What We Know About Dihydromyricetin (DHM)
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) is one of the main ingredients in Survivor’s unique formulation. Also known as Ampelopsin, Dihydromyricetin is a potent flavonoid which has been observed to accelerate the body’s ability to break down acetaldehyde, a toxic product of alcohol metabolisation.
Studies suggest Dihydromyricetin (DHM) relieves alcohol (EtOH) toxicity and prevents intoxication by curtailing the absorption of alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract and promoting alcohol metabolisation in the liver – it has even been proposed as a ‘novel anti-intoxication medication’, which serves as evidence of its potential (Liang et al., 2012; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3292407/).
Recently, there has been considerable academic interest in this flavonoid, as promising data on an entire swathe of benefits is bubbling. This article features a more in depth breakdown on Dihydromyricetin (DHM):
‘Dihydromyricetin (DHM) exhibits health-benefiting activities with minimum adverse effects. Dihydromyricetin (DHM) has been demonstrated to show antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, cell death-mediating, and lipid and glucose metabolism-regulatory activities.’ (Li et al., 2017 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5602609/)
What is Dihydromyricetin (DHM)?
We are often asked ‘what is Dihydromyricetin?’ Long before Dihydromyricetin (DHM) was isolated and used as a supplement, everything began with the plants Hovenia Dulcis and Ampelopsis grossedentata - also known as the Japanese raisin tree and the Vine tree, respectively. These plants have been used as remedies against hangovers (i.e. Supplement for Hangover / Vitamins for Hangover) for centuries and consumed as teas, powder preparations, and infusions - and lately as capsules and pills. More recently western medicine has investigated these traditional remedies, with a view to identifying their active ingredients.
Originally known as Ampelopsin, Dihydromyricetin (DHM) is the major active compound in the extract of these plants. It was isolated from an extract of the fruit of Hovenia Dulcis by Hase et al. (1997). Later, it was also found in the fruit-stalk of the plant (Park et al., 2015).
Dihydromyricetin (or DHM for short) is assigned the CAS number 27200-12-0 by the Chemical Absctracts Service and has the chemical formula; (2R,3R)-3,5,7-trihydroxy-2-(3,4,5-trihydroxyphenyl)-2,3-dihydrochromen-4-one.
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) belongs to a group of chemicals present in many types of plants called flavonoids - the name Ampelopsin is in recognition of once such source of flavonoids - Ampelopsis grossedentata. Flavonoids are associated with many health benefits, such as anti-inflammation, anti-carcinogenesis, anti-hepatotoxicity, relieving constipation, inhibition of lipid accumulation and many more (Panche et al. 2016). Besides Dihydromyricetin (DHM), other flavonoids are present in H. Dulcis, such as taxifolin, myricetin and quercetin (Park et al., 2016).
Dihydromyricetin (DHM), as used in our Survivor supplement, is extracted by a methanol-based extraction process, rather than a water-based extraction.
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) has become of increasing academic interest over the past few years - what was a rather obscure substance in the West, now boasts over 279 studies across medical publisher databases PubMed and Google Scholar, with many more in the pipeline.
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) Prevents Intoxication.
In one study, rats were injected with the equivalent of 20 beers. They measured alcohol intoxication through the loss of righting reflex (LORR) – essentially the ability of a rat, when placed on its back, to turn itself completely upright again. On their own, they ‘sobered up’ within 90 minutes – however when administered parenterally with purified DHM, they sobered up in 5 minutes (Shen, 2012; LINK). This leads to the conclusion that, through the LORR measurement, DHM dose-dependently decreases the effects of alcohol intoxication in rats. Please read DHM Hangover.
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) Reduces Alcohol (EtOH) Withdrawal.
In addition to enhancing alcohol clearance and alcohol metabolic enzymes, DHM has a direct and complex interaction with GABA-A receptors that likely accounts for many of its anti-alcohol effects. DHM counteracts acute alcohol intoxication and helps to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms. DHM reduces susceptibility to anxiety and seizures (Shen et al., 2012). DHM can normalise blood sugar levels, reduce liver damage, and even restrain tumour growth (Hase et al., 1997).
Dihydromyricetin Protects the Liver.
One of the first research experiments that used the extract of H. Dulcis fruits to study the effects on alcohol (EtOH) intoxication was performed by Hase et al. (1977). To mimic alcohol toxicity they inflicted liver damage on rats, while measuring liver serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). AST and ALT are two metabolites that can serve as a measurement to assess liver damage. When large quantities of alcohol are consumed, AST and ALT levels in liver serum rise. Hase et al. showed that when the rats were exposed to certain chemicals that cause liver damage, ALT and AST levels also increased. However, when they co-fed the rats with methanol extracted H. Dulcis, ALT and AST levels were significantly decreased compared to the ALT and AST levels from liver-injured rats that were not fed with H. Dulcis extract. They concluded that methanol-extracted H. Dulcis protects the liver from injury. Please read DHM Supplement.
