By Joshua Bailie
The next time you need some extra help getting out of bed after some wild partying, don’t turn to Tylenol and coffee. You may never get up.
Well, it’s not that drastic, but a new American Chemical Society study shows its side effects could be pretty serious. In the upcoming Oct. 15 issue of the ACS journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, it says that caffeine triples the amount of toxic by-product that the liver enzyme produces while breaking down acetaminophen, the pain-killer in Tylenol.
The byproduct, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone (NAPQI), causes liver damage and can ultimately make it fail if it interacts with alcohol and acetaminophen. The dangers are daunting, but don’t get your paranoid panties in a bunch just yet. One of the study’s authors, Sidney Nelson, said that only “a very small group of individuals” would suffer from increased chances of liver toxicity if they took the Tylenol and coffee concoction.
Just remember to be careful, the point is that your liver could soon resemble Britney Spears’ career path.
Maya Nightingale, a first-year arts and contemporary studies student, said that she’s taken the corrosive concoction but didn’t know its potent potential. “It helps the headache,” she said.
So is there a safe remedy that works? Everyone has their tricks, but research from Exeter University in England has concluded that “no compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover.”
Ryerson’s Health Promotion nurse Melissa Matton agrees, saying that “everything is a myth except for time.”
She said that it’s like having a cold; you can take things to fight the symptoms and make yourself feel better, but you can’t actually cure it.
Since hangovers do suck considerably, it is worth the effort to try and make them more tolerable. Many students recommend big meals and Advil (it’s acetaminophen free). Dehydration and electrolyte deficiency are the main problems after drinking, so water, Gatorade and even Pedialyte, a toddler anti-diarrhea drink, work pretty well. One Ryerson student recommended that eating a meal that includes all food groups soothes the sickness. Or classically, you could pull a Rip Van Winkle and sleep it off.
When asked for her alternatives to coffee and Tylenol, Nightingale merely suggested to “throw up the night before.”