The morning after the night before could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new substance called alcosynth. Developed by Professor David Nutt from Imperial College London, the compound reportedly has all the benefits of alcohol but with none of the negative health effects, and could replace regular booze by the middle of this century.
As everyone knows, alcohol is a popular social lubricant but can also be dangerous when people drink too much. One of the reasons for this is that its main metabolite, acetaldehyde, is highly toxic, and can cause a range of long-term health problems such as liver damage, not to mention a nasty hangover.
Fed up of seeing too many people die of alcohol-related illnesses, Nutt has spent the last decade or so searching for an alternative to alcohol that allows drinkers to enjoy themselves while at the same time bypassing the dangers of booze. He currently has a shortlist of around 90 different compounds that he believes could provide the solution, two of which are now being tested for efficacy and safety, before hopefully being released onto the mass market as alcosynth.
Watch David Nutt talk about alcosynth (starting at 1:15:22)
In an interview with the Independent, Nutt said he hopes to see alcosynth completely replace alcohol by 2050, explaining that “it will be there alongside the scotch and the gin, they'll dispense the alcosynth into your cocktail and then you'll have the pleasure without damaging your liver and your heart.”
“They go very nicely into mojitos. They even go into something as clear as a Tom Collins. One is pretty tasteless, the other has a bitter taste,” he added.
Though Nutt is currently keeping his hangover-free alcohol formula a secret, he has previously spoken of a compound called MEAI (3-methoxy-aminoindan), which he says is as relaxing and disinhibiting as alcohol, but doesn’t make drinkers lose their coordination. It also has no calories, which is great news for people who want to have their cake and eat it.
He also claims that the effects of alcosynth can be limited using some “clever pharmacology” so that after about four or five drinks you reach a maximum drunkness, after which you don’t get any drunker no matter how much you drink. As a result, “you can't ever get as ill or kill yourself, unlike with drinking a lot of vodka.”