Alcohol Dependence, Alcohol Abuse: Vitamin B and Alcohol

You can read my review of Calm Support here, and you can read more about Sleep Support in my article on alcohol withdrawal insomnia. If you have liver disease, be sure to take supplements and medications only under the supervision of a doctor. Acetaldehyde – This is the most common toxic byproduct from alcohol, causing hangover symptoms, inflammation, and DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Dr. Carlos Tirado serves as the Medical Director for Renewal Lodge. He is board certified in general and addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Tirado attended medical school at The University of Texas Houston Health Science Center and completed his residency in general psychiatry at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Tirado received specialty training in addiction psychiatry and research at the internationally prestigious Center for Studies on Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania.

Studies that looked at the brains of chronic alcohol abusers after death found that a significant percentage did not have adequate levels of thiamine. One way this occurs is through a lack of nutrition from an inadequate diet. Many people with alcohol use disorder tend to neglect their dietary needs, sometimes skipping meals and other times binging on highly processed foods. The second way that heavy drinking leads to thiamine deficiency is by damaging the stomach lining. Alcohol can cause a variety of digestive issues, including inflammation and erosion in the stomach and digestive tract.

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The drinking exacerbates the effect of unhealthy foods and affects the absorption rate of the already present vitamin B in the body. It releases toxic chemicals that damage the organs and cause dehydration.

How long does it take for thiamine to kick in?

Using this type of clinical thiamine deficiency correction, some heart-related symptoms can be reversed within hours to days ( 2 ). It may take 3 to 6 months to reverse brain and nervous system effects, and people with severe neuropathy due to a delay in diagnosis or treatment may have permanent damage ( 2 ).

Excessive alcohol consumption can also spike the production of free radicals. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to megaloblastic anemia, or low red blood cell counts.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction we can help.

But, mixing B complex with vitamin E could prove efficient in preventing damage caused by alcoholic liver disease. According to medical experts, chronic alcoholics are often deficient in one or multiple vitamins. But, one of the biggest problems for this condition is the deficiency in vitamin B. It is easy to witness the damaging effects of alcohol when you see someone slurring their speech or suffering from impaired motor skills, but there are other aspects that are hidden to the casual observer. Research has been ongoing in regards to the chronic use of alcohol and how it leads to B vitamin deficiencies. Without the proper placement of these vitamins, notably thiamine, the body will be greatly impaired and affected.

  • These supplements may be given for the initial 3–5 days of alcohol withdrawal, because the person is experiencing issues with nutrient absorption and not be getting enough of these vitamins.
  • The vitamin shots most often are used or requested because they may boost energy and impart a sense of well-being.
  • Additionally, the National Institutes of Health reports alcohol dependence is a major cause of B-vitamin deficiency in the United States.
  • Thiamine plays an integral role in the brain, digestive system, and central nervous system.
  • Philip is also a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Intern and alumni of Burning Tree Ranch.

Alcohol use damages the body and mind in many complex ways, including the depletion of vital vitamins and minerals. The lifestyle of heavy drinkers can contribute to nutrient deficiency, as can the decreased function of organs and bodily systems that must work efficiently to maintain health. Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, has various critical functions throughout the body including the processing of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to be used as energy by the heart and brain. Alcohol use causes thiamine deficiency in a few different ways, and if allowed to become severe, it can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called beriberi.

Alcohol and Vitamin Deficiency

Dr. Tirado is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Doug Wade, LMFT serves as the Director of Family Programs for Renewal Lodge and Burning Tree West. Clinically trained in Marriage and Family Therapy, his commitment to helping individuals and their families is evident as he works to nurture families in their burgeoning recovery. Using a strengths-based approach to the Family System, Doug engages each member with the intention of creating a safe place for relationships to heal. His unique approach to each family has been regarded as a highlight of their recovery. In Family Studies and Gerontology and a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. John Bruna serves as the Chief Clinical Consultant for Renewal Lodge.

  • B vitamins are water soluble vitamins responsible for many essential functions in our bodies.
  • She has an extensive healthcare background and a passion for providing compassionate care to patients of all ages.
  • Therefore, high blood serum levels for vitamin B12 can actually be a marker of liver disease, rather than a sign that the body overall contains optimal levels of vitamin B12.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to megaloblastic anemia, or low red blood cell counts.

They receive the banana bags moniker from the yellow hue that the thiamine and multivitamin lend to the solution. Alcohol also blocks zinc, a mineral that plays a key role in gene expression. The body converts inherited information to functional products such as protein or ribonucleic acid . Tyler Smith has been a health care writer, with a focus on hospitals, since 1996. He served as a writer and editor for the Marketing and Communications team at University of Colorado Hospital and UCHealth from 2007 to 2017.


Some professionals even suggest skipping the banana bag and administering an IV drip with 200 to 500 mg of thiamine every eight hours, along with smaller doses of magnesium sulfate and folate. Vitamin B6 deficiencies can lead to heart failure, peripheral neuropathy , and painful dermatitis, which is inflammation of the skin. UCHealth advertising supports our core mission and helps us improve our site as a resource for trusted health content.

Who should not take thiamine?

You should not use thiamine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take this medicine if: you have any other medical conditions; you take other medications or herbal products; or.

Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to absorb B vitamins and also leaches B vitamins from your system, so taking a large dose before drinking does not help stave off a hangover. These findings—B vitamins have efficacy for alcoholic polyneuropathy—are consistent with those reported in other studies. It is difficult, however, to know whether patients will notice improvements with B vitamins or whether these improvements are detectable only via a sensitive research instrument (e.g., biothesiometry). Nonetheless, with favorable safety profiles and low cost, B vitamins are a welcome treatment for people with this often troubling condition. People with heavy, long-term exposure to alcohol need higher doses than the average person with a minor vitamin B12 deficiency. The optimal way to repair an alcohol-induced nutrient deficiency is through supplementation. As chronic alcohol consumption progressively damages this organ, vitamin B12 stores in the liver become even more severely depleted.

Mark also received advanced training graduate of the Dallas Psychoanalytic Institute-Academic Track. He also holds a BS in Mathematics, BA in History and a Master’s degree in Journalism and Public Affairs. Mark utilizes the therapeutic modalities of Psychodynamic Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and vitamins for recovering alcoholics CBT. He has a passion for utilizing empathy and respect to help clients gain insight to support long term recovery. Auryana Malek serves as a Family Nurse Practitioner for Renewal Lodge. She has an extensive healthcare background and a passion for providing compassionate care to patients of all ages.

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