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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
Volcanic hangover cure
Mr King is hoping to sell the pill in UK shops
A hangover cure based on volcanic dust may soon be on the shop shelves, according to a UK company.

A West Sussex firm wants to start clinical trials of the mineral.

It claims the pills, which can already be bought over the internet, absorb toxins from alcohol "like Velcro".

Global Health Products (GHP) wants to sell the product in chemists and health food shops.

It is trying to raise 300,000 from investors to market the supplement, known as Zetox.

Morning after

The company says the mineral has been used as a traditional detoxifying agent for filtering water, purifying animal feed and treating victims of nuclear contamination from Chernobyl.

It already sells the product on its website as a supplement "to naturally detoxify the body".

Dr Kenneth Maule, the man who developed it, claims six capsules of Zetox will enable you to drink four or five pints without getting a headache.

Gary Lock
Mr Lock said the pill worked for him
The pills have to be taken before a night out and according to one volunteer, Gary Lock, it works.

"It removes nearly all of the alcohol from his system so there's no alcohol left in his body to give him a hangover," Paul King of GHP told the BBC.

Trials needed

Hangovers are caused by chemicals produced when alcohol is broken down by the body.

Alcohol is also a diuretic, causing dehydration and the familiar headaches and nausea.

Dr Guy Ratcliffe of the UK Medical Council on Alcohol said the substance sounded "potentially promising".

He told BBC News Online: "If this chemical soaks up, as it suggests, the chemicals that are associated with a hangover, I can understand the potential that this sort of chemical might produce for the future."

But he said formal clinical trials were needed to compare the effects of the product with that of a placebo.

And there are fears that the tablets will encourage people to binge drink.

Medical researcher Robert Patton said heavy drinking is known to cause heart, liver and other health problems.

"The pills won't sort those out," he told the BBC. "It may stop the pain of a hangover the morning after."

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Navdip Dhariwal reports
"This could make a small British company a fortune"
See also:

02 Jul 02 | BMA Conference
16 Apr 02 | Health
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