TweetNutrition and alcoholism
Recovering problem drinkers don't always feel better. Many struggle with depression, anxiety, and lack of energy. Sound nutrition (specific vitamins, minerals, etc.) helps.
Some alcoholics, in spite of how much they want to stay sober, fail. Repeatedly. The explanation often is, "They haven't hit bottom yet." In other words, they're not ready to quit. Maybe. Maybe not.
Alcohol can precipitate depression and other unpleasant symptoms which the alcoholic knows from experience can be temporarily alleviated by alcohol. Yet this only perpetuates the cycle, since alcohol destroys many natural chemicals. Among these are: the neurotransmitter norepinephrine -- formed from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine; endorphins; essential fatty acids needed to form brain metabolites, including prostaglandin E1 (PGE1); B vitamins, which supply the brain's energy and maintain mental and emotional balance; and trace elements and enzymes governing hormonal balance.
STRUGGLING WITH RECOVERY
When alcoholics stop drinking, they believe they will feel better. For many that doesn't happen. A ten-year study conducted at Johns Hopkins University(10)demonstrated that the typical alcoholic experiences most of the following symptoms for years into recovery:
· Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority
· Phobic Anxiety
· Psychosis (lack of contact with reality)
Given the grim outlook it isn't surprising many alcoholics resume drinking. It's human nature to seek relief from stress.
The extent of the relapse problem was demonstrated in a four-year study of 922 alcoholic men treated in seven hospitals.(1)
Of the 922 men, only 28 percent refrained from drinking for six months after treatment.
After one year, only 21 percent remained abstinent.
After four years, only 7 percent remained abstinent.
Research reveals that many of the substances the brain uses to generate emotions -- amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids, and neurotransmitters, are diminished or destroyed by heavy alcohol (or other drug) use.(4)
Yet employing nutrition in the treatment of alcoholism has only recently been accepted by some as a means to improve this discouraging situation. Reasons for the resistance to this approach are another discussion (see Goodwin, "The Tomato Effect: Rejection of Highly Effective Therapies," Journal of the American Medical Association (1984) vol. 251, pgs. 2387-2390).
POTENTIAL BIOCHEMICAL CAUSES OF DEPRESSION & ANXIETY
Diminished Omega 6 essential fatty acid availability
Supplying gamma linolenic acid can dramatically reverse depression in certain alcoholics--especially those of Scotch, Scandanavian, Welsh, and American Indian heritage. Alcohol offers temporary relief from depression thus explaining the continuing cycle.(5)
Diminished Serotonin Availability
Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter. Its precursor, tryptophan, is rendered deficient by alcohol abuse. A shortage of serotonin in brain synapses leads to depression.(4,5,6)
This neurotransmitter is supplied to the brain by its precursor amino acid, tyrosine. Tyrosine reverses depression by restoring normal levels of specific neurotransmitters, which must be present in brain receptors to prevent depression.(5,6,7)
Exposure to substances producing a brain allergic response of depression
Many painters, hairstylists, garage mechanics, printers and others constantly exposed to chemical fumes, sprays and dyes experience high rates of alcoholism. Alcoholics also commonly have food sensitivities and allergies.
Fifty years ago one of AA's co-founders, Bill Wilson — a hypoglycemic, contacted AA physicians regarding the risks posed by low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.(8)
Alcoholism compromises the immune system and can cause Candida yeast overgrowth. Depression often results from the central nervous system toxins generated by Candida-Related-Complex.(4, 9)
Nutrients for Depression (due to norepinephrine depletion)
1. L-Tyrosine (amino acid) Dose: 500 mgs. (4-10 capsules daily in equal amounts on an empty stomach)
L-Phenyalanine (amino acid) Dose: 500 mgs. (1-3 capsules daily in equal doses on an empty stomach)
Contraindications: These amino acids are contraindicated for those who: are pregnant — unless taken under a physician's supervision; take an MAO inhibitor for depression; have high blood pressure (take low doses of 100 mgs. at first and monitor blood pressure as dosage is increased); have PKU (Phenylketonuria) or schizophrenia — unless taken under a physician's supervision; have severe liver damage, an overactive thyroid, or malignant melanoma.
2. B Complex Dose 50 mgs. (3 X daily with meals)
3. Vitamin C Dose: 1,000 mgs. (3 X daily with meals)
Nutrients for Anxiety
1. GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid)
Dose: 100 mgs. (2 capsules, 4 X daily on an empty stomach)
GABA has a calming effect. In fact, tranquilizers like Valium and Librium work by stimulating the brain's receptors for GABA (4,5,7).
2. Chromium Picolinate Dose: 200 mcgs. (1 X daily with meals)
3. Niacinimide or Niacin Dose: 500 mgs. (3 X daily with meals)
4. Vitamin C Dose: 1,000 mgs. (3 X daily with meals)
5. B Complex Dose: 50 mgs. (3 X daily with meals)
6. Vitamin B6 Dose: 200 mgs. (3 X daily with meals). Some of this is likely satisfied in your B Complex capsule.
7. Vitamin E Dose: 200 IUs (3 X daily with meals)
Nutrients for Shakiness, Tremors
1. Taurine (amino acid) Dose: 500 mgs. (1 capsule on an empty stomach)
2. Calcium/Magnesium Dose: 300/150 mgs. (2 capsules, 3 X daily with meals)
3. B Complex Dose: 50 mgs. (3 X daily with meals)
4. Flaxseed Oil Dose: 1 tablespoon (3 X daily with meals)
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Tweetinteresting but did you know that alcoholics are just drunks that are scared of hangovers.