Alcoholism is a major issue for much of the population. Over 15 million people in the U.S. who are older than 18 are living with alcohol use disorders. At the same time, around 623,000 adolescents are dealing with this health issue as well, but only 5.2% of youth actually receive treatment.
Many fail to grasp the impact of alcohol abuse, especially on bone health. The dangerous drinking habit can have major consequences. It can affect bone density, hormone production, osteoporosis risk, and more.
However, if people add more calcium to their diet, whether it is from foods or dietary supplements, they can take control of their deteriorating bone health. Here are the 9 benefits of calcium and calcium supplements for alcohol-dependent patients.
- Osteoporosis Risk
The problem with the social acceptance of alcohol consumption is that it causes people of all ages not to take alcohol abuse seriously. Many young people see it as a way to have fun and pass the time or use it as an acceptable coping mechanism. With constant intake, it becomes difficult to keep the body healthy.
Constant heavy drinking during young adulthood and adolescence can significantly jeopardize the quality of the bones and make them vulnerable to osteoporosis. These effects can’t be reversed, even if you stop drinking, stated the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
When you pair that with other risk factors like smoking, overeating, and a sedentary lifestyle, it can have serious repercussions on your overall health.
Osteoporosis is a health issue that affects the bones. It’s easy to recognize from the elevated bone fragility, poor bone mass, and vulnerability to fractures.
People can manage the risk by regulating their calcium and vitamin D intake. Studies show that using both of these nutrients is the key to optimizing bone health. Although this is often the most overlooked combination, it can have some amazing properties for the bones.
Taking calcium supplements alone can also have similar results. Calcium can effectively prevent fractures from osteoporosis, particularly in post-menopausal women. It is a practical strategy for avoiding this illness.
With a healthy calcium intake, people can reduce their risk of fractures from 25% to 70%. Even though the effects of the supplement can vary from one person to the other, the results are still beneficial.
This type of supplement or dietary intake could prevent osteoporotic fractures and help patients stay safe even if they consumed a lot of alcohol. For those suffering from heavy alcohol abuse, the best alcohol detox center in Texas can provide you with all the support you require. You will be in the hands of medical experts who will constantly monitor your state of health. And if you’re in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, we recommend checking out Stonegate Center!
- Bone Density
According to the National Institutes of Health, alcoholism exposes users to poor bone density and density loss. The more a person drinks, the more vulnerable they are to bone remodeling.
Researchers analyzed two specific outcomes, bone density and hip fracture. They also synthesized the data based on density loss, non-hip fracture, estrogen replacement, bone remodeling, and response. Based on the reports, alcohol abusers had a much higher risk of hip fracture and bone problems compared to abstainers.
In fact, those who drank over two drinks a day had significantly increased their risk of poor bone density. However, those who consumed 0.5 or 1 drink a day had a relatively lower risk of experiencing hip fractures.
This study shows that controlling alcohol consumption or abstaining can have a positive impact on bone density. Depending on the amount consumed, the benefits will vary.
If you or a family member is suffering from alcohol abuse, it’s vital that you get treatment. Maintaining your sobriety should be a top priority. Look for medical detox for alcohol near me. At the Inpatient Alcohol Rehab for Women in Texas, you can get all the help you need.
- Mineral and Vitamin Absorption Rate
It’s common for heavy drinkers to develop nutritional deficiencies, especially calcium deficiency.
People who consume 2 or 3 ounces of an alcoholic beverage a day will experience stomach problems. Their body becomes unable to absorb the calcium, which affects the pancreas and nutrient absorption rate.
Based on clinical reports, chronic drinking can reduce the intestinal calcium absorption rate by up to 80%. This will take a heavy toll on many functions in the human body.
Regular heavy drinking will hinder metabolism and impair endurance. It will affect the nutrient absorption rate and make it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin D and calcium. Both of these nutrients are crucial for proper bone development.
Drinking impairs calcium absorption via the intestine and pancreas, while vitamin D absorption suffers due to poor metabolism. When the system can’t get enough vitamin D, the nutrient can help the body absorb the calcium.
