If you’re hurting from a hangover, could help for the morning after be as close as your child’s medicine cabinet?
A growing number of grownups have been using Pedialyte, touted by some as a hangover cure. Since 2012, adults’ consumption of the children’s rehydration product has increased by 57 percent, according to data from market research firm Nielsen.
Pedialyte and Gatorade, also touted as a hangover remedy, may help you feel better after a serious night of drinking that led to vomiting and the loss of fluids, says Dr. Jeanmarie Perrone, a professor of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The salt and sugar in both products help the body absorb water more effectively, which is important if you are dehydrated, she said.
“There’s always been some cocktail that might help with detoxification after a big night of drinking,” she said, like downing a glass of water with two Motrin. “This is the most current round of people’s speculation. It does make some theoretical sense.”
But she remains skeptical, citing a lack of proof that they work better than anything else, like drinking plain water or sleeping it off. “If it was a proven hangover remedy, then I think we would have more evidence to suggest it was the answer,” she said.
Still, Perrone says there can be a placebo effect.
“I think believing that Gatorade is going to help you or believing that Pedialyte will help you will probably help you as much as the sugar and salt would help,” she said. “There’s a good solid placebo effect to anything that anyone takes in this regard.”
And don’t forget after a night of drinking, there are calories in these drinks, more in regular Gatorade than in Pedialyte, notes Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietitian in Hermosa Beach, California, who recommends good old-fashioned water.
“My concern with products like these is they contain extra calories your body may or not need and they’re going to cost more than if you drink regular water and not get the same nutrition as a healthy meal and glass of water,” Giancoli says.
But she agreed that the replacement fluids in the two drinks could help relieve hangover symptoms, and may be a good option for people too nauseous to eat. Their flavor, too, may encourage people to drink more fluids than they would if they were drinking regular water.
“They stimulate you to take in more fluid because they taste good and a little bit of sodium enhances that and wanting to drink more,” she said.
Pedialyte has responded to the growth in use by adults with a “See the Lyte” social media campaign and an ad that says, “When last night’s party threatens to ruin today, those in the know reach for Pedialyte,” according to NBC News.
More proof that Pedialyte is not just for babies and young kids suffering from vomiting and diarrhea? Pharrell Williams told US Weekly last year that he drinks the product almost every day, and The Wall Street Journal said Miley Cyrus was said to be posing with a bottle of the stuff.
The TODAY anchors had some fun Monday talking about the perils of having too much to drink, and it turns out, two of them have used Pedialyte themselves.
“I’ve been using this since college,” said Dylan Dreyer. “I’ve done it a couple of times,” added Tamron Hall.
“What’s funny is the two people without kids,” Hall joked, “we have it stocked.”
Lisa A. Flam, a regular contributor to TODAY.com, is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter.