What is Dihydromyricetin?
DHM (Dihydromyricetin) is an organic compound naturally found in the Japanese Raisin Tree. It’s often called by its Latin classification Hovenia Dulcis, and is found all over Asia. As a deciduous tree, it grows up to 12m tall, and bears a berry-like fruit that tastes similar to raisins, from which it gets its name. Hovenia Dulcis, an Asian traditional herb, can offer numerous natural benefits and has been used in Asia for thousands of years.
The molecule we know as Dihydromyricetin is also called Ampelopsin, and is extracted using an ethanol-based solution from the bark of the Hovenia Dulcis tree. It’s then minimally processed before it’s dehydrated and turned into a powder ready to be purified (take a look at our COA here). We test that resulting powder and turn it into capsules with absolutely no fillers and we also sell it as in it’s bulk powder form for those looking for larger doses or a cheaper way to take it.
DHM’s primary focus is working with your body to minimise the negative effects of acute alcohol ingestion.
When drinking, your brain is working hard to counteract the alcohol present. The alcohol consumed attaches to the GABA receptors, causing the brain to think there is more GABA in your system than usual. Since the brain believes there is more GABA present than needed, it produces less GABA itself. Because of this reaction, the next morning when the alcohol has left your system, you may experience a rebound effect that can cause anxiety, difficulty sleeping and trouble concentrating.
DHM ensures that alcohol impacts your brain’s GABA receptors as little as possible, so this reaction doesn’t happen and you don’t experience the rebound effect or hangover symptoms the next day.
Dihydromyricetin also works hard to support the liver in breaking down the toxic chemical acetaldehyde as quickly as possible. When you consume alcohol, the body breaks it down into smaller chemicals until all byproducts are eliminated completely. However, one of these chemicals is called acetaldehyde and can be 20 times more toxic itself than alcohol. High levels of acetaldehyde in your system can result in a handful of uncomfortable symptoms and increased hangover symptoms the next day. As your body gets flooded with acetaldehyde, your liver can only work so fast to get rid of it. However, DHM helps your body break down acetaldehyde much quicker so you can get back to normal even faster.
Should I take it before or after drinking?
When you take Dihydromyricetin really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. So, for example, researchers found that taking a relatively large dose before drinking reduced the circulating levels of alcohol in the blood by 55%. For most people however, we recommend taking it immediately after drinking which works very well to reduce the hangover symptoms usually felt the next day. Taking DHM after drinking alcohol also stops the GABA rebound effect that will often wake you up in the middle of the night or give you anxiety the next day.
Essentially, DHM taken immediately after consuming alcohol means the negative effects of alcohol will be diminished.
Does Dihydromyricetin work?
Yes. For both reducing intoxication, and for reducing the effects of a hangover and supporting the liver, there is ample scientific evidence that Dihydromyricetin is effective. The question really is, at what dose does it work best? And for that the answer is slightly different and varies by:
- The number of alcoholic drinks you’ve had
- The alcohol content of the drinks consumed
- How quickly you’re drinking
- Whether you’ve eaten or not
It also depends on what you’re looking to achieve with DHM, since reducing intoxication requires significantly higher doses than when taken after drinking to eliminate hangovers. We cover all of these options in the ‘dosage‘ section further down the page.
There’s a reason this ingredient has been used in Asian for thousands of years. You can think of the hard to pronounce Dihydromyricetin as a powerhouse of useful and healthy benefits.
DHM benefits can include things like:
- Minimises alcohol intoxication and increases the speed at which the body breaks down alcohol
- Reduces alcohol induced liver damage and provides support to the liver
- Eliminates hangover symptoms the following day
- Supports your body to metabolise the toxic chemical acetaldehyde from alcohol much quicker than normal
- Increases the likelihood of being more coordinated when drinking alcohol and reduces slurred speech
- Eliminates the rebound effect noticed after drinking
Will DHM stop me getting drunk?
Not really. DHM will reduce the impact alcohol has on your central nervous system (by down-regulating GABA transmission) which means you may be more coordinated and less likely to have slurred speech if you take Dihydromyricetin when consuming alcohol.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can drink alcohol and avoid getting drunk all together.
Will it sober me up faster?
Theoretically, yes. Doses to reduce circulating alcohol content need to be relatively large — in the 3g+ range for humans — and you still won’t be safe to drive no matter what, and doing so would be illegal.
Large doses of the supplement will indeed make you feel less drunk, but its not certain whether this is because the anti-alcohol effect is strong enough by itself or whether the additional reduction in the neurotransmitter GABA provides an additive effect.
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Does Dihydromyricetin cause anxiety?
No. The way Ampelopsin interacts with the GABAergic system leads people to mistakenly think that it might cause or worsen anxiety, but that isn’t often the case.
Dihydromyricetin doesn’t indiscriminately lower GABA in the brain (a neurotransmitter responsible for the loss of motor function and inhibition — as well as the reason blackouts occur) but instead attenuates high levels acting as a partial agonist. DHM subtle action on GABA actually prevents a rebound effect which exacerbates anxiety and cortisol whereby because alcohol introduces so much GABA into the brain, the body stops producing its own. When the high levels induced by the drink dissipates, we’re left with very little in the body and it’s this that causes the anxiety after drinking.
Dihydromyricetin prevents this by almost entirely eliminating the rebound effect noticed after drinking. This is also the cause of waking up early and not being able to fall back asleep after a night out. The increase in cortisol many of us experience as part of the rebound effect will wake us up and prevent us from going back to sleep, DHM prevents this and allows for a great night’s sleep even after getting wasted.
How much Dihydromyricetin should I take?
