Nothing beats taking a multivitamin supplement daily to preserve your health under normal circumstances and regular stress. It is especially important if you’re going to be drinking on the weekends or while socializing after work during the week.
We’ve already covered the importance of replenishing water soluble vitaminsin the body with a good Vitamin B complex supplement, but that is for before and after a drink session.
A multivitamin supplement should be part of your daily routine whether or not you drink, but multivitamins are especially important if you like to imbibe on a regular basis.
Alcohol has a way of almost deliberately attacking every vitamin in the body, both through directly attacking the liver where many vitamins are stored and activated, or through absorption by compromising the lining of the entire gastrointestinal tract. These are some ways taking a daily multivitamin may help:
Vitamin A is a retinoid molecule in the retinyl group and is directly responsible for the retinal form in vision. It is a fat soluble vitamin also responsible for gene transcription, immune function, embryonic development, note metabolism, haematopoiesis, skin health and can act as an antioxidant.
A deficiency in Vitamin A is directly related to loss of vision and night blindness. Chronic alcohol abuse reduces vitamin A reserves in the liver.
Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant required by the body for normal growth and development as well as to clean the by-products of foods converted into energy in the body. As a water soluble vitamin, it must be replenished daily and is further eliminated by alcohol through the urine.
Insufficient blood levels of Vitamin C may result in scurvy, liver spots, inflammation of the gums, dry and scaly skin, nosebleeds, poor tooth enamel, anemia, pain of the joints and possible tooth loss and an inability to fight off infection. Moreover, smokers with low vitamin C levels in the blood are prone to lung-borne diseases.
Vitamin D is a group of fat soluble prohormones obtained through the skin from sun exposure and from food and supplements. It plays the important role of increasing calcium flow in the blood by promoting the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in foods from the intestines as well as reabsorption of calcium in the kidneys. These activities maintain healthy bones and teeth.
In a 2007 phone interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Frederick H. Weseman from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood Illinois stated that binge drinking and large amounts of alcohol led to a significant decrease in bone mineral density as well as bone density. Adding that alcoholics seriously damage their skeletons. In a study in rats, he added that pretreating them with large but safe doses of Vitamin D helped to prevent alcohol induced bone loss and significantly increased bone density in the shin and lower spine.
Deficiencies in vitamin D further include liver and kidney disorders, impaired bone mineralization, osteomalacia and contributes to osteoporosis.
Vitamin E refers primarily to the human bioavailable alpha-tocopherol and is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps protect the body from the reactive oxygen species when fat is oxidized in the body.
Alcohol compromises the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis with its inflammatory effects through oxidative stress. Vitamin E may reduce the damaging effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Vitamin K is a group of lipophilic, hydrophobic vitamins and needed for the chemical modification of many proteins, especially for blood coagulation and bone metabolism.
The healthy body produces adequate amounts of Vitamin K in the large intestine and through regular foods, but deficiencies can result from a damaged liver as well as intestines compromised of their ability to absorb the vitamin. Since alcohol is a natural blood thinner, vitamin K is needed to clot the blood and help prevent symptomsincluding anemia, nose bleeds, bleeding gums and heavy menstrual bleeding in women.
Given the damaging effects of alcohol on the body’s vitamin supply, why not just take a good multivitamin, every day! I’m not a doctor and don’t offer medical advice, but you should be doing this anyway.
Multivitamin references: Carolyn Berdanier. 1997. Advanced Nutrition Micronutrients. pp 22-39 – (14) Tortora, G.J., and Anagnostakos, N.P., eds. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. 5th ed. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1987. – Hamrick I, Counts SH. Vitamin and mineral supplements. Wellness and Prevention. December 2008:35(4);729-747. – Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. – Mason JB.Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 237. – Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2000. – National Institutes of Health. Archived from the original on 2007-09-10. – Vitamin D at Merch Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. Professional Edition. – On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: Vitamin K2 Revealed – BRIGELIUS-FLOHE, REGINA (1999). “Vitamin E: function and metabolism”. The FASEB Journal 13 (10): 1145. PMID 10385606. – Traber (1996). “Vitamin E in humans: demand and delivery”. Annual review of nutrition 16: 321–47 – The Alcohol Research Program, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL 60153, USA