In the age-old quest to find the holy grail of hangover antidotes, Pedialyte has been rumored for years to be a hangover cure-all in disguise, and it's not hard to imagine why. After all, if dehydration is a hangover symptom, and we're told to continuously consume water throughout a night of drinking, wouldn't it make sense for a rehydration solution to reverse the effects? Lately, Pedialyte's been targeting marketing towards party people, handing out free samples at music festivals and sporting events. For decades the drink was aimed mostly at children, but since 2012, adult consumption has increased 57%, and makes up a third of Pedialyte's sales. Plus, celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Pharrell Williams have been endorsing the stuff - which has gotta mean something, right?
Pedialyte is a rehydration drink, specially formulated to provide the kinds of sugars and electrolytes someone who's dehydrated needs to feel better. The beverage is designed to help replenish vital fluids, minerals, and nutrients which can be lost after an episode of vomiting or diarrhea, and has been recommended for sick children and adults for decades.
According to Pedialyte's website, sometimes drinking water alone isn't enough to replenish after a bout of dehydration. Our bodies also need to replace electrolytes (the salts that regulate the flow of water through our cells), which plain old water doesn't exactly provide.
Not exactly, and not in the way you'd think. It turns out, the consumption of any beverage at all is what probably helps those who claim Pedialyte is their savior-in-a-bottle when they're trying to get over a hangover.
The reason hangovers are so unpleasant is because the body's natural process for breaking down alcohol produces chemicals that cause pain, not because your cells are starved of water or electrolytes. Drinking any non-alcoholic, decaffeinated fluid - particularly right before bedtime after a night of drinking - should help with hangover symptoms, but whether that's Pedialyte or a glass of tap water likely makes no difference. (That said, if you do end up vomiting from drinking too much, following up with a beverage like Pedialyte is recommended all the same.)
Unfortunately, good old-fashioned patience and waiting it out seems to be the only surefire way to make it through a bad hangover. But if the taste of Pedialyte encourages you to get more fluid flowing through your body or you find it works for you as a placebo, drink away! But be warned that Pedialyte does contain sugar and calories you wouldn't have to worry about with plain water - and the effect will be the same.