Don’t whine to Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall about your booze-induced headache. The Toronto-based writing professor and former bar owner has spent the past decade drinking himself into oblivion in pursuit of the ultimate hangover cure — an experience that he documents in his new book, “Hungover: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for the Cure” (Penguin Random House).
“We seem to be so adept at progressing scientifically . . . except when it comes to this strange little phenomenon,” the 44-year-old tells The Post.
Disappointed by modern medicine, he decided to identify a remedy himself — subjecting himself to countless nights of binge drinking and horrific mornings-after in the process.
To establish his hangover baseline, Bishop-Stall recorded everything he drank on a night out and assessed the severity of his symptoms the next day. Then, he proceeded to drink the same stuff another night, but added in a hangover remedy and tracked its effects.
“It was a process of elimination until I got . . . ingredients that I thought held some merit,” he says.
Over the course of his liquor-soaked journey, Bishop-Stall tried hundreds of so-called treatments. These spanned everything from bizarre culinary cures (eels and pickled sheep’s eyes) to high-end hangover helpers (a pricey but effective nutrient IV) to the classic “hair of the dog” strategy (one Bishop-Stall used often; the man was drinking almost every day, after all).
Although he sometimes called in friends for research assistance — notably, at a rollicking St. Patrick’s Day party, which involved 12 guests and six handles of Irish whiskey — Bishop-Stall was primarily his own guinea pig. He says the experiment really took a toll on his body.
“Pretty much every facet of my health did take a real hit during [those] years,” says Bishop-Stall. “I gained weight, had problems with my circulatory system . . . My mental health took a whack too.”
But his exhaustive research paid off: In the book, he reveals that he did, indeed, find a reliable hangover cure. Thankfully, it’s not pickled animal parts, but a handful of easily obtainable over-the-counter supplements, taken between “your last drink and before you pass out.”
The hero ingredient, per Bishop-Stall, is a “high dose” — about 1,500 milligrams — of an amino acid called N-acetylcysteine (NAC). NAC, he explains, is “sort of a magic ingredient”: It helps the body produce a powerful anti-oxidant called glutathione. Plus, it’s earned its reputation as a toxicity cure: NAC is used in hospital settings to treat Tylenol overdoses.
Along with NAC, Bishop-Stall recommends taking vitamins B1, B6 and B12, which purportedly make NAC more effective, along with boswellia (frankincense), a supposed anti-inflammatory, and milk thistle, an herb that contains even more glutathione.
But Dr. Edward Goldberg, an internist and gastroenterologist in Manhattan, is skeptical of Bishop-Stall’s hard-earned cure.
“These supplements . . . are more for a chronic alcoholic with liver damage, not a casual drinker with a hangover,” he tells The Post. He says that milk thistle and NAC may help with alcohol-related problems, such as liver inflammation and damage, but he notes, “The liver does not cause a hangover; dehydration does.”
He does concede frankincense might help. Although under-researched, if it truly has anti-inflammatory properties, “then it could theoretically help with a hangover in the same way Advil would.” Still, he’d rather see his patients drink two liters of coconut water or Pedialyte before bed.
A buzzkill, but perhaps it’s for the best. As Bishop-Stall puts it in his book, do we really want to live in a world where “everybody can drink as much as they want with no repercussions”?
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