by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© June 2019, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is solely the opinion of the author and is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Table Of Contents
A Worldwide Epidemic
The Importance Of Nutrition
The Popularity Of Alcohol
A Fuel Source
Definition. Alcohol is a colorless, flammable liquid. Technically, it is a chemