What Essential Nutrients Do You Lose Drinking Alcohol?

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You have probably heard that excessive drinking has a damaging effect on the liver, and this is certainly true. But did you know this leads directly to damaging effects on the rest of your body as well?

How Alcohol Damages Your Body

Your body recognizes alcohol as a toxin and employs the liver to process, detoxify, and eliminate it. The liver uses stored nutrients to do its job. After it uses up all the nutrients it has stored, the liver has to pull additional nutrients through the bloodstream from other areas of the body.  

In other words, the more you drink, the more nutrients your liver needs to process the alcohol – and the harder it is for the rest of your body to get the essential nutrients it needs to work efficiently and keep you healthy. Over time, the loss of those nutrients creates deficiencies that can lead to discomfort, diseases, and serious damage.

So no, drinking doesn’t “just” affect the liver.  It affects your whole body.  Take a look below at a few of the essential nutrients you lose by drinking alcohol.  

You Lose B Vitamins by Drinking

What Role Do B Vitamins Play in Your Body

The B vitamins help in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose and the breakdown of fats and protein. They also help in the functioning of red blood cells, the maintenance of muscle tone in the digestive tract, and the promotion of a healthy nervous system.

The Effects of Alcohol & Drinking on B Vitamins

Alcohol reduces your body’s absorption of the B vitamins and impedes their conversion to their active forms. Alcohol also reduces your body’s ability to regenerate glutathione, which the liver needs to detoxify alcohol.

The Effects of Vitamin B Deficiency on Your Body

  • A B1 deficiency affects the nervous system and the heart. Chronic alcoholism can result in a serious thiamine deficiency called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, a form of psychosis that includes memory loss and brain shrinkage.
  • A B2 deficiency hampers the metabolism and can cause dizziness, loss of sleep, poor digestion, anemia, and slowed mental responses.
  • A B6 deficiency can lead to anemia, depression, and cognitive dysfunction.
  • Alcohol-induced B9 deficiency may be related to liver damage and colon and breast cancers.
  • A B3 deficiency causes anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

You Lose Vitamin C By Drinking

The Role Vitamin C Plays in Your Body

Vitamin C is essential for the formation, growth, and repair of skin, bone, and connective tissue. It boosts the immune system, lowers hypertension, and protects cells against damage by free radicals. Vitamin C also aids in collagen synthesis, which helps make blood vessels and muscles strong. Additionally, Vitamin C helps reduce the risk of stroke, and aids in the prevention of osteoarthritis and eye and gum deterioration.

The Effects of Drinking on Vitamin C in Your Body

Alcohol depletes Vitamin C in the body’s tissues. The body doesn’t make Vitamin C on its own.  Excessive drinking both thwarts your body’s ability to absorb the Vitamin C you get from your food and then zaps the little you do manage to absorb.

Effects of a Vitamin C Deficiency on Your Body

  • A continuing Vitamin C deficiency can cause chronic depression and fatigue
  • Severe deficiency leads to scurvy, which causes bruising, gum and dental problems, dry hair and skin, and anemia.
  • Scurvy is rare but often associated with chronic alcoholics, due to a severely unbalanced diet.

Alcohol Depletes Your Body of Vitamin D

The Role Vitamin D Plays in Your Body

Vitamin D helps calcium build strong bones and aids in muscle function. It also helps boost the immune system and helps prevent colon, prostate and breast cancers.

The Effects of Drinking on Vitamin D Absorption

Excessive drinking hampers the body’s ability to absorb calcium and Vitamin D. It also affects the liver’s ability to aid in calcium absorption.

The Effects of Low Levels of Vitamin D in Your Body

  • Severely low levels of Vitamin D can lead to a disease called osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
  • A Vitamin D deficiency may result in soft, brittle bones, bone pain, and muscle pain and weakness.
  • Osteoporosis, which is associated with reduced bone density, leads to an increased risk of falls and bone fractures.
  • Heavy drinkers are more likely to suffer frequent fractures, which may also heal slowly due to malnutrition.

Stop Drinking Alcohol Today to Get Healthy

Sometimes understanding the damage alcohol is doing to your body is enough to lead you to make healthier choices. But when it’s not, this may be a sign of addiction to alcohol.

If you’re finding it difficult to stop drinking even though you know the harmful effects it’s having on your health, reach out for help. There are numerous resources available that help people recover from alcohol addiction every day. You don’t have to do it alone. Give us a call at (858) 784-7867.