“No more rough mornings,” and “Drink smart, do more” are two of the slogans on Morning Recovery’s minimalist website. The new self-professed hangover cure was created after CEO and founder Sisun Lee returned from a trip to South Korea where he experienced for himself the popular hangover drinks that helped his South Korean friends bounce back easily from a long night of drinking.
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Upon his return, he immediately went to work trying to import those same drinks to the U.S., but to no avail. After a few failed attempts, he found the only way to get the same effective hangover cure in the states would be to create it himself. He began researching the ingredients in the Korean drinks and found UCLA researcher and assistant professor in residence of neurology, Dr. Jing Liang.
According to Dr. Liang’s research, the most effective ingredient in the fight against the dreaded hangover is an herbal compound called dihydromyricetin (DHM) found in holvenia dulcis, the Oriental raisin tree. When you consume too much alcohol, a toxin called acetaldehyde (formed through the breakdown of alcohol in our liver) builds up and causes cellular inflammation, which in turn causes sweating, nausea and vomiting. DHM breaks down the acetaldehyde into acetic acid, which allows your body to flush it out.
For Lee, a former Tesla engineer who quit his job to launch Morning Recovery, it became less about copying the Korean drinks and more about improving upon them: “Purity matters, quantity matters and you need a lot of other ingredients for hangovers. You lose vitamin B and vitamin C in the body. These are all things that are not in Korean hangover drinks.”
All of the ingredients in Morning Recovery are FDA-compliant, as they are approved as a food supplement, but Lee is hoping his formula eventually gets FDA-approval as a drug and actual cure for hangovers. Morning Recovery will be available for purchase on July 5, but in the meantime, there’s already a huge waiting list. “Overnight we became No. 2 on Product Hunt. We weren’t even a startup. We were just people doing this thing,” he said. After 10,000 people signed up to try it, he knew there was a market waiting for his product. “We had to apologize and changed the web page from offering to send a sample to a waitlist.”