One of the essential things that can be done for an alcoholic is for them to take vitamins. Vitamins for alcoholics are a critical factor in them maintaining what health they have. Taking vitamins daily when one drinks helps prevent several alcohol-specific illnesses and can help aid in recovery when that time comes.
Loving an addict is hard. From the outside, we see them harming themselves. Sometimes, however, they do not always realize that they are harming themselves. Those who do realize they are hurting themselves often do it for that very reason. By doing one small thing – taking vitamins every day – you can help yourself or a loved one stay healthier.
Part of the reason that alcohol is so dangerous is that it tends to replace meals and, thus, the nutrients in that food. Making sure an alcoholic has access to vitamins daily, can help them maintain a certain level of health. Many alcoholics come out of their addiction sick and unable to care for themselves, and at least some of what they experience is preventable.
While multivitamins are a good option, there are a few leading families of vitamins that alcoholics are prone to missing out on. Lack of some vitamins, B vitamins specifically, over an extended period can lead to several different brain diseases.
Long term alcoholics tend to develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome almost exclusively and this, as well as other brain diseases, are caused by a lack of whole grains and meat among other major food contributors. Vitamin B can be found in milk, salads, and many other places but, if a person is not eating a decent meal at least once a day, they miss out on the benefits from food that most of us take for granted.
Vitamin A is another family of vitamins from which alcoholics can benefit. The problem with vitamin A is that it is taken into the body through absorption by the stomach and intestines. When it is absorbed improperly, issues of eyesight - and we are talking about certain kinds of blindness, can arise quickly and be permanent. Vitamin A is difficult for alcoholics to absorb because the alcohol is absorbed first and this overloads their gut.
The third most troublesome deficiency comes in the form of vitamin D. Vitamin D is created by our bodies naturally, but in order to process it and put it to proper use, it must be metabolized by our liver and kidneys. Alcohol tends to overload these organs as well, and they cannot utilize what they are given.
Because of these complications, it can be hard to know what supplements to take. Multivitamins for alcoholics should at least include potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin C. Because alcohol can cover up the symptoms of vitamin deficiency, it often goes unnoticed and unrecognized, so daily vitamins are essential to maintain as much health as possible.
An excellent daily multivitamin is from Vimerson Health. They make a women’s multivitamin and a men’s version. You should check with your doctor, though, to find the best choice based on your health.
So, if our bodies are being overloaded by trying to absorb the alcohol and they will not absorb these, why take them? Besides the fact that the body is not getting the chance to try to absorb them from food, supplementing will help boost any levels of vitamins that are making it in and, the higher the levels of vitamin intake, the more likely the body is to absorb at least some of the vitamins.
The National Institute of Health says: Vitamins are essential to maintaining growth and normal metabolism because they regulate many physiological processes. Chronic heavy drinking is associated with deficiencies in many vitamins because of decreased food ingestion and, in some cases, impaired absorption, metabolism, and utilization. For example, alcohol inhibits fat absorption and thereby impairs absorption of the vitamins A, E, and D that are normally absorbed along with dietary fats. Vitamin A deficiency can be associated with night blindness, and vitamin D deficiency is associated with softening of the bones.
They did touch on a few things that we already covered; however, they bring up another essential vitamin, vitamin E. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Library, vitamin E is what helps prevent blood from becoming too concentrated or from forming clots. Vitamin E deficiencies are extremely rare in the general population (less than 1 in 1 million). Among alcoholics, however, the rate of absorption for vitamin E was 62% less than in otherwise healthy adults tested.
Moreover, what does all that mean, exactly? That means that chronic drinkers are 62% more likely than the rest of the population to form a blood clot randomly. Blood clots can lead to death. Sometimes they form and then break up on their own, and no one even knows they were there. The rest of the time, however, they can form in the brain, heart, or lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which can lead to death. Many blood clots form in a leg. These are known as deep vein thromboses (DVT) and, when they break free, they become pulmonary embolisms or heart attacks because they travel, in chunks, through the body and get stuck wherever the veins and arteries begin to narrow or where they can pile up against a valve. Thus, the possibility of such a catastrophic event should caution any person whom drinks excessively to seek help and work to stop.
A loved one may have already experienced a DVT that was mild and passed without incident. However, if anyone notices these symptoms, the Mayo Clinic suggests that they contact a doctor:
They suggest one seeks immediate medical attention if they have any of the following as they can be signs of a progressed DVT into a pulmonary embolism:
Alcoholism is a hard and unforgiving disease. One of the hardest parts of the disease is that is creates a state of malnutrition as the alcoholic replaces meals with beer and liquor. Vitamins for alcoholics are essential to aid in healing the body. They also help with absorption, digestion, providing nutrients that are important in order to survive, and essentially act as a way to provide the substance food would otherwise provide someone who drinks excessively in place of meals. Moreover, those who drink in excess are more likely to face life changing or threatening diseases as a symptom of their malnutrition. Thus, it is important for an alcoholic, no matter what stage of the recovery process they are in to use vitamins. And more importantly, it is imperative for any alcoholic to seek help for their problem now.
If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:
Ihn-Geun Choi, M. P. (2005). Psychiatric Implications of Nutritional Deficiencies in Alcoholism. Psychiatry Investig., 2(2): 44-59.
Mayo Clinic. (2018, March 6). From Mayo Clinic.
NIAAA. (2000, October). From the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
NORD. (2019). From the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)
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