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Information on Alcoholism

Notes, Nutrients, Herbs/Supplements, and Advice

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Also known as alcohol dependence syndrome due to consuming an overabundance of alcohol frequently. Can be compulsive behavior and can be chronic, progressive, can lead to death, and lead to psychological and nutritional problems.


  • If an alcoholic stops drinking but then goes back to it after a period of time, the damage to the liver will be the same and/or greater than if the alcoholic had never quit.
  • Limiting oneself to beer or wine will not be conclusive that an individual will not be liable to becoming an alcoholic. Drinking 12 ounces of beer or five ounces of wine will equate to roughly 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. The major difference with straight liquor is that it is absorbed faster than beer or wine.
  • Medications like tranquilizers, antidepressants, codeine, morphine, pheriobarbital, and even some antibiotics can develop toxic compounds with alcohol. Antihistamines can increase depression of the central nervous system when combined with alcohol. Taking sleeping aids along with alcohol could be fatal.
  • Other countries have chosen to use hyperbaric oxygen to treat alcoholism with positive results.
  • "Hangovers" may be caused by a combination of multiple factors, including dehydration, overeating, and disturbed sleep. Even tiny alcohol amounts can sometimes cause disagreeable side effects the next morning. The most beneficial treatment is to get lots of rest and drink lots of water. Having a large glass of water before going to bed and again when getting up may help eliminate the "morning after" edge. Taking OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxin, etc., may help to get rid of the headache. However, it pays to be cautious when using these OTC's because there could be risk involved. These drugs could harm the stomach, as well as the liver. That is the reason it is now required to have a warning label on the OTC's warning against using them if you drink more than three drinks daily. It is inadvisable to take any medicine when drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • A potent antioxidant that has shown positive results in treating liver damage caused by alcohol abuse is alpha-lipoic acid. This antioxidant may shield the liver and pancreas from the harmful effects of alcohol abuse.
  • A study that the Department of Health and Human Services reported on had indications that people that use mouthwash with a high content of alcohol and are alcoholics and/or habitual smokers will stand a higher chance of getting oral and pharyngeal cancers.
  • Alcoholism can amend the membranes of red cells plus alcoholism can also lead to other types of cells losing their normal state, especially the gastrointestinal cells.
  • Alcoholism is listed as the second major preventable cause of death in the U.S. Only cigarette smoking is above it.
  • College students, now, appear to be attending college for a different reason than getting an education; now students go to college based on whether a college is considered to be a "party college" and whether or not they can drink to get drunk. The statistics indicate that students are two to three times more likely to drink to get drunk which is a big change from two decades ago.
  • Don’t believe the old wife's tale that alcohol stimulates sexual arousal. Alcohol will actually do the opposite and make a person depressed. A better statement is that alcohol causes sexual dysfunction in men and erratic menstrual cycles in women.
  • A supervised "intervention" is many times used by alcoholism and substance abuse specialists in an effort to get the alcoholic to admit that they have a problem and that they need treatment. Over the years, psychological treatments have been created and improved; these treatments seem to have an overall positive success rate for people that look for treatment and stay sober. As there are risks with treating anyone psychologically, this should only be attempted by trained professionals.
  • Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream faster into the bloodstream because it can be assimilated by both the stomach and the small intestines (food is soaked up though the intestines only.) One hour can elapse before the body will break down one of alcohol in the bloodstream (might take slightly longer for people that are more elderly). The more drinks that are drunk in an hour, the higher the alcoholic blood content in the blood. Life-threatening levels are usually above 400 mg/dL.
  • Alcoholism is difficult to define. Not all alcoholics exhibit signs such as, falling-down drunk in public, loss of job and family, cause of traffic accidents, or even getting arrested. Some people drink secretly, at night and/or on the weekends, or once in a while. Many times people drink because they are depressed or even because they like the feeling. There are those that are able to hold down a job or even further their careers. Sooner or later they lose the ability to control the amount of alcohol they can hold.
  • An alternative drug to ReVia that has been prescribed by some physicians is disulfiram (Antabuse) which seems to help alcoholics to abstain from drinking. The side effects, however, could be considered to be quite harsh and can include nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, blurred vision, and sometimes an impending feeling of death even if they were to take a sip. Using this drug has resulted in abstinence in people that over imbibe.
  • It has been demonstrated that alcohol can affect older adults in different ways than other people. Alcohol can make it more difficult to absorb nutrients, and it may also exhibit a danger if combined with many medications taken to regulate age-related or chronic disorder. It is disturbing that alcoholism in the elders is much more evident than one might consider. It may actually not even be noticed. Some people may think that older people have "earned the right to drink." However, these same people also have a right to become recovered as anyone else does.
