ZBiotics Review: We Tested the Hangover Cure's Claims (2024)

ZBiotics Review: We Tested the Hangover Cure's Claims (1)

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Whether you drink socially every weekend or enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner, if you drink alcohol, hangovers come with the territory. From feeling mildly groggy the next morning to needing to spend the day downing ibuprofen in a dark room, being hungover is never fun. Sure, you can avoid hangovers altogether by abstaining from alcohol, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to drink without suffering the next day?

ZBiotics seeks to solve this problem with its proprietary pre-alcohol probiotic. ZBiotics has genetically engineered a common probiotic by adding an enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde—one of the common sources of hangovers.

To put ZBiotics to the test, we tried it out before a night of moderate drinking. Read on to find out how it worked for us, what an expert has to say about this product’s claims and how this pre-alcohol probiotic drink stacks up against its competitors.

This content is meant to be informative, but should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention or treatment of health problems. Always speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement or exercise regimen.

ZBiotics At a Glance

  • Made from Bacillus subtilis, a common probiotic found in honey and Japanese soy products like miso and tempeh
  • 0 calories and only 3 mg of sodium
  • Vegan, gluten-free and keto/paleo-friendly
  • Comes in an easy-to-transport 0.5-ounce bottle


  • Can help alleviate hangover symptoms all day and night with just one bottle
  • No known side effects
  • Safety-tested and FDA-compliant
  • Customers seem to love it—ZBiotics has sold over 2 million bottles since its 2019 launch


  • A high price tag of $9-$12 per bottle, depending on how much you buy
  • Research regarding the efficacy of hangover cures remains mixed

What is ZBiotics?

ZBiotics is a unique product that may help you avoid hangovers. The idea behind this probiotic drink is that hangover symptoms are a result of unmetabolized acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism. The company claims that by drinking one 0.5-ounce bottle of ZBiotics before or shortly after consuming alcohol, your body gets help breaking down this byproduct and you get to wake up hangover-free.

ZBiotics Claims

According to the company, hangover symptoms come from acetaldehyde that remains in the gut after a night of drinking alcohol. ZBiotics claims that its genetically engineered microbes metabolize this acetaldehyde, allowing you to indulge without a hangover.

ZBiotics accomplishes this feat by genetically engineering the probiotic B. subtilis—a probiotic in most peoples’ diets. The company’s scientists add a gene that performs virtually the same process the liver performs when breaking down acetaldehyde. ZBiotics claims this results in the acetaldehyde in the gut breaking down into harmless compounds and flushing out of the body.

A specific benefit of B. subtilis is that it only remains in the body for 18 hours to a few days. According to ZBiotics’ research team, this bacterial strain therefore does not change the gut microbiota.

Quality of Ingredients

ZBiotics Review: We Tested the Hangover Cure's Claims (2)

Active Ingredient

Bacillus Subtilis

B. subtilis is the probiotic that ZBiotics uses to create its hangover remedy. The company’s scientists genetically engineer it to have an extra enzyme with a special ability to break down acetaldehyde in the gut.

A bacteria in many common foods, such as soy products, B. subtilis may confer various health benefits. ZBiotics notes that it uses a low dose of B. subtilis because not much is necessary to achieve the desired result. So, if you want more B. subtilis in your diet, you will need to supplement with probiotics or increase dietary sources, which include fermented foods and pasteurized dairy.

Other ingredients

ZBiotics has a relatively short list of ingredients.

ZBiotics uses potassium sorbate and sodium chloride as preservatives. Potassium sorbate is a white salt that acts as a preservative in many foods. It helps to extend shelf life and keeps food from growing mold. In addition to its flavor-enhancing role as table salt, sodium chloride is an essential nutrient. However, given the small quantity in ZBiotics (3 milligrams per serving), it is likely functioning primarily as a preservative.

ZBiotics also includes natural flavors, which the FDA asserts are safe but which the company does not detail in its ingredients list.

Our Experience Testing ZBiotics

SI Showcase Senior Editor Zoë Ettinger took ZBiotics before a night of moderate wine consumption. Check out her experience below:

“ZBiotics comes in a small vial, which is handy for traveling with because you are supposed to take this supplement soon before your first drink of the night. It was really easy to get down—I was surprised by the pleasantness of the slightly citrusy flavor. It's a bit bitter, but the bitter flavor is mild.

The night I used ZBiotics I had three small glasses of wine. Normally, when I do that, I find myself waking up at least once in the middle of the night and then feeling slightly groggy in the morning. The night I took ZBiotics I didn't wake up once during the night and felt refreshed in the morning.

I'd say any hangover symptoms were about 90% better from taking ZBiotics.”

Does ZBiotics Work?

Based on our personal experience and overwhelmingly positive online reviews, it seems like ZBiotics may hold the key to preventing a hangover. We reached out to Seattle-based registered dietitian and nutritionist Ginger Hultin, MS RDN CSO, owner of Ginger Hultin Nutrition and author of Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep, to get a dietary professional’s take on ZBiotics’ claims.

Hultin confirmed that “Some acetaldehyde remains in the gut after drinking since it is a byproduct of alcohol metabolism. The amount depends on the amount consumed, the type of bacteria in the gut and the individual person’s ability to metabolize alcohol.”

She did present the caveat, however, that “Studies show that people who quickly convert alcohol into acetaldehyde tend to have less severe hangovers. What’s not clear in the research, however, is if eliminating acetaldehyde can reduce hangover severity, which ZBiotics hopes to do … However, it's still possible that acetaldehyde indirectly affects hangover severity.” Hultin concluded that “more research is needed.”

The lack of consensus in the scientific community about the cause of hangovers leaves manufacturers of hangover supplements in somewhat unchartered territory. While many customers swear by ZBiotics, this could be due to the placebo effect, or perhaps it only works for some people.

ZBiotics Side Effects

During extensive testing, ZBiotics’ scientists identified no side effects, but the company is open to feedback and urges customers to reach out if their experience differs. Hultin explains that, with all probiotics, “there are a few things to look out for, namely gastrointestinal discomforts such as bloating, gas and diarrhea, which can happen to people who are sensitive to probiotics and/or have gut sensitivities or disorders.”

ZBiotics Cost

The joy of waking up without a hangover comes at a cost. Because you need to drink one full shot-sized bottle before you start drinking, ZBiotics is on the pricey side, and we would categorize this as a premier product. The cost decreases the more you buy, with a three-pack costing $12/bottle, a six-pack running you $10/bottle, and a 12-pack coming in at $9/bottle.

You can save 20% by subscribing, which comes with no commitment. Subscriptions are available for six-packs and 12-packs and can arrive every four, six, eight or 10 weeks.

Who Should Use ZBiotics

ZBiotics is a great choice for anyone who is sick of hangover symptoms and doesn’t mind spending some money to avoid them. There is no set amount of drinks that ZBiotics works for, so it can help even light drinkers.

Because of ZBiotics’ long effective window, it is a solid option for anyone planning a long day of socializing with drinks. The company states that one “bottle is good for a whole day, even if you’re starting with brunch mimosas and have nighttime plans after as well!”

Who Should NOT Use ZBiotics

If you don’t suffer much after drinking, ZBiotics may not be worth it for you. The company also reminds consumers that its product does not make you less drunk or have any health benefits outside of hangover relief. So, if you hope to avoid liver damage by using ZBiotics, you’re out of luck. And those avoiding GMOs should steer clear—Zbiotics is “proudly GMO.” In addition, price-conscious consumers may wish to try cheaper hangover solutions.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse, you can find resources for getting help at SAMHSA National Helpline.

What Customers Are Saying About ZBiotics

Most customers seem to enjoy ZBiotics, which boasts a rating of 4.4/5 on both Amazon and the company’s website. Those who love ZBiotics rave about how great this hangover cure makes them feel the morning after drinking, with one reviewer noting that “the next day I felt much better than usual. No nauseous feeling and more energy” and another commenting that the probiotic drink’s “flavor is very subtle and mild.”

Negative reviews range from people who didn’t notice any effect from ZBiotics to a few who had poor reactions. One reviewer said that ZBiotics actually “seemed to greatly amplify the negative effects” of his hangover.

