Many experts believe that prescribing vitamin B compound strong tablets to alcoholics is not the best form of treatment. Since the Care Excellence and National Institutes of Health do not recommend the use of vitamin B supplements for alcohol problems, does that mean that GPs should avoid prescribing them?
Despite the ongoing debate about vitamin B tablets, it seems that these products have a lot to offer to those struggling with alcoholism. This is a detailed guideline on the effects of vitamin B in managing alcohol abuse.
The Role of Vitamin B Deficiency in Alcoholism
Vitamin B plays an important role in the human body. It benefits metabolic processes and helps the body create its own energy. This allows the system to create molecules in the cells and function properly.
According to medical experts, chronic alcoholics are often deficient in one or multiple vitamins. They often lack vitamin B, A, and folate. But, one of the biggest problems for this condition is the deficiency in vitamin B.
These deficiencies can affect the:
- Cardiovascular system
- Nervous system
- Skin health
- Bone marrow
- Gastrointestinal system
The impact and severity of the deficiency will vary, published the Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network. That’s why chronic drinkers can experience a range of different health complications that are a direct result of heavy drinking.
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Chronic Drinkers and Vitamin B Deficiency
Heavy drinkers are at high risk of developing Vitamin B deficiency, stated the National Institutes of Health. Alcohol is a diuretic; it will deplete the body of any nutrients and vitamins that are present in the system. That includes vitamin B.
Even though the major cause for the deficiency is the poor food intake, other mechanisms can interfere with vitamin B intake. Alcohol impairs the digestive, metabolism, storage, and absorption system. It affects cell health and the central nervous system.
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.
Here is a detailed list of how vitamin deficiency can cause a range of different complications depending on the type of vitamin B that the body lacks.
The body needs a proper balance of vitamin B. When there is a deficiency in either of these vitamins, that deficiency will manifest into a health complication. As a result, patients who are struggling with this kind of addiction should manage their vitamin B intake.
Take B1 deficiency, for example. When an alcoholic has B1 deficiency, they have a high chance of experiencing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. In individuals with B6 deficiency, they are prone to inflammation, anemia, or convulsion. Therefore, by managing the vitamin B balance, patients can have a much easier time overcoming their alcohol addiction.
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How Can B Vitamins Help with Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol withdrawal is a complicated process that needs constant medical attention. People who want to recover often rely on medications or supplements to manage the symptoms.
Healthcare for alcohol withdrawal mainly focuses on supplementing the body with thiamine, not other B vitamins. However, all the strong B vitamins can be an effective management strategy when coping with alcoholism, like it is the case with Vitamin B compound tablets.
These tablets have been used over the years as a thiamine supplement for individuals with high alcohol dependency. They can help avoid Wernicke’s encephalopathy. Only a small portion of these substances is said to reduce alcohol dependence.
Vitamin B compound strong tablets are licensed products for subclinical or clinical B deficiency, explain the NHS. But there is more to vitamin B supplements than it meets the eye. Here are the various ways vitamin B can help with alcohol abuse.
1. Vitamin B Reduces the Severity of Alcohol Withdrawal and Abuse
Most people who are heavy drinkers have a vitamin B deficiency because of malnutrition; the dangerous habit is slowly destroying their bodies. In their words, the system has a difficult time absorbing the nutrients it can get. Adding vitamin B supplements can help.
Benfotiamine (the lab-created version of vitamin B1) has a much higher bioavailability than B1. It’s also scientifically proven to reduce psychiatric symptoms and alcohol intake in patients with severe alcoholism.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Benfotiamine is an effective supplementation strategy that can discourage alcohol abuse in women. Plus, it’s a well-tolerated substance that could be used as an effective option for treating alcoholism.
Based on a different controlled trial, Benfotiamine also proved effective in reducing psychiatric distress in males with a lifetime alcohol use disorder. Reports show it can facilitate the patient’s recovery and help speed up the rehabilitation process.
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2. Vitamin B Protects the Blood Vessels
The genetic matter is responsible for producing raw materials and amino acids. This is the biochemical pathway of the human system. When something interferes with that pathway, it starts to control the genetic expression. These effects take a toll on the blood vessels and blood pressure.
Alcoholism results in folate, vitamin B12, and B6 deficiency. These deficiencies interfere with the pathway and impair the entire system.
According to research, B12 and folate supplementation could protect the system from poor homocysteine levels and alcohol-induced liver damage. In other words, it can stabilize the biochemical pathway in the human body.
A different study also supported similar results. Scientists evaluated 168 different patients who asked for a detox treatment. Those who received vitamin B2 supplements together with folate managed to reduce the impact of alcohol withdrawal. The supplements made the withdrawal more bearable.
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3. Vitamin B Protects the Liver from Damage
Alcohol-induced liver damage is a typical problem for chronic drinkers. The liver must work properly if patients want to live a healthy life. Deficiency in B12, B9, and B6 vitamins can create serious problems for liver functions. It can damage the organ and disrupt the methionine metabolism.
Reports show that those who have alcoholic liver disease are prone to folate, B12, B6, and B1 deficiency. But, mixing B complex with vitamin E could prove efficient in preventing damage caused by alcoholic liver disease.
Plus, it can calm the alcohol-induced oxidative stress, published the National Library of Medicine. These are all effective strategies in managing alcohol dependence.
4. Vitamin B Could Help Manage Peripheral Neuropathy
Alcohol-induced peripheral neuropathy is a serious issue for chronic drinkers. The health problem can appear as a result of alcohol-induced oxidative stress and toxicity. Since heavy drinking can damage the nerves, there is a high possibility that people will experience peripheral neuropathy. B12 and folate deficiency could only aggravate the situation, research shows.
B complex supplements could improve nerve function and support nerve regeneration, which, in turn, can benefit the peripheral neuropathy.
In one case study, researchers evaluated a 33-year-old woman suffering from alcohol abuse. Because of her drinking, she also experienced macrocytic anemia and progressive neuropathy. By adding folic acid (vitamin B9) to her diet, she managed to gradually resolve her anemia and neuropathy.
Another randomized trial also published similar results. Vitamin B complex (B12, B6, B2, and B1) used alone or together with folic acid drastically improved the sensory and pain function in patients with alcohol-induced polyneuropathy. The results were evident just 12 weeks after treatment.
Furthermore, B1 with other B vitamins proved effective in managing the symptoms of polyneuropathy in 8 weeks. These effects show that supplements such as these can be fast-acting products for managing alcohol abuse.
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5. Vitamin B Can Stabilize Mood Swings and Cognition
Heavy drinking is known to damage the brain and cognitive function. The more people drink, the stronger the impact on their emotional health. As a result, many experience drastic mood swings and impaired cognition. When you pair that with vitamin B deficiency, it can be a serious problem for the central nervous system.
Vitamin B interacts with multiple activities in the system. It can reduce brain inflammation, affect mood, immunity, cell membranes, and more. By avoiding that deficiency, people can take better control of their mental health.
Records show that when a person experiences a B12 or B6 deficiency, they become vulnerable to anxiety and depression. Managing that deficiency can help get the mental health back on track.
A different study shows that if people regulate their B1 deficiency, they could protect their system from alcohol-induced dementia, brain damage, amnesia, or psychosis connected with alcohol withdrawal. In the long run, these effects can prove effective in stabilizing mood swings and cognition.
Precautions With B Vitamins in Alcoholism
Vitamin B supplements are not supposed to be used in primary care. They are strong substances that individuals with alcohol dependence must take based on the guidelines provided. If you take more than the recommended dosage, you can experience stomach problems, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, nausea, and skin irritations.
Although vitamin B supplements don’t pose a serious health risk, it’s important that people pay attention to the dosage. If you take more B6, you will be vulnerable to neuropathy or severe toxicity. Another important thing to note is that B12 can interact with certain medications, like metformin or inhibitors, for example.
Always check in with your doctor before you decide to add any vitamins to your diet. It’s necessary for patients to understand the pros and cons of adding vitamin B to their diet when treating alcohol abuse. Here is a list of some of the positive and negative effects people can expect.
- Can reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Protects the blood vessels
- Shields the liver from alcohol-induced damage
- Might manage peripheral neuropathy
- Stabilizes mood swings and cognition
- Can interact with certain medications
- Strict dosage guidelines
- Can be taken under the direct supervision
It’s normal for chronic drinkers to experience nutrient deficiencies. That’s what makes alcohol withdrawal hard to deal with. But, by adding vitamin B supplements, people might cope better with these withdrawal issues.
Vitamin B can have numerous benefits for the human body. It can be a practical solution for managing the nervous system and keeping the brain healthy. Although more research is necessary to study the full extent of adding vitamin B to any diet, it could prove effective in protecting the body from alcohol-induced damage.
In fact, this vitamin can be an essential tool in avoiding heavy drinking. It can help patients move one step closer to a healthy recovery. But, it’s still important that you consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet, no matter how beneficial they might be.