As mentioned above, figuring out how much DHM you should dose takes a little thought but it’s relatively easy. There are two main reasons to take Dihydromyricetin, and they both require slightly different dosages. The following recommendations are based only on anecdotal research since conversion from rat models is unreliable, but thankfully DHM is regularly taken by many thousands of people so we can tell pretty accurately how much is required. As always with supplements — especially hangover pills — we insist you consult your doctor before taking anything, especially in combination with alcohol.
Before drinking (to reduce intoxication): 2g+
After drinking (to prevent hangovers): 100mg per drink
*where 1 drink roughly equals 2 units
What’s the difference between capsules and powder?
Depending on your budget, preferences and desired outcome, we have two options for buying Dihydromyricetin: either in capsule form or as a powder. Both still provide the same great benefits of DHM, including reduced GABA levels in the brain, improved coherence when drinking and dramatically reduced hangovers and their uncomfortable symptoms.
These are easy to swallow and are convenient to take on a night out, whether in your bag or even a few tucked into your wallet. You won’t need to worry about loose powder, especially if you’ve already been drinking heavily. However, because these are in capsule form and taken orally, it will take your body some time to fully benefit from the DHM capsules.
If you want to get to the heart of DHM benefits, ingesting the powder is the quickest and cheapest way. You can easily mix our DHM powder with water or juice to effectively and quickly get it into your system. This way, you’ll reap the rewards much faster than with capsules. However, it may be difficult to take the powder while out with friends at the bar, but it’s easily taken once home before you head to bed.
Is Dihydromyricetin Safe?
DHM has been used in Asian countries for hundreds of years as a hangover cure and to sober people up, and is considered safe for humans even in larger doses of several grams. It was assess by Jing Liang and other researchers to have potent anti-alcohol intoxication effects whilst being very safe. The extract of the tree it comes from, the Japanese Raisin Tree, has been given to mice to test the lethal dose, and half the mice in a given population will die when given 1.4g per kilogram of bodyweight. Conversions from rat pharmacology to human are imprecise, but can be estimated using the HED ratio of 16%, giving us a safe upper limit dosage for a 70kg person of 15.68g.
Of course as with anything, there may be side effects when taking DHM. However, these are generally uncommon.
One research team found that Dihydromyricetin shows “health-benefiting activities with minimum adverse effects.” Some of these benefits include antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory effects and antimicrobial activities.
Of course, most DHM supplement retailers will include the necessary cautions, including the FDA required warning that “products are not intended to diagnose treat cure any disease or illness” — which is more to cover them from a legal standpoint and ensure correct marketing practices than anything else.
Dihydromyricetin acts on the GABA receptors, and while we’ve explored the reasons it doesn’t effect or induce anxiety after drinking, if you are suffering from a condition that affects your GABA production, uptake, or other related neurobiology — or are taking medication or supplements that affect the GABAgenic system — please speak to a doctor before taking any DHM supplement.
Tens of thousands of people rely on dihydromyricetin when they go out drinking, and has been used for centuries as an Asian herbal hangover remedy. We’ve collected some of the most interesting and observant reviews from all over the web to give you a wider perspective of how people feel about DHM and it’s effects on hangovers.
There are several hangover products on Amazon containing DHM, often with dozens or hundreds of reviews, including FlyBy and Sobur which are both rated higher than 4 stars at the time of writing. Below are a selection of reviews from both our own customers, and products listed on Amazon that are designed for combatting hangovers and contain Dihydromyricetin as a main ingredient:
“After a long day of drinking, I took 2 pills and drank plenty of water before bed. I think the pills made me a little more thirsty than usual throughout the night (which meant I drank more water=a good thing) but when I woke up–I felt 97% healthy!”
“I have to say, the product worked. While I was by no means 100% the next morning, I would say the intensity of symptoms was reduced by at least 80%. No headache, nausea was mild and controllable, and I was even able to get up and face shopping the local warehouse store at 8AM. I did still have some “swimming” when I would turn my head, but overall it was a big improvement and I felt more or less ‘normal’ by noon. I also did not have any of the usual GI symptoms that I normally get after even a night of not-very-heavy drinking. I look forward to having this with me on my upcoming trip and expect it will be more effective there, as I don’t usually drink anywhere near as heavily as I did on the “test” evening.”
“I discovered these very recently, and I was very skeptical about them. Holy moly do they work! I get drunk on half a beer, and two glasses of wine, once a week, will give me a terrible hangover. However, every single time I’ve followed the prescription, 3 before drinking, 3 after drinking, I’ve had no hangovers. Also a lot of the post-alcohol symptoms are greatly reduced. The puffy face, bloodshot eyes, etc.”
“I have always been very sensitive to hangovers — I got them worse than my friends, even in my 20’s. And of course it gets worse with age. Lately I’ve been to the point where I can hardly enjoy two drinks with dinner, because there’s a decent chance of a headache before long. Thank goodness for DHM! I’m able to enjoy a few drinks again and be fine. It definitely shifted the needle for me. I figure people who have average sensitivity to hangovers would do even better with it.”
Can I buy Dihydromyricetin in Holland and Barretts?
Unfortunately, no. DHM is classified as a Medicinal Herb by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and not everywhere is permitted to sell it. Holland and Barrett doesn’t currently have the license to sell it in the UK (as of Feb 2019). You can find out more about the status of and buying dihydromyricetin in the UK here.
Can I buy Dihdromyricetin in CVS or GNC?
GNC doesn’t stock any DHM products either as of Feb 2019, but you can call them to request new products and find out if there’s any updates.
DHM reviews and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration as a way to treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are interested in trying this ingredient to reduce your hangovers, it’s important to speak to your doctor first.
Buy DHM Online
There are also combination products available online that contain DHM along with other liver supporting ingredients and vitamin and electrolyte replenishing ingredients, such as Sobur which contains NAC, Vitamin C, and plenty of B vitamins. It’s available from their store or Amazon US.