the hair of the dog that is—I’ll (otherwise) happily scarf down a big breakfast or take my mom’s well-meaning advice and drink chlorophyll water for a hangover.
What is ‘chlorophyll water?’
For those who haven’t caught word about this beverage, “it is purified water that is enriched with chlorophyll, a compound found in plants,” according to Yelena Wheeler, MPH, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist. It’s available in liquid or powder form, which when added to water, turns it emerald green.
Plants also owe their striking verdant hue to chlorophyll, and beyond that, it’s vital for photosynthesis, allowing plants to absorb energy from light. While chlorophyll water won’t turn you green when you drink it, it’s said to be beneficial for humans, too.
The key benefits of chlorophyll water
The antioxidant-rich ingredient contains vitamins K, C, and E, and according to registered dietitian Lisa Samuels, RD, in an interview with Well+Good: “Chlorophyll helps with digestion by increasing the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract,” adding, “it’s also antimicrobial, so it gets rid of harmful bacteria while maintaining healthy ones.” What’s more, “Chlorophyll works to detoxify the liver, which helps digest fasts,” she says.
Keep in mind that chlorophyll water isn’t the only way to consume the ingredient, and experts agree that it isn’t even the best way. You’re better off consuming it by way of dark leafy greens, broccoli, and wheatgrass, which are all rich in chlorophyll. “Eating actual vegetables with all the combined components of fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, far outweighs a chlorophyll tablet or powder,” Vikki Petersen, DC, CNN, CFMP, a certified functional medicine practitioner and clinical nutritionist, told Well+Good.
Still, this hasn’t stopped me from drinking the green beverage after a night out, and I’ll admit my mother might’ve been onto something when she proposed it as a “cure.” When I’ve had to pay reparations for too much fun, there were instances in which chlorophyll water took the place of ibuprofen. What isn’t clear is whether its effectiveness is due to the fact that chlorophyll water is mostly made up of… well, water (which can help replenish fluids lost from alcohol), if it actually has benefits that can help ease hangover symptoms, or if it’s just placebo—which is potent medicine all its own.
So, can chlorophyll water help with a hangover?
Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut evidence that chlorophyll water can help assuage the effects of a hangover—and Wheeler says that for this reason, you may want to try another hangover remedy if you want something that’s sure to be effective. However, according to Payam Vahedifar, MD, board-certified physician and founder and CEO of Adaptogen Health and Synrjē Nutrition, there’s reason to believe that chlorophyll water can help.
“Although chlorophyll may not have a direct effect on alcohol metabolism, it does have an antioxidant effect that can contribute to decreasing inflammation,” says Dr. Vahedifar. It works to reduce proinflammatory proteins called cytokines, “the key molecules in inflammation,” which is a major factor that contributes to the morning-after malaise that people experience during a hangover. “Overall, the combination of the hydration from water and the anti-inflammatory effect of chlorophyll can help reduce the duration and severity of a hangover,” he says. Which is all to say: If you’re looking for a hangover remedy outside of pain relievers, there’s no harm in trying chlorophyll water.
Just remember that too much chlorophyll can do the body more harm than good, and Wheeler recommends sticking to a maximum intake of 300 milligrams per day. “If a person takes amounts over the recommended dose of 300 milligrams per day, then they may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Additionally, they may experience bloating and discolored stools,” she says.
4 other hangover remedies worth considering
Chlorophyll water isn’t the only option worth considering as a hangover remedy. Below are four expert-backed remedies that you can try, so you can be sure any of them will ease the general ickiness that proceeds a big night out.
1. Drink electrolytes
After a night of drinking, people typically lose a lot of fluids, and dehydration can exacerbate the effects of a hangover. To replenish what fluids they’ve lost, many people turn to electrolyte drinks—and for good reason. “Because alcohol can increase the risk of fluid loss and electrolyte imbalances, electrolyte drinks can help restore both fluid and electrolytes. Drinking alcohol can also lead to low blood sugar, and the added sugars in some electrolyte drinks can increase these levels,” Caroline Cederquist, MD, board-certified physician and founder and chief medical officer at BistroMD, previously told Well+Good.
2. Walk off your hangover
If you can manage to get up and off the couch, consider lacing up your sneakers and going for a walk. It might be the last thing you want to try, but Stephen Clark, DPT, OCS, ATC, physical therapist and clinic director at Confluent Health, previously told Well+Good that it can help assuage the hurt. Walking can help quicken the rate at which your liver and kidneys process alcohol, he says, and it can encourage regular lymphatic function, which helps alleviate hangover symptoms like a headache and water retention. Just be sure to take it easy to avoid exacerbating your symptoms.
3. If all else fails, take some medicine
If, despite your efforts, your hangover persists, consider taking medication for immediate relief—but, by all means, avoid Tylenol, which can be extra hard on the liver after a night of drinking. “Alcohol consumption causes extra stress on your liver, so combining the two in short time can potentially lead to liver damage in the long run,” Stacia Woodcock, PharmD, pharmacist and clinical editor at GoodRx, previously told Well+Good. Instead, she recommends taking NSAIDS, like ibuprofen or naproxen to alleviate pain (just be sure to take them with food), or Pepcid or Zantac for stomach issues.
4. Prevent a hangover from happening in the first place
If there’s one thing that many experts can agree on, it’s that prevention is often the best cure for a hangover. “Consuming alcohol moderately and responsibly is the best approach to protecting your body from harm,” Dr. Woodcock told Well+Good. When you do drink, be sure to alternate alcoholic beverages with water and avoid drinking on an empty stomach.