Scientists Develop Gel to Protect the Body from Alcohol Damage

A new gel has been developed to break down alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing the negative effects of alcohol on the body and reducing excessive intoxication. It is intended to be consumed before or during alcohol intake.

The protein-based gel was created by scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The gel uses iron atoms as a catalyst to convert alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract into acetic acid before it enters the bloodstream. It is well known that most alcohol is absorbed into the blood through the stomach and intestinal lining.

In addition to iron, the gel utilizes gold and glucose as two other catalysts. Through a multi-step cascade of enzymatic reactions, the alcohol is ultimately converted into acetic acid.

Initial experiments were conducted on mouse models. The gel reduced blood alcohol levels by 56% and protected the mice’s bodies from damage.

“The gel transfers alcohol breakdown from the liver to the digestive tract. As a result, no toxic intermediate product—acetaldehyde—is formed,” commented co-author of the study, Raffaele Mezzenga.

Mice accumulated less acetaldehyde and showed fewer liver damages. A positive therapeutic effect was noted both after short-term alcohol intake and long-term alcohol exposure. In the long run, there was also a decrease in damage to the spleen, intestines, and other internal organs.

Currently, the scientists plan to conduct pilot clinical trials. They have already filed a patent application for the technology.

Previously, other researchers discovered a protective effect against alcohol in ginseng. The plant was found to have a positive effect on brain tissue in the presence of alcohol.

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