Article Text

other Versions

Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled intervention study on the nutritional efficacy of a food for special medical purposes (FSMP) and a dietary supplement in reducing the symptoms of veisalgia
  1. Bernhard Lieb and
  2. Patrick Schmitt
  1. Institute of Molecular Physiology (imP), Johannes Gutenberg-University (JGU), Mainz, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Bernhard Lieb, Institute of Molecular Physiology, Johannes Gutenberg-University (JGU), Mainz 55128, Germany; lieb{at}


Objective To assess whether the symptoms of veisalgia can be reduced by intense water supply and the intake of antioxidative supplements and plant extracts.

Methods We performed the world’s largest randomised double-blind placebo-controlled intervention study (214 participants) on the efficacy of a food for special medical purposes (FSMP) against veisalgia symptoms. We analysed the effectiveness of: (1) an FSMP, including distinct plant extracts, vitamins and minerals, and additional (antioxidative) compounds; (2) a dietary supplement only comprising vitamins and minerals and additional (antioxidative) compounds; and (3) a placebo containing only glucose. The study followed the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) guidelines and trial registration was not necessary.

Results Our study showed no statistically significant relationship between the variation of body water content and alcohol consumption. Contrary to common belief, the results showed that intervention with a supplement containing vitamins and minerals and additional antioxidative compounds did not lead to a statistically significant improvement in hangover symptoms. Additionally, our results confirmed a high individual variability in developing hangover symptoms depending on the amount of alcohol. Thus, standardisation of the amount of alcohol consumed in hangover studies does not necessarily contribute to the validity of the results. Finally, this study found a number of positive effects on certain hangover symptoms as a result of the FSMP, which were most likely due to the plant extracts contained within the food.

Conclusion This study significantly supports the finding that haemostasis of electrolytes and minerals caused by alcohol consumption might be negligible and that no significant dehydration due to alcohol consumption seems to occur. Additionally, only the FSMP provides evidence for a significant efficiency in the reduction of hangover symptoms such as headache and nausea following moderate and non-excessive alcohol consumption.

  • nutritional treatment

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Supplementary materials


  • Contributors PS and BL designed the study. PS performed execution. Analyses were done by PS and BL. The manuscript was written by BL.

  • Funding This study was partly supported by a European FSMP manufacturer which provided drinks and supplements. Special funding did not occur because the study was part of a masters thesis.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.