Because alcohol metabolism varies from person to person based on numerous factors, including body composition and biological sex, individual results may vary. Fortunately, the positive reviews greatly outnumber the negative, so ZBiotics appears to work for many.

About ZBiotics

ZBiotics Review: We Tested the Hangover Cure's Claims (3)

ZBiotics’ mission is “to use genetic engineering to build something new: products that improve everyday living in ways people can experience for themselves.” Founded in 2016, the company employs scientists passionate about using genetic engineering for good. Zack Abbott, Ph. D., and John W.K. Oliver, Ph. D., serve as the company’s CEO/co-founder and Head of R&D, respectively.

ZBiotics is the only hangover-reducing probiotic on the market right now. The company’s website notes that, although it is the first to use genetic engineering on probiotic bacteria for this purpose, “scientists have been giving bacteria new traits for decades in research, clinical and industrial settings.”

Headquartered in San Francisco, all of ZBiotics’ manufacturing takes place in an FDA-registered food-grade facility according to Good Manufacturing Practices. Its website notes that its “novel ZB183 ingredient has been extensively tested and is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use.” While ZBiotics’ pre-alcohol probiotic is the company’s only offering, its scientists are actively working on other GMOs to improve people’s everyday lives.

ZBiotics vs Myrkl

Myrkl is a pre-drinking supplement with probiotics, L-cysteine and vitamin B12. It claims to break down 70% of alcohol within 60 minutes of when you start drinking. The website does not explicitly detail how Myrkl works, as Swedish supplement companies cannot share certain information online. This unfortunately means that we do not know precisely how it works.

ZBiotics and Myrkl both use probiotics, but that is where the similarities end. ZBiotics’ probiotic is a delivery system for an enzyme, while Myrkl claims that its probiotics provide benefits on their own. In addition, Myrkl uses L-cysteine and B12, which have post-drinking benefits. Myrkl comes in pill form and costs $2.30 per serving, making it a less expensive alternative than ZBiotics. Both companies offer a money-back guarantee.

Check out our Myrkl review for more information on this pre-drinking supplement.

ZBiotics vs Blowfish

Another less-expensive hangover remedy is Blowfish. Blowfish comes in effervescent tablets and is taken in the morning after drinking. It is a simple product that contains only aspirin and caffeine, which the company says are delivered more quickly due to the effervescence.

Blowfish costs about $2 per hangover—much cheaper than ZBiotics. However, while ZBiotics aims to prevent hangovers, Blowfish aims to treat them. So, if you can’t remember to take something before drinking, Blowfish may be right for you. But if you want to wake up hangover-free, ZBiotics may be a better fit.

ZBiotics FAQs

Does ZBiotics help your liver?

ZBiotics does not enhance liver health or help you avoid the negative repercussions heavy drinking can have on your liver.

How long after taking the probiotic can you drink alcohol?

For best results, drink ZBiotics before your first drink. However, you can still benefit from ZBiotics even if you’ve already had a round or two.

Is ZBiotics FDA-approved?

ZBiotics is FDA-compliant, which means it satisfies all safety requirements for sale in the United States. Like other GMOs, it must maintain compliance with FDA guidelines. Because it is a food product rather than a medication, ZBiotics cannot be FDA-approved.

Does ZBiotics need to be refrigerated?

You should not refrigerate ZBiotics. Store it at room temperature with the cap on. The serving size is one bottle, so you should not have any open leftovers to refrigerate.

Does ZBiotics make you less drunk?

ZBiotics does not make you less drunk, nor does it lower your blood alcohol level. It targets a byproduct of alcohol metabolism, so it impacts hangovers but does not have any impact on intoxication. Please continue to drink responsibly.

Related Post: The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Takeaway: Is ZBiotics Worth It?

If you suffer from hangover symptoms but still want to enjoy alcohol, we think ZBiotics is worth a try. With zero calories and no artificial flavors, ZBiotics is a good option for nearly all diets.

However, if you are not a fan of GMOs, this may not be the right fit. Additionally, not all consumers may consider an extra $9-$12 worth avoiding a hangover. To try ZBiotics without too much commitment, opt for a 3-pack and select “one-time purchase.”

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.

ZBiotics Review: We Tested the Hangover Cure's Claims (2024)
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