Miscellaneous Effects of Dihydromyricetin (DHM).
DHM is proving to show multiple pharmacological activities beyond those mentioned above, including oxidation resistance, anti-tumour properties and free radical scavenging capacities. A recent study concluded that Dihydromyricetin ameliorates learning and memory impairment induced by acute sleep deprivation (Li et al., 2019), which is particularly relevant given the long nights that often accompany alcohol consumption.
Dihydromyricetin Side Effects.
The source of Dihydromyricetin (DHM), the plants Ampelopsis grossedentata and Hovenia dulcis, have been used in Asia for thousands of years as a hangover cure and anti-intoxication medicine. Dihydromyricetin (DHM) ‘exhibits health-benefiting activities with minimum adverse effects’ (Li et al. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5602609/).
DHM is considered safe for human consumption even when taken in massive doses, and adverse Dihydromyricetin (DHM) side effects do not appear to exist.
“Acute toxicity tests showed that a single dose of oral [Dihydromyricetin (DHM)] up to 22 g/kg did not result in any death or toxic side effects in mice during 14 days' observation. These results demonstrate that Dihydromyricetin (DHM) could protect against acute alcohol-induced liver injury without any toxic side effects” (Du et al. 2010 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20673184)
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) Overdose - Upper Safe Limit.
Taking the last point, converting rodent figures to human pharmacology can be estimated using the HED ratio, which yields 16%. This gives Dihydromyricetin (DHM) an upper safe limit of ca. 15.7g for a person weighing 70kg . And even at that level, there are no reported effects of side effects when crossing this threshold.
So, is consumption of Dihydromyricetin (DHM) by humans a good idea? The science community’s general consensus is that Dihydromyricetin (DHM) is safe for human use. UCLA researcher and leader of a key DHM study is adamant that Dihydromyricetin (DHM) would not carry adverse side effects (Liang et al., 2014). The UK government’s drug advisory committee’s former head, David Nutt, is confident that research conducted on rats regarding DHM’s application have the same results on humans:
“This supports other data that GABA receptors are key in the actions of alcohol (EtOH) and that targeting this interaction is a viable approach to reducing EtOH intake,” says David Nutt (Coghlan, 2012).
The next step is to ascertain appropriate and sufficiently significant dosages of Dihydromyricetin (DHM) from the data collated through our literature review across clinical studies.
Dosages Used In Animal Studies.
Doses for purified Dihydromyricetin (DHM) in the diet vary across animal studies from 75 and 150 mg/kg per day (Qui et al., 2017) to between 6.48mg mg to 1g/kg per day (Liang et al., 2014).
Dosages Used In Human Studies.
In the human study 2460 mg H. Dulcis fruit extract was administered per participant (Qui et al. 2017). The total flavonoids purified from H. Dulcis are approximately 4.5% of the extract of which ~40% is accounted for by Dihydromyricetin (DHM). So participants in the Qui study received approximately 2460 x 0.045 x 0.4 = 44.25 mg of Dihydromyricetin (DHM), which for an average male is around 0.55 mg/kg. According to Shen et al. (2016), the clinical dosage of H. Dulcis extract for hangovers is 100-650 mg/kg. This suggests a 1-15 mg/kg Dihydromyricetin (DHM) dosage for behavioural use, which is higher than participants received in the Qui et al. 2017 study.
Dihydromyricetin (DHM) Dosage: Bottom Line.
This dosage range translates to 70mg to 1050mg of high-purity Dihydromyricetin (DHM) for a person weighing 70kg. Survivor has 900mg of 99% pure Dihydromyricetin (DHM) when taken as directed - 2 after 4 drinks, and 2 before bed.
Coghlan, A. Chinese tree extract stops rats getting drunk. New Scientist. Published online, 9 January 2012. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21337-chinese-tree-extract-stops-rats-getting-drunk
Hase, K. et al. Hepatoprotective effect of Hovenia dulcis THUNB. on experimental liver injuries induced by carbon tetrachloride or D-galactosamine/lipopolysaccharide. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 20, 381–5 (1997). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9145214
Liang, J. et al. Dihydromyricetin prevents fetal alcohol exposure-induced behavioral and physiological deficits: The roles of GABAA receptors in adolescence. Neurochem. Res. 39, 1147–1161 (2014). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24676702
Li et al. The Versatile Effects of Dihydromyricetin in Health. Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine (2017). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5602609
Li et al. Dihydromyricetin ameliorates memory impairment induced by acute sleep deprivation. European Journal of Pharmacology (2019). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30876981A
Panche, A. N., Diwan, A. D. & Chandra, S. R. Flavonoids: an overview. J. Nutr. Sci. 5, 1–15 (2016). https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-nutritional-science/article/flavonoids-an-overview/C0E91D3851345CEF4746B10406908F52