Gel from whey protein can break down alcohol in the body

Swiss researchers have developed a gel from whey proteins that can break down alcohol quickly into acetic acid before it enters the bloodstream and without its intoxicating and harmful effects. In mice, the gel was able to decrease the blood alcohol concentration up to 50%. The gel shifts the breakdown of alcohol from the liver to the digestive tract. Contrary to when alcohol is metabolized in the liver, no harmful acetaldehyde is produced as an intermediate product. Acetaldehyde is toxic and is responsible for many health problems caused by excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. If in the future such gel would be allowed for human consumption, it could be taken orally before or during consuming alcoholic beverages to prevent blood alcohol levels from rising and the intermediary product acetaldehyde from damaging the body (include here the alcohol metabolism graphic).

However, the gel is only effective as long as the alcohol is still in the gastrointestinal tract. Once alcohol has crossed into the bloodstream, it cannot prevent alcohol poisoning.

ReferencesGel from whey protein can break down alcohol in the body


Su, J., Wang, P., Zhou, W. et al. Single-site iron-anchored amyloid hydrogels as catalytic platforms for alcohol detoxification. Nat. Nanotechnol. (2024).