A Former Tesla Engineer Thinks He's Found a Cure For Hangovers

An engineer’s side project grew into something so big that he quit his job this week to pursue it full-time. Sisun Lee, formerly a staff product manager for Tesla, is now flying under his own flag as founder of Morning Recovery. The company has nothing to do with cars and everything to do with alcohol consumption — it produces and sells an FDA-compliant hangover cure.

When Lee was 26 years old, he traveled to South Korea and spent time partying with friends and getting drunk. Rather than suffer from a throbbing head full of regret the next morning, Lee’s friends introduced him to the hangover cure drinks that are popular throughout the country. They worked for Lee, but he could not find a suitable replacement after returning to the States.

He tried to import the Korean drinks from the other side of the world and become a U.S. distributor, but the companies weren’t interested in working with him. Despite being a sharp, technically minded guy, Lee didn’t have any relevant experience to partner with Korean drink manufacturers, so he went his own way.

He dug deep through the work of USC researcher Dr. Jing Liang, who staked out an academic niche by publishing about the herbal remedies for hangovers. Hangovers happen when you consume more alcohol than your liver can process on its own. A toxic acid called acetaldehyde begins to build inside your body, causing inflammation and headaches. The secret ingredient that fights this off is a compound called dihydromyricetin (DHM), found in tea and certain raisin trees, and it’s just what the human body needs to fight off that sick, groggy feeling after a night of boozing. DHM swings to the rescue to break down excess acetaldehyde, turning it into acetic acid that is flushed naturally out of the body.

Lee eventually formulated his own hangover cure based on Liang’s research and called it Morning Recovery. He returned to Asia for two weeks to put his product to the test, telling Business Insider that he was “basically getting drunk every single night,” but would wake up feeling so normal that he wondered if he was partying hard enough. Evidence suggests he certainly was; though his formula worked perfectly, he gained 15 pounds in the testing process.

Morning Recovery formally launches on Indiegogo on July 5. Everything in the drink is roundly identified as a food supplement, making the drink FDA-compliant. The next rung on that ladder would be to get FDA approval. Then medical professionals could formally prescribe Morning Recovery as a hangover cure. 

The earliest evidence of human alcohol consumption traces back to about 7000 BC. This means that 9,000 years’ worth of hangovers hasn’t been enough to stop people from drinking — just enough to get them to uninvent the hangover.