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Alcoholism and Nutrition – How the Long-Term
Effects of Alcoholism Wreck Your Health

So when considering alcoholism and nutrition – many people forget the long-term effects that the abuse of alcohol has on your health.

Because let’s face it – if as an alcoholic you’re about to have your next drink – the last thing to cross your mind is that alcohol causes vitamin B deficiencies in your body.

But if you really consider the alcoholism and nutrition link – you will understand how severe the impact that long-term alcohol abuse has on your body and health.

Because consistently drinking large quantities of alcohol seriously depletes the body’s store of crucial nutrients and vitamins.

So what are some of the Health Impacts?

1) Consistent alcohol abuse blocks the absorption of vitamin C – which reduces your resistance to disease and can lead to anaemia.

2) Alcohol also causes Vitamin B deficiencies, which can cause all sorts of problems – muscle and nervous tissue damage; damage to all the major organs, especially the heart and liver; and even a disease called ‘beriberi’ (caused by a deficiency of thiamine/B1) that affects all sorts of systems of the body - from the heart, to your muscles, digestive system and nervous system. It literally means “I can’t, I can’t” in Singhalese due to the crippling effects it can have on you. This show you how severe the alcoholism and nutrition impact can be.

3) In fact Thiamine/B1 is required by most of the body’s tissues, including the brain and with the B1 deficiency many alcoholics experience – severe brain disorders like Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome can result.

Wernicke–Korsakoff (WK) syndrome is made up of two separate, but related disorders - Wernickes Encephalopathy (WE) and Korsakoffs Psychosis (KP). (Forget trying to pronounce any of them – that’s why using abbreviations will be far easier:)

WE usually occurs before KP develops and if WE is not treated in the early stages, it can result in permanent brain damage or severe short-term memory loss, i.e. KP.

Studies suggest that WK syndrome occurs in around 2% of the general population and 12.5% of alcoholics – with its main symptoms being loss of memory, poor balance, drowsiness, and confusion about the time and place.

WE symptoms can sometimes be hard to diagnose because they can be mistaken for drunkenness – and can be treated with high doses of thiamine injections, which could result in full recovery (although not guaranteed). However the success of treating KP depends on how much damage has already been done to the brain.

I don’t want to scare you, but it has also been reported that 18-20% of people who develop WE die because of the condition – and 85% of those that survive go on to develop KP.

How scary is all that when looking at the alcoholism and nutrition link?

4) Vitamin A/Carotene deficiency will reduce your body’s ability to resist disease and effects your vision - especially the ability of your eyes to adjust to darkness.

Nutrition and Alcoholism Solutions

Obviously your health won't improve until you stop drinking. But when you do, to begin replenishing and strengthening your health, here are a few ideas that will help.

Pure Vitamin C powder, either in the form of ascorbic acid or another buffered vitamin c powder, taking a tea-spoon a day in juice/water, is a great anti-oxidant and energiser that will keep you feeling fit and healthy.

Complex B-Vitamins are essential to keeping you in good health, and there is no better source for this than Brewers Yeast, which contains all your B-vitamins in one source. Great for salads and smoothies.

Wheatgrass and green algae like Spirulina are 'superfoods' that will detoxify and provide your body with a range of nutrients to strengthen and heal a body depleted by ongoing alcohol use.

Green Tea is a great anti-oxidant that keeps those cancerous and anti-aging free-radicals at bay. There's a reason Eastern Cultures live on the stuff and so it makes agreat alcoholism and nutrition solution!

So all things considered – when considering the role of alcoholism and nutrition – it’s quite frightening to think of the impact alcohol can have on your health and body.

You might also want to try reading the alcoholism physical symptoms page to get an idea of the physical symptoms of consistent alcohol abuse.

The effects of alcoholism on all areas of your life provide a harsh reality on how alcoholism destroys all areas of your life.

To reverse some of these alcoholism and nutrition effects, you should look at the piece on alcoholism and vitamins to find out what you should be taking to get you back to health as quickly as possible.

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