Published: March 02, 2010 Last Updated: February 06, 2019
It can simply start out with enjoyable social drinking or just having a few drinks to relax and de-stress you when you're under pressure. Gradually, drinking alcohol may start turning into drinking for the sake of drinking. Often not even being aware of how subtle the shift happens.
Alcoholism is one of the world's largest problems and has many health-related disorders. It can shorten your lifespan, causing inflammation and scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver, loss of memory, widespread hemorrhaging, obesity, nausea, fatigue, aching joints to mention a few; and of course, an emotional rollercoaster.
Nutritional therapy for alcoholism
Nutritional therapy attacks alcoholism differently, looking to inadequate nutrition, that can damage metabolic pathways; and emotional mental stress, all being involved.
One of the first things to do is to help stop the alcoholic from wanting a drink. The amino acid glutamine is most effective when it comes to dampening down the mechanism in the brain that causes compulsions and cravings.
Many alcoholics suffer from extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Responding to this, their appetite center in their brain creates an urge to consume foods to raise their circulating sugar in the blood - an urge that, alcohol meets easily.
Initially, alcohol will increase the amount of sugar in the blood, but in the long run, it actually causes a drop in blood sugar levels . To compensate, the appetite center increases the desire for sugar, so the alcoholics drink more, causing their blood sugar to drop even lower. A vicious cycle can develop and the amino acid glutamine can break this cycle, by suppressing the brain's message centre that causes the sugar cravings in the first place.
Alcohol can increase levels of the amino acid leucine , which can contribute to hypoglycemia and a variety of mood disorders. Leucine allows the kidneys to spill niacin (Vit. B3) wastefully into the urine. This may lead to a tryptophan deficiency, which in turn can lead to serotonin deficiency. Serotonin works to relieve stress, anxiety and depression, aggression, unreasoning anger and sleep problems.
So how do you reduce excess leucine? Leucine is one of the three branch-chain amino acids and all three must share identical transport molecules to move across the intestinal wall. Raising the levels of just one of these amino acids will lead to a depletion in the other two by using up more of the transport molecules. So it would be very important to ensure that the other two amino levels are balanced up with leucine, to prevent transportation imbalances occurring.
Alcohol disrupts brain cell fluidity
Alcohol disrupts brain function by interfering with membrane fluidity of brain cells, which have receptors on them that are involved with various brain signals.
For example, receptors that convey pain messages are knocked out by alcohol and this accounts for the opiate-like feeling of elation that alcohol gives, and can also lead to an excess of an excitable neurotransmitter called noradrenaline; resulting in many people becoming noisy, agitated and aggressive when they drink.
Continued drinking will slowly cause these membranes surfaces to adapt to the effects of alcohol (becoming more rigid), tolerance develops, the alcoholic then finds themselves constantly increasing alcohol to make their brain cell walls more fluid; simply to reach the same state of euphoria, this is what makes it difficult for them to stop drinking.
This membrane rigidity can lead to depletion of other neurotransmitters such as adrenalin, which may result in depression, fatigue and general apathy to name but a few.
Natural treatment for alcoholism
The effects of alcoholism range throughout the body and treatment need to be multifactorial , restoring fluidity to membranes, supporting neurotransmitter function, regulating blood sugar and dealing with outside events that drive people to drink and the emotional rollercoaster; all of which need to be addressed.