So you like a drink every now and then. Who doesn’t? Well….lots of people don’t, but lots of people do.

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It is not a moral statement or a position of superiority to be a “drinker” or a “non-drinker”.

If you drink regularly – even only one drink a day – then you probably have a minor chronic deficiency in certain vitamins.

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One of the first vitamins that will be in decline are Thiamine, Vitamin B6 and Folate.

Your body processes alcohol with the help of its stored nutrients; when your liver runs out of the nutrients it needs for this job, it pulls additional nutrients from other areas through your bloodstream. Even in regular drinkers who are not alcoholics, the increased nutritional demands of alcohol processing can lead to significant deficiencies in essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid), vitamin B12 and the mineral, calcium.

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The presence of significant amounts of alcohol in your body can also directly destroy all members of the B vitamin family. In addition to B9 and B12, this family includes B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine). At the same time, the relatively high calorie content in alcohol (which ranks second only to the calorie content of various forms of fat) can easily lead to weight gain in non-alcoholics who drink regularly.

In alcoholics, damage to the liver, pancreas and stomach degrades the body’s normal ability to process essential dietary nutrients, and therefore increases the intensity of the deficiencies sometimes found in non-alcoholic regular drinkers. Problems grow even worse for long-term alcoholics who decrease their food intake and consciously or unconsciously start using increased alcohol intake to “replace” the missing nutrients in their diet. Eventually, this pattern of usage will lead to considerable weight loss and the onset of clinical malnutrition.

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Consumption of alcohol can also produce nutritional deficiencies that trigger emotional/body responses such as depression, fatigue, appetite loss and apathy or lethargy. In turn, in certain individuals, these responses can reinforce the desire to take another drink, and therefore can potentially contribute to the onset of alcoholism. Specific deficiencies related to this unfortunate cycle include deficiencies in vitamin C and the minerals calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, chromium, potassium and iron.

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Over time, alcohol-related organ damage, poor nutrient absorption and clinical malnutrition can have serious or fatal effects on the body of an alcoholic. According to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, heart and blood vessel-related examples of these effects include high blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, stroke and congestive heart failure. Liver-related effects include a form of liver scarring called cirrhosis and a form of liver inflammation called alcoholic hepatitis. Other potential effects include stomach ulcers, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), impotence and other forms of sexual dysfunction, nerve damage-related disorders, and heightened risks for liver cancer and cancer of the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine.

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Regular drinkers can potentially offset at least some of alcohol’s nutritionally harmful effects by eating a balanced diet, eating three times a day on a regular schedule, and supplementing with vitamins and/or minerals in accordance with a physician’s recommendations. Nutritionally deficient alcoholics typically need ongoing treatment under the close supervision of a doctor and a licensed nutritionist or dietician.

Alcohol-and-Health

JP Vitale is an excellent source of multivitamins and essential minerals. It has no impurities, is manufactured and sourced in North America to incredibly high standards and is tiny – so tiny that it can be taken without water if needed. This multivitamin is potent. So potent that you only need to take one a day.

Be healthy. Be moderate.

Here’s to good health!

You have a drink or three a day – should you take a multivitamin?

Dr. John Fernandes

B.Sc., M.Sc., M.D., LMCC, CCFP, FCPC Clinical Lecturer, University of Calgary I am a Physician with over a decade of experience in my own Private Clinic as well as a full admitting Physician to a Tertiary Care Hospital in Calgary. Married with two daughters that both want to be Physicians as well. Hobbies include skiing, golf, mountain biking and Karate.

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