“Meet the Fizz Maker” in Sioux Falls Argus Leader

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Wehling often does business in China, but he says that means you go out to dinner and end up drinking and doing karaoke until 3 a.m. After many nights, most people suffer from hangovers. A great night often leads to a lousy next day, he says. Drinking alcohol, even in moderate amounts, leads to dehydration and unbalanced levels of acid and sugar in your body, Wehling said. His friend and associate in China Dr. Ge Ming Lui, a cell biologist, knew of a folk remedy that is supposed to ease headaches and cleanse toxins. As a demonstration, his friend threw guava leaves into a blender, produced a green sludge and asked Wehling to drink it. The two then spent a night on the town drinking and felt surprisingly good the next day. He’s careful with the product claims. The package says “… not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.” But his own tests show it can help most people with their hangovers. “We found that it works for eight out of 10 people,” Wehling said. “You may not have absolutely no hangover – maybe still a little thirsty and have a small headache – but that’s it.” It’s now in many Lewis Drug Stores locally, some bars, Hy-Vee stores and recently was accepted by the SuperValu food chain, where it will be in 2,500 stores by October. The product doesn’t need FDA approval, Wehling said. At Lewis stores, the product is stocked in the checkout area and the beer department. “I have not personally tried it, but I have talked to people who have used it, and they said it seemed to help,” said Troy Claussen, Lewis Drug spokesman. The FDA does not regulate or approve such remedies before they’re on the shelf because a “hangover” is not a health condition, said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. Claiming a product relieves hangover symptoms is like saying a product will “help you feel great,” Katz said Tuesday. That is not a health claim and thus is outside the bounds of specific FDA constraints, he said. “If and when we understand the mechanism of migraine, a claim about a product addressing some particular mechanistic pathway would likely be subject to FDA oversight,” he said. But does Drinkin’ Mate work? “I invited one of my staff members to try it out, which he did and said it worked great,” Katz said. “I am intrigued and might want to design a study but haven’t done so yet.” The recommended daily serving of the product has not been established, according to the package. So, how much Drinkin’ Mate or guava leaf would be too much for a person? “The answer is that we won’t know until or unless something bad happens,” Katz said. “So, in general, best to be skeptical – not closed-minded, but cautious.” Meanwhile, orders for Drinkin’ Mate are pouring in at Wehling’s nearly 200,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, he said. Smaller orders are made in his 50,000-square-foot plant in Las Vegas. He and his partner grow the guava leaves on land they own around fish ponds in China. “It’s organic – grown with no fertilizers or pesticides,” he said. “We have total control, know how much we can grow, and process it right there. That’s as well as you can control a natural product.”

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