Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ADH) is a key enzyme in alcohol’s metabolism. This protein, in fact, converts ethanol into acetaldehyde which is subsequently oxidized to acetate. According to Guo-Cai Yu, Huazhong Agricultural University, China, corn contains peptides that can be used to stimulate ADH activity and, therefore, facilitate alcohol metabolism.
The researchers hydrolyzed corn proteins into fractions with different molecular weights and demonstrated that peptides lower than 5000 Da are able to activate hepatic ADH when administered to mice. As a consequence, these peptides decreased blood’s alcohol concentration and promoted ethanol metabolism. Corn peptides, therefore, can be used as a food supplement or in pharmaceutical formulations to alleviate hangover symptoms following alcohol intoxication.
- Ultrafiltration preparation of potent bioactive corn peptide as alcohol metabolism stimulator in vivo and study on its mechanism of action,
G. Yu, I. Li, H. He, W. Huang, W. Zhang,
J. Food Biochem. 2013, 37(2), 161–167.
Also of interest:
- Chemistry of a Hangover — Alcohol and its Consequences,
ChemViews Magazine 2011, May.
How can a tiny molecule like ethanol be at the root of so much human misery?