Alcohol and Vitamin Deficiency

vitamin deficiency, alcohol and nutrition, alcohol effects, effects of alcohol on health, alcohol and B12

Drinking Alcoholic Beverages Depletes Your Vitamins

There are several risks involved when you consume alcohol. Your body can be affected on many levels from drinking alcoholic beverages. If you are facing social anxieties, stress, or trauma, your drinking to relieve stress can quickly lead to alcohol abuse rather quickly. It can even lead to alcohol addiction. Alcohol and vitamin deficiency can be a bigger risk than many people even realize.

Those who consume large quantities of alcohol for a longer timeframe are at risk of suffering a variety of serious medical problems. One such risk is Vitamin B deficiency, which could negatively impact your body in a serious way for a long time.

Alcohol can affect your body’s ability to completely absorb nutrients, which can cause serious damage to your health and put you at a much greater risk of suffering from a serious disease and/or illness.

When you see someone intoxicated, it is easy to see the effects of alcohol. They might have impaired motor skills, slur their speech, or have the inability to properly function. There are other effects of alcohol consumption that aren’t as obvious to others. Thanks to ongoing research in the field, it has been determined that chronic alcohol abuse can lead to deficiency of B vitamins.

Without these vitamins in proper amounts, especially thiamine, the body can suffer negative effects and impairments. Thiamine, which is also B1, is an essential nutrient. All tissues need B1, especially tissues in the brain. B1 is found in several foods, such as dried beans, poultry, peas, pork, whole grain cereals, nuts, and soybeans. While these are sources for naturally occurring thiamine. There are many foods that fortified with this very important vitamin.

Most Americans consume the needed thiamine through foods. The recommended daily allowance of thiamine for women is 1.1 mg/day and 1.2 mg/day for men. Thiamine must be consumed in the diet, since it isn’t produced by the human body. It can be found in organs, such as the kidneys, brain, liver, and heart, and in skeletal muscles. Thiamine is contained within all your cells, and your enzymes are dependent on it.

Why Does Alcohol Abuse Affect Levels of Thiamine?

Vitamin B deficiency or thiamine deficiency is common among individuals who are addicted to alcohol. There are several reasons those who suffer from alcohol addiction have lowered thiamine levels.

  • Alcohol inhibits your ability to properly absorb nutrients that are needed from food.
  • Overall poor nutrition might result because of the failure to eat healthy.
  • Cells are struggling to absorb the vitamin.
  • The cells of the body having a reduced ability to use thiamine properly in cellular functioning.

About 80% of individuals who have an addiction to alcoholahave been proven to have lowered thiamine levels. Because thiamine has a wide prevalence in the body, having a lowered level or lacking the vitamin will have a negative effect on every organ in the body. There are two systems, the nervous system and the heart, that suffer more from a lack of thiamine than other body systems.

Thiamine and the Nervous System

Thiamine is required for the function of different enzymes that metabolize the sugar molecules into other molecules to handle physiological processes. These enzymes are required for producing neurotransmitters. When there aren’t enough neurotransmitters, chemical messengers in your brain will struggle for proper functioning. These enzymes might struggle because of a thiamine deficiency, so your body can’t react properly and block damage from reactive, harmful oxygen molecules that are referred to as free radicals.

A thiamine deficiency can have devastating results on an individual’s brain if they don’t pay attention to what is happening to them or don’t realize that they are suffering from a vitamin B deficiency. You will need to be proactive and stop the issue, ensuring your vitamin levels are brought back to normal levels.

A study that was published in Alcoholism:  Clinical and Experimental Research revealed that when thiamine deficiency is combined with the chronic consumption of alcohol, you could cause a situation that might lead to a serious impairment of memory and cognition – even more advanced than you would suffer from one of those two situations by itself.

Sometimes those who have a serious deficiency of thiamine develop a serious disorder of the brain that is called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This is a disease with two distinct syndromes including a dire, shorter condition called Wernicke’s encephalopathy that leads to paralysis of the nerves that move the eyes, impaired coordination of movements, and mental confusion.

The other syndrome is Korsakoff’s psychosis, which is a chronic, disabling condition that has memory and learning problems accompanied by behavioral changes. If you are suffering from alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction, be sure to have your vitamin levels checked by your healthcare provider to ensure you avoid further problems.



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