Sticking This Patch on Your Arm Could Kill Your Next Hangover

Be On 1, an adhesive patch that secretes vitamin B1, claims to alleviate the symptoms that follow a heavy night of drinking. I went on my own experimental bender to test it out.

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Jan 4 2016, 11:00am

"Lads. My mouth feels like I've rimmed a guy that hasn't had a home since 1992. But 2 times I've had these and no hangover, and normally 2 day hangovers for me. [sic]"

In a world of overblown culinary criticism, sometimes it's the plainest talk that speaks volumes. And, as you've probably guessed, this particular quote isn't a Jay Rayner review of Mayfair's newest Michelin-starred restaurant.

Nope, it's a guy called Jack going to town on Amazon about Be On 1, a "turtle" patch that sticks onto the skin and claims to kill hangovers before the dry heaves, shakes, and fear materialise, apocalypse-like on the horizon of the morning after.

READ MORE: The Easiest Hangover Cures from One of the World's Best Chefs

Whether you choose to be swayed by the opinion of a man who substitutes the word "turtle" for "good," Jack is far from the only person flexing their linguistic muscles to endorse the patch over the recent festive period. "Omg why isn't the NHS funding these aw god I really had a good time on a three day bender but I felt almost fully human each day. And usually I spend hangovers wanting to put my face in our blender :(((((((, [sic]" bleats another online review.

Alongside this stream of glowing endorsements, Be On 1 also reckon that 82 percent of people who try their anti-hangover patches, which secrete thiamin or vitamin B1 over a 24-hour period, "felt a noticeable difference" afterwards.

beo1-hangover-patch

Be On 1, an adhesive patch that secretes B vitamins and claims to kill hangovers. All photos by the author.

So, is this product going to be the saviour of 2016? Is this the year that we finally sort our shit out as the human race and eradicate the hangover forever ?

"Eh..." says The London Nutritionist dietician Jo Travers (who I'm paraphrasing ever so slightly). Shortly before sticking a Be On 1 patch on the inside of my left arm for my own experimental bender, I'm getting the lowdown from her on what exactly the benefits of these sticky squares could be.

"Yes, drinking alcohol can potentially deplete B vitamins a bit, but an actual thiamin deficiency only occurs with alcoholism," Travers explains. "This is because alcohol can damage the lining of the stomach, which can affect the absorption of nutrients but also it can damage the liver where the B vitamins are processed. But there's no real evidence that just taking vitamin B1 would make you feel better, it's likely to be a whole range of vitamins you're likely to be depleted in. But if you have a healthy and varied diet anyway, you should be already covered for this. Plus, there's no immediate effect that you would feel from having a boost of vitamin B1."

The good news is I'm not an alcoholic (well, not now it's January, anyway) so in theory, I shouldn't really have a necessity for a trans-dermal application of thiamin. Nevertheless, I start my all-day session with a Bloody Mary and an arm patch.

My first mistake is the placement of the patch. My friends immediately rip into me for turning up to the pub with what looks like the protective sticker of a new iPhone on my skin.

My first mistake is the placement of the patch. My friends immediately rip into me for turning up to the pub with what looks like the protective sticker of a new iPhone on my skin.

Still, who's going to be laughing tomorrow when I wake up fresher than Drake's dry cleaning?

Be On 1 Spokesperson Matt tells me the product came about following a #lads holiday to Sin City.

"The idea started from a spontaneous trip to Vegas where a nightclub host gave us something similar to keep us partying all weekend," he explains. "We were very sceptical of the benefits but needless to say, we were feeling great and as soon as we landed back in the UK, we started research to make a similar product."

Unlike Travers, Matt stands by the flooding of thiamin into booze hounds' bloodstream.

"Some of the main benefits of vitamin B1 include its ability to support metabolism and increase energy, which are both very important when it comes to a busy social lifestyle and the benefits this can have particular for the liver," he says. "The clever bit however is the trans-dermal patch which allows the vitamins to be released continuously over 24 hours so that it can keep providing the support your body need."

But as Travers points out: "Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning you urinate more so you absorb less fluids. B vitamins are water soluble so that can affect how much you absorb and how much you excrete."

bo1-hangover-patch

Basically, you'll piss out all the surplus vitamins that your body doesn't need.

After a few bottles of wine and some shots, I can't say my drunkenness is particularly different from any other time. However, even in the middle of a busy club much later in the night, someone sniffs the air near me and asks, "What's that smell?"

Oh shit. It's me. The patch now appears to be emanating some sort of hybrid Berocca-cat piss smell. Great. It's probably time to go home now.

Peeling one eyelid off my eyeball the next morning, I take stock. Yep, I feel pretty shitty. But there's no usual banging headache and I've managed to hold onto my stomach. Maybe it was going to be one of those hangovers where I would have just happened to dodge a bullet anyway?

READ MORE: Cheese Is Your Hangover's Best Friend

I leave the patch on for a few more hours to soak up some extra juicy vit-B-bombs, then peel it off, which they don't warn you bloody hurts. A slap of that sweet chemical scent hits me again and the skin on my arm is doing a pretty good impression of Rupert Murdoch: red, wrinkly, and janky.

Is it possible it's worked, though? Or has it just had a placebo effect? I check in with Travers again.

"It's possible that it has acted as a placebo and you can't really discount that because if it makes you feel better, then I guess it's doing a job of sorts," she says. "But I personally wouldn't use them. The best thing to do now is sip a pint of water rather than downing it—it's easier for your body to process. A healthy type of fry-up too is actually really good—you've got the carbs from a hash brown or toast, poached eggs for protein, then grilled tomatoes and mushrooms with some beans have a whole range of vitamins in them, which will restore you and make you feel better."

Hello, old friend. The fry-up may not have the same flame-hot reviews online but the alternatives don't have a patch on the tried-and-tested reviver.