If I had to name an affliction that affects the rich, poor, old and young, regardless of educational level or culture, it would be alcoholism. Despite there being public awareness around the substance that many of us use, there is a surprising lack of understanding on proper ways to treat it in the health care community. An example of this misunderstanding can be found in Alcoholics Anonymous, the forefront organization in place that helps to combat this substance. Although the 12 steps are very useful in giving people tools to cope with the addiction, most meetings still serve coffee and donuts and allow for ‘cigarette breaks’ during meetings. The difficulty with this, lies in the fact that many alcoholics are also hypoglycemic. It is very difficult, if not impossible to combat an addiction successfully if brain chemistry is not also addressed. Unfortunately, nicotine, caffeine and sugar addiction are what end up occurring in the absence of alcohol in those whom are abstaining due to their addiction. One of the founders of AA was a man named Bill Wilson and one of his doctors was a man named Abram Hoffer. One of the founders of Orthomolecular Medicine, Dr. Hoffer helped to treat him by administering high doses of Niacin or Vitamin B3 (which is actually named after Bill – the ‘B’ in B3). In episodes 4, 27, 29 and 39 of season 1 of the podcast, I covered nutrients like Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin B1 and l-Glutamine. These nutrients also help to adjust brain chemistry in an alcoholic brain back to normal when a low glycemic or low carb diet is also adopted. Although this list is not exhaustive as far as the treatment of alcohol addiction goes, it is an example of some of the interventions, which should be given more attention than they currently do. When combined with the 12 steps, and adequate supervised detox, these interventions make a big difference in the maintenance of sobriety long term.
Typical therapeutic doses of Vitamin B3 (niacinamide form) would be starting at 500mg 3 times per day after food. Doses of the other vitamins are covered in the previous episodes.
Tune in next episode when we’ll cover acne.
Be Well and Be Zen
Gaby., Addictions and substance abuse., Nutritional Medicine (2011)., Ch. 276., pp. 989-99, ISBN13: 978-0-9828850-0-0. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.
Larson, J. M., Sehnert, K. W., (1992), Alcoholism – The Biochemical Connection., Ballantine Books, NY., ISBN:0-449-90896-8.
Hoffer, A. (2005), Adventures in Psychiatry: The Scientific Memoirs of Dr. Abram Hoffer, Caledon, ON KOS Publishing.