  • One of the signs of severe alcoholism is whether an individual is drinking in binges. A binge drinker will drink to the arrival point of being drunk and remain that way for several days. The binger will often forego eating, normal responsibilities, etc. Vomiting may indicate the end of the binge which is how the body will deal with clearing itself of the excess alcohol, after which the binger may lose consciousness. It is not unusual for the binger to be clueless about the activities during the binge. Bingers are known to intake more alcohol on a regular basis and seem to increase the effects of intoxication and alcohol-related illnesses than non-binge drinkers. A binger may experience extremely hazardous cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Poor nutrition is just one example of harmful effects of ethanol. The risk of alcoholics having poor nutrition could be as much as 50 percent of the quantity of calories they take in. These very same calories can be substantially from the ethanol they just consumed which would, of course, lessen the amount of calories coming from nutritionally-based food. In addition, alcoholics are lacking in their supply of folic acid. This most often affects the pancreas which is unable to absorb the folic acid it needs.
  • Prolonged use of alcohol can trigger the absence of zinc, probably due to more waste being passed through the urinary system and bowels. Zinc is a vital player to the multiple enzyme systems and DNA and RNA production. Zinc is a regulator of the levels of copper present in the brain. Anxiousness and paranoia can be lowered if the proper copper levels are evident. Not having the daily recommended level of zinc in the body may contribute to anorexia, poor smell and taste, improper growth, a poor operational reproductive system, and slow healing and immune function. Due to lower amounts of zinc, pathological changes in the stomach can materialize. Other disorders that can arise from the abuse of alcohol and insufficient zinc in the body are the increase of poisons in the cells which may change the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and nutrients. Malabsorption and other nutritional deficiencies may arise. A weakened metabolism can occur from the absence or decrease of zinc.
  • The drug naltrexone (ReVia) can deter the pleasant feelings of endogenous opioids, opiate-like agents that the brain released when it is responding to alcohol and could assist problem drinkers become sober by taking away the feelings of longing for that drink. The University of Pennsylvania and the Yale University School of Medicine did studies that when ReVia was administered to patients they were three times more likely to stay with their recovery programs that those individuals that were not on the drug. They were also quick to advise that this drug is not good for people that already have a predisposition to liver disease.
  • The great thing is that alcoholism is treatable. The alcoholic must first admit that they have a drinking problem and ask for help. The treatment must be adjusted for each persons needs. Some need to be hospitalized due to severe withdrawal symptoms. Others find psychotherapy to be helpful; for some this may not be beneficial. Some people find medications to be helpful. There are self-help programs that have been beneficial treatment for some alcoholics to get better.
  • The stomach and the small intestine are most likely to be damaged when habitual drinkers overuse alcohol. Alcohol can be responsible for changing the absorption rate of nutrients into the small intestines. Additionally, alcohol is just one contaminant that can be absorbed into the stomach lining and result in irreparable deterioration. Too much alcohol can cause a buildup of gastric secretions which means too much acidity will accumulate which can lead to gastritis.
  • Using tranquilizers along with alcohol has its risks because you could actually develop another addiction. Becoming sober should be done without the aid of drugs.
  • Various studies indicate that alcohol can protect effects against certain cardiovascular and cancerous diseases when used in small amounts. Different studies have different ideas as to how much "small" is. The accepted definition of moderate alcoholic intake per the U.S. Department of Agriculture is less than or equal to one drink daily for women and less than or equal to two drinks daily for men. (Defined, a "drink" is 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor). Most health practitioners do not recommend drinking for one's health, though. As alternatives, less risky options may be regular light exercise, no smoking, and saturated fat reduction in the body.
  • While some people might fall asleep faster when drinking, alcohol is known to slow down REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. TEM is critical to a good night's sleep and if disturbed, the individual will likely feel sluggish in the morning and want to go back to bed.
  • You might be surprised to learn that children of teetotalers are more likely to become alcoholics than children of an alcohol abuser. This is because the children in a home where drinking is allowed socially and where drinking has not been overused are not as prone to become alcoholics themselves. Nevertheless, more recent research has shown that alcoholic children are more inclined to abuse drugs, including cocaine. Studies indicate that these same kids are 400 times conceivable to use drugs than those that do not have historical abuse in their family. Sweden has done some research that suggests that babies of alcoholics eventually these babies become alcohol abusers which may suggest that genetics may play a major part in conjunction with alcoholism.
Helpful nutrients for this condition.