Not only is the drink devoid of any vitamins, minerals, and proteins, but it also impairs the absorption rate and nutrient use. As a result, people feel weak. Their bones become brittle and prone to fractures.
The problem with alcohol is that the body doesn’t convert it into glycogen. Compared to other nutrients, alcohol can’t be used as a source of energy and has little or no nutritional value. In fact, with one drink, you are ingesting around 100 to 150 empty calories.
These calories are only going to be treated as additional fat. The body will then convert the sugar from alcohol into fatty acids. By adding a calcium supplement, you can help the system get back on track.
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- Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Experts believe that administering proper daily calcium intake can reduce the withdrawal issues in alcohol-dependent individuals. The animal study showed that calcium, which is a predominant factor in controlling cravings, can also help alcohol addicts keep their cravings under control.
Recent reports evaluated the plasma calcium concentration in alcohol-dependent individuals. The alcohol reduces the concentration of vitamin D in their system and makes it difficult to cope with the cravings.
But adding calcium supplements can be a practical solution. Not only can calcium control the cravings, but it can also prevent a relapse. This is a huge necessity, particularly for those who are going through abstinence.
The effects of the calcium lie in the calcium channels in the brain. When ingested, alcohol has a direct impact on the central nervous system. It interferes with multiple channels and causes a range of different neurological complications and disorders. That includes alcoholism and withdrawal convulsions.
Calcium intake can help the body restore balance, at least to the calcium channels in the brain. This can help the system better-control alcohol-induced changes in the human body.
If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol-induced withdrawal, it’s time that they enroll in a medical facility. With a long-term alcoholism recovery program near Fort Worth, anyone can turn their lives in the right direction.
- Hormone Production
Based on studies, chronic alcohol drinking will impair the endocrine system. It creates an unstable internal environment for multiple organs. It affects the circadian mechanism, immune system, and nervous system.
With a poor endocrine system, an alcoholic will find it difficult to respond properly to stress. These massive hormonal imbalances can cause major consequences at a behavioral and physiological level. They can result in hormone deficiency, like the lack of serotonin or dopamine levels.
The problem with hormonal changes is that they could lead to a range of different side effects. They can cause psychological problems like obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior, or they can cause physical abnormalities. Like it is the case with thyroid problems, growth defects, poor reproductive system, etc.
Restoring the calcium balance in the system can help people keep their hormonal actions under control, experts explain. Since calcium intake plays a crucial role in stabilizing the endocrine system, it can work just as well for the hormones.
As long as people watch their intake, it’s possible to control the hormone levels with proper calcium doses.
If you don’t think you can handle the whole recovery process on your own, you can ask an alcohol addiction treatment center for men or for women for help. They will guide you on how to deal with the entire process.
- Bone Cell Health
Bones are supposed to heal on their own. Their healing capabilities lies in the bone’s natural skill to restore itself and the cells. But the more people drink, the harder it is for the osteoblast cells to rejuvenate.
Osteoblast cells are responsible for building bones. They help the bones stay healthy and recover after an injury.
However, constant alcohol abuse will drastically suppress the body’s osteoblastic differentiation. That means that the cells in the bone marrow, which are essential for the whole bone-building process, won’t be able to contribute to bone repair.
This makes the body prone to fractures, published the Clinical and Experimental Research Journal on Alcoholism.
According to the NIH, adding calcium to your diet can help the nerves, muscles, and cells work properly. Since the body needs calcium for healthy bone development, it also needs it to rejuvenate quicker.
The fact is, the body can’t make the calcium on its own. Instead, it needs a push in the right direction. So, you can either ingest more calcium from food or add calcium supplements to your diet.
But, do have in mind that the majority of people absorb just 15% to 20% of calcium from the foods they eat. The rest often comes from supplements. Whatever you decide to take, it will contribute the bones and help them heal faster.
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The moment the alcohol gets absorbed into the system and reaches the small intestine, it starts to interact with the cells. The excessive drinking obstructs the water balance in the muscle cells.
