Don’t you hate that moment when somebody runs up to, you screaming assertively that the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, and you realize you’ve just polished off an entire fifth of Maker’s Mark? I hope saving the world consists of mostly yelling all of the words to “Wanted Dead or Alive” with untied shoes. Of course, in the future, maybe there will be a pill of some kind that will instantly sober me up. Yeah, right. Maybe when pigs fly airplanes drunk.
For a study in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers Yunfeng Lu, a UCLA professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Cheng Ji, a USC professor of biochemical and molecular biology, have created a way for alcohol to be digested in the body outside of the liver, and at a much faster rate than ever seen before. The process involves developing a way to introduce enzymes into the body that mimic the work of those in the liver, thus putting a lot less stress on that most dependable of organs.
The researchers combined three complementary enzymes into a nano-capsule made out of a super-thin, non-toxic polymer that keeps the enzymes safe and together. Mice were tested, where some where given alcohol and the nano-capsule together, while others were given alcohol plus only one of the enzymes, and the rest were given the enzymes after they were already drunk.
After they brought the drunk mice back from the IHOP, the researchers found that, for those taking the booze-capsule route, their blood-alcohol concentration saw a rapid decrease at 30-minute intervals, as compared to those with just the single enzyme. On the drunk mice, they found the capsule lowered the growth of alanine transaminase, an enzyme that is a signifier of liver damage.
Should this ever reach an actual over-the-counter pill form, I see it being marketed as an anti-hangover pill, seeing as how trying to tell a drunk to sober up will usually get a fist swung in your direction.
As somewhat of an offshoot, the researchers will now begin work on using the proper encapsuled enzyme concoction to zap out dihydrotestosterone, known to cause male-pattern baldness. If only they could find a way to put it into the shape of a hat.