Free-form amino acid complex
Importance: Very High
Comments: Helps during withdrawal. Supports healthy brain and liver function. Renews liver cells.

L-cysteine or N-acetylcysteine
Importance: Very High
Comments: Helps during withdrawal. Supports healthy brain and liver function. Renews liver cells.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Relaxes the body. Stops anxiety and stress.

Importance: Very High
Comments: Relaxes the body. Stops anxiety and stress.

Importance: Very High
Comments: Relaxes the body. Stops anxiety and stress.

Importance: Very High
Comments: Preserves the liver. Lowers alcohol cravings. Note: Take only glutathione, not glutamic acid.

Importance: Very High
Comments: Conserves glutathione and advances it to the liver.

Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Detoxifies body. Counterbalances stress.

Vitamin B complex
Importance: Very High
Comments: Fixes deficiencies. Injections are suggested. If unavailable, use sublingually.

Vitamin B12
Importance: Very High
Comments: Fixes deficiencies. Injections are suggested. If unavailable, use sublingually.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Provides needed B1 to alcoholics who are usually low in B vitamins.

Multienzyme complex
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with digestive process.

Proteolytic enzymes
Importance: High
Comments: Aids in protein absorption. Caution: For adult use only.

Importance: High
Comments: Acts as a sedative. Essential mineral.

Importance: High
Comments: Assists calcium. Restores necessary magnesium to alcoholics.

Primrose oil
Importance: High
Comments: Provides essential fatty acids.

Vitamin C
Importance: High
Comments: Antioxidant that may help with the healing process. Stimulates interferon production which helps fight infection.

Importance: Moderate
Comments: Aids brain function. Improves fatty liver degeneration. Could help prevent cirrhosis.

Importance: Moderate
Comments: Aids brain function. Improves fatty liver degeneration. Could help prevent cirrhosis.

Multivitamin and mineral complex
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Helps with malabsorption problems.

Importance: Moderate
Comments: Improves immune system. Contains essential trace minerals.

Importance: Moderate
Comments: Improves immune system. Contains essential trace minerals.

Helpful herbs and supplements for this condition.

Type: Internal
Purposes: Will replace needed depleted minerals and will correct chemical imbalances.

Burdock Root & Red Clover
Type: Internal
Purposes: Will flush the impurities of pollutants from the blood while cleansing the blood of toxins.

Dandelion Root & Silymarin (milk thistle extract)
Type: Internal
Purposes: Milk thistle protects the liver during the alcoholic stages and will work towards repairing the liver.

Valerian Root
Type: Internal
Purposes: Typically acts as a calmative aiding in insomnia and anxiety.
Dosage: Take before going to bed.
Cautions: Excessive alcohol can increase the sedation from Valerian Root.


  • Do not be afraid to get help for a friend or loved one who is struggling with alcoholism.
  • Eliminate toxins from your body quickly by doing a ten-day period live juice and cleansing fast.
  • Find a physician who knows a lot about nutrition to help you set up a nutrition plan.
  • Give your liver a break by staying away from fried foods and saturated fats. Primrose oil and cold-pressed organic vegetable oils are good sources of essential fatty acids that you should incorporate into your food regimen.
  • Incorporate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet (organically grown are best). Also add fresh grains and legumes to your diet.
  • Involve yourself with people and activities that do not remind you about drinking. Sports, exercise, and hobbies are good ways to keep you active and away from alcohol.
  • Moderation Management is another good program that slowly weans heavy drinkers (not yet alcoholics) down to moderate alcohol consumption. The first thirty days require complete abstinence from drinking. After that men may consume 4 drinks a day up to 14 per week. Women may only have 3 drinks a day up to 9 per week.
  • Refrain from any use of alcohol. Abstinence is the best way to get rid of alcoholism. People who have struggled with alcoholism are more prone to get back into it even after years of staying away from it if they taste even a drop. The best method for remaining sober is to stay away from it completely.
  • Set up a support group through organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (or Al-Anon and Alateen for families of alcoholics). Accountability is your friend in your journey to sobriety.
  • Stay away from refined sugar as sugar metabolism disorders are common among alcoholics.
  • Take only prescribed medications.
  • Work on being patient and avoiding stress in your life.
  • Your body will need a lot of rest while it is cleansing and recuperating. This is especially important in the first few weeks of recovery.