Alcoholism is characterized by an extreme dependence on alcohol, causing behaviors that are harmful to the individual and others. The cause of alcoholism varies, and may be a combination of factors, including genetics, family history, emotional disorders, and social environment. It is a long-term illness that starts slowly and may occur at any age. Medical problems caused by alcoholism include mental changes, damage to the liver (cirrhosis), nervous system disorders, cancer, diabetes, gastritis, kidney disease, and heart problems.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR ALCOHOLISM
There are several natural supplements that may help with alcoholism. Consult with your healthcare provider to see which of the following supplements may be appropriate for you.*
*PLEASE NOTE: It is very important to make sure that supplements do not interfere with your medications or an existing health condition. First check with your doctor before trying any supplements.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Alcoholics are at a much greater risk for developing a deficiency of this B-complex vitamin because of reduced absorption. This can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, with symptoms including vision changes, loss of muscle coordination, loss of memory, and hallucinations.
Magnesium: People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol may have diets low in magnesium. Alcohol also impairs absorption of dietary magnesium.
Less Helpful: B-complex, vitamin C, chromium.
Glutamine: Alcohol is an intestinal irritant. The amino acid, L-glutamine, serves as a food for the cells lining the intestines (enterocytes), and also can help reduce intestinal damage.
Less Helpful: acetyl-L-carnitine, N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), omega-6 fatty acid (GLA), pantethine, phenylalanine, SAMe, taurine, tryptophan, tyrosine.
Milk thistle (silymarin): Research on this herb shows that it may be helpful for alcohol-related liver disease. Milk thistle can actually stimulate liver regeneration through the formation of new liver cells (hepatocytes).
St. John’s Wort: Animal research on this herb shows that it may reduce the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Less Helpful: kudzu, turmeric.
Treatment for alcoholism usually includes attending a support program, and possibly taking one or more medications. Exercise regularly. Some acupuncture treatments may reduce the craving for alcohol. Some supplements reduce the craving for alcohol, some facilitate withdrawal, and some protect the liver. Finally, have a healthy diet that includes plenty of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and other health-promoting foods, and limit intakes of sugar, caffeine, nicotine, and junk food.
Jellin, JM, editor. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2008.
John Pillepich. The Nutraceutical Reference Guide, 2005.
FOR ALCOHOLISM, CONSIDER THESE SUPPLEMENTS*
- A good multi: Daily Four, Age-Less Paks, Osteo Paks, or Wellness Paks
- B-50 Caps
- Brain Energy
- Brain Mood
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)
- Silymarin (milk thistle)
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