Pedialyte for Hangovers: Why a Drink for Little Kids Has Become Adults’ Go-To Cure

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Even Miley drinks Pedialyte. (Photo: Instagram/MileyCyrus)

A not-so-new drink is trending among the adult population — one that’s usually associated with the under-10 set. That’s right, good ol’ Pedialyte.

Pharrell Williams claims to drink it almost every day. Miley Cyrus posed with a bottle of it in a recent selfie. And according to new numbers from Nielsen, adult usage has jumped by almost 60 percent since 2012. In past years, adults made up roughly 10 to 15 percent of the Pedialyte market; as of late, that group has spiked to around 33 percent.

So, what’s the deal with Pedialyte? Turns out, athletes have long used the drink to replenish electrolytes after sweating it out on the field. And now, lots of other adults have found the drink to be a great hangover helper. 

Related: Should You Try An I.V. For Hangovers?

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Pharrell’s post on Instagram reads: “The perfect rider… candy, Pedialyte and Carl Sagan.” (Photo: Instagram)

The key to the drink’s success is its abundance of electrolytes and minerals. Pedialyte packs roughly 100 calories, 1,035 milligrams of sodium, and 780 milligrams of potassium in just 32 ounces. Comparatively, 32 ounces of Gatorade has 240 calories, 420 milligrams of sodium, and 140 milligrams of potassium.

In fact, the drink is promoted for use as a hydration solution in adults specifically after illnesses such as the stomach flu (where you may become dehydrated due to vomiting and diarrhea), occasional alcohol consumption, during travel, and after exercise, a Pedialyte company spokesperson tells Yahoo Health.  

Indeed, when you drink alcohol or you become dehydrated, you lose key electrolytes and minerals, explains Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet. So it’s only natural that a drink high in those minerals would kick a hangover to the curb.

Related: World’s Beloved Hangover ‘Cure’ Arrives Stateside. But Does It Work?

“Nutritionally, because of the potassium and sodium content, it makes sense,”Gans tells Yahoo Health. “We lose those two minerals when we’re dehydrated — and being dehydrated is what causes you to feel hungover.”

Gans says she always gives her clients one piece of advice for nixing hangovers: “Drink lots and lots of water. Hydration is key.”

Pedialyte plans to hand out samples at 144 music festivals this year, in addition to sporting events in cities like New York and Atlanta — something Gans says she isn’t thrilled about. 

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A recent post on Twitter from Pedialyte implies the beverage will get you good to go for graduation the next day after drinking (alcohol, presumably?). (Photo: Twitter/Pedialyte)

“The only thing I don’t like is when a beverage promotes itself as a hangover cure,” she says. “While they’re not promoting drinking, it seems they may be condoning it, and I have to ask if that’s a responsible method.”

The Pedialyte spokesperson emphasizes to Yahoo Health that the beverage is promoted as a solution for mild dehydration caused by occasional alcohol consumption. 

Overall, though, will the drink work? “I gather it does,” Gans says. “If people are claiming it does, it does make sense nutritionally.”

However, “I’m probably not going to be recommending it myself,” she continues. “But if it’s good enough for our babies, it’s not going to harm [adults].”

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