FRIDAY, Aug. 28, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- To treat a hangover, drink lots of water, get plenty of rest -- and eat your asparagus, researchers say.
A new study shows that the amino acids and minerals in asparagus extract may ease hangovers and protect liver cells against the toxins in alcohol.
Researchers at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in South Korea analyzed the effect of extracts of asparagus shoots and leaves on human and rat liver cells in the lab.
"Cellular toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with the extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots," said lead researcher B.Y. Kim, in a news release from the Institute of Food Technologists. "These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells."
The beneficial amino acids and minerals were found in higher concentrations in the leaves than the shoots, the researchers said.
Asparagus, a vegetable eaten in many countries around the world, has long been used for its anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects, according to the study in the current issue of the Journal of Food Science.
Asparagus is also a good source of folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C and thiamin, according to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board.
Over time, chronic alcohol use causes oxidative stress that leads to liver damage. Over-imbibing can cause headache, nausea, diarrhea and thirst.
The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board has more on asparagus, including recipes.