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Researchers Create Pill that Lowers Alcohol Levels in the Body

Update Date: Feb 18, 2013 08:24 AM EST
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Researchers have created a new pill that mimics the action of liver and speeds up the processing of alcohol in the body. The pill can be an antidote for intoxication, making hangovers a thing of the past.

"The pill acts in a way extremely similar to the way your liver does. With further research, this discovery could be used as a preventative measure or antidote for alcohol intoxication," said Yunfeng Lu, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and one of the study authors.

There are many enzymes in the body that work together to remove alcohol from the body, like alcohol oxidase. However, these enzymes can produce certain toxic byproducts, for example alcohol oxidase promotes breaking down of alcohol, but produces hyderogen peroxide. A catalase, on the other hand, breaks down the hydrogen peroxide. Thus, getting these two enzymes - alcohol oxidase and catalase - working together can help the body fight intoxication without producing any toxic products.

Researchers used the two enzymes and placed them in a capsule that measures just few nanometers in diameter.

Studies conducted on mice models showed that the pill was effective in bringing down the alcohol levels in the body.

After 45 minutes of drinking alcohol, the mice's alcohol level in the blood was 5.8 percent lower than the mice that had alcohol but weren't given the new pill (control group). Blood alcohol levels were 26.1 percent lower after 90 minutes and 34.7 percent lower after three hours for the test group, compared with the control group, according to a news release from UCLA.

The pill was able to keep alcohol content in the blood low when the mice were given the pills along with alcohol.

The study is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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