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Alcoholism and Vitamin Deficiency



What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the term commonly attributed to those who abuse alcoholic beverages. In reference to its enormous importance in the health field, alcoholism was included already in 1980 among the abuse syndromes described in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” – currently in the fourth edition (DSM-IV); initially, this disorder was classified as “alcohol abuse and dependence” and only later was the wording corrected to “syndrome and alcohol (ethanol) dependence”.

In fact thealcoholism it is a pathological syndrome in all respects; it represents a set of symptoms and clinical signs generated by the systemic impairment of the organs which, following chronic ethyl alcohol intoxication, lose functionality and anatomical integrity.

In subjects suffering from alcoholism, the acute or chronic intake of ethanol is distinguished from the ordinary by its large quantities and compulsive attitude.

Damages of alcoholism

Among the short- and long-term effects and symptoms of alcoholism are:

Vitamin deficiencies

What are vitamin deficiencies?

Vitamin deficiency or vitamin deficiency is a state of malnutrition that involves an insufficient intake of vitamins. Whether it affects water-soluble or fat-soluble molecules, poor vitamin intake has negative repercussions on health. In truth, vitamin deficiencies are not all the same; they can be distinguished based on the number of vitamins involved – mono or multivitamin deficiencies – and the extent of the deficiency – hypovitaminosis or avitaminosis. It should be underlined that, to date, in developed countries, serious vitamin deficiencies are extremely rare and related to situations that are completely outside of normality; Hypovitaminosis typical of alcoholism, DCA, those suffering from serious digestive system pathologies and poorly self-sufficient elderly people are frequent. On the contrary, in third and fourth world countries, such malnutrition-undernutrition is much more widespread and linked to the insufficiency of economic or environmental resources – water, vegetation, animals, etc.

Alcoholism and Vitamin Deficiencies

Alcoholism: what vitamin deficiencies?

The alteration of the absorption potential and the tendency to episodes of diarrhea and vomiting can easily lead to stages of even serious malnutrition. The components that seem to be most affected by alcohol on a nutritional level are vitamins, in particular, the most frequent deficiencies concern: thiamine (vit B1), riboflavin (vit B2), niacin (vit PP) and folic acid (vit .Bc).

In alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies cause rather serious effects and symptoms; thiamine (as well as riboflavin, niacin and folic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that is absorbed in the intestine; considering that in alcoholics the absorption and metabolisation capacity are seriously compromised, in cases of serious abuse it is common for symptoms of advanced malnutrition to appear.

Alcoholism and thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency

The primary effects of avitaminosis from thiamine (due to alcoholic etiopathogenesis) are reflected in the CNS with a worsening of the efficiency of nerve conduction, and in other tissues by reducing the enzymatic metabolisation capacity of the alcohol itself.

Alcoholism and riboflavin or vitamin B2 deficiency

Also there riboflavin it is absorbed in a similar way and therefore its absorption is compromised by alcohol abuse; the worsening of vitamin B2 uptake mainly causes a non-selective alteration of the mucous membranes which manifests itself clearly in skin lesions around the nose and mouth.

Alcoholism and deficiency of niacin or vitamin PP

Intestinal malabsorption also appears to significantly involve the niacinwhose prolonged deficiency negatively affects the maintenance of skin integrity, further worsens intestinal and nervous function.

Alcoholism and folic acid deficiency

Regarding thefolic acid, a fundamental vitamin for the synthesis of nucleic acids, anemic forms of a megaloblastic nature, alteration of the mucous membranes and worsening of diarrhea frequently occur; in similar conditions, the pregnant woman (who requires a higher than normal intake of folic acid for gestation) has very high rates of suffering miscarriage or fetal malformations.


Alcoholism and vitamin deficiencies: conclusions

It is clear that alcoholism has a negative impact on the nutritional picture, determining directly (malabsorption) and indirectly (lack of appetite and anorexia induced by alcoholic psychosis) the lack of essential elements for maintaining a good state of health. The first symptoms that indicate the state of vitamin deficiency are dermatological, intestinal and nervous in nature; to these are added essential ac deficits. fats, amino acids and mineral salts. In the treatment of alcoholics, physiological nutritional restoration is fundamental for systemic improvement as the intestinal alteration is both the cause and effect of the vitamin deficiency.

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