In other words, it alters the body’s ability to create adenosine triphosphate (the source of energy for the muscles). When the alcohol becomes oxidized, it affects the coenzymes in the human body. Thus, resulting in a lack of endurance and energy.
Based on clinical studies, calcium can help the physiological pathways in the body to increase cellular energy. It can restore energy balance and help get the system back on track. When paired with vitamin D, these nutrients can have a positive influence on the entire system.
- Fall Risk
Falling is a serious problem for alcohol-dependent patients. Not only can it expose people to dangerous situations, but it could also lead to life-threatening complications. When someone drinks too much, the alcohol will impair their thinking, reaction, coordination, and judgment.
They won’t be able to make rational decisions. Instead, they will be vulnerable to trips and falls, accidents, and traffic crashes. It will be impossible for them to focus when under the influence. This predisposes them to have trouble staying balanced and standing straight.
As a result, they become vulnerable to having weaker bones. It’s true that with age, people have higher odds of falling or fracturing their bones, but alcohol abuse significantly increases these rates. It takes a toll on movement, coordination, and balance.
For the older generation, alcohol abuse can put them in dangerous situations. That’s where calcium can help. Clinical trials show that adding calcium and vitamin D supplements can prevent falls or fall-related health problems, particularly in older people.
Another study also supported the same results. It seems that people who have received calcium and vitamin D supplements have managed to reduce their risk of falls. Although more research is necessary to confirm this claim, it seems that this could be a handy strategy for avoiding bone fractures from falls.
- Memory and Retention
It is normal for some people to experience a blackout after a night of heavy drinking. Many of them won’t even remember what happened that night.
These memory issues can range from small to severe. Some drinkers will forget minor details, while others will completely forget the entire experience. This is a typical outcome after more than five drinks. The reason for that is relatively simple.
Alcohol impairs short-term memory. It reduces the nerves’ capability to communicate with one another, which affects the hippocampus. When the hippocampus can’t function normally, it makes it incredibly difficult for people to maintain their memories.
Calcium can help.
One animal study revealed there is a connection between calcium levels and cognitive abilities. Calcium supplements have proved effective in helping with age-induced memory loss. So, the same effects could be achieved from alcohol-induced memory problems.
Experts believe that balancing out the calcium levels in the brain can promote healthy hippocampus function. It can benefit the central nervous system and help restore memory and retention.
Another similar research also supported the same results. It seems that calcium plays a key role in the central nervous system. It’s just as important for memory and learning as it is for teeth and bone health.
Although the research doesn’t necessarily study memory impairment from alcohol abuse, these results could still be beneficial for boosting cognitive abilities in individuals who recently stopped drinking.
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
Based on reports from NIH, the typical calcium recommended dose is 1,000mg a day. This is a regular dietary allowance for those between the ages of 19 to 50. For pregnant women at the same age, the ideal dose is also 1,000mg a day.
When bone density reduces, and the bone breaks down quicker than it can rejuvenate, doctors may recommend 1,200mg calcium a day. It is often suggested that individuals over the age of 51.
For the younger population, the recommended dietary intake is a little bit different. Individuals between 9 to 18 years of age can take 1,300mg a day. This is to promote healthy bone growth and body development.
But, do have in mind that the dose usually varies between age, health state, and medications. Since calcium supplements may interact with prescription medicine (blood pressure meds, antibiotics, and bisphosphonates), it’s important that you consult with a doctor first.
Do a calcium test to measure the levels in your blood. That way, you ensure that your body will stay healthy. At the best Alcohol Detox Center in Texas, you can get any advice you might need.
Constant alcohol abuse can cause a range of different health complications, but it will also affect the bones, particularly in younger people. With time, their bone health will gradually subside and make it difficult to keep the bones strong.
However, with long-term drinking habits, health complications can get worse. Heavy alcohol abuse can make people vulnerable to osteoporosis. It can impair their memory, hormone production, energy, and more.
By implementing a healthy dose of calcium, people can improve their bone formation and ensure healthy body growth. These effects can have numerous benefits for alcohol-dependent patients. It can help them overcome their withdrawal issues and set them on a course for a healthy recovery.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction & pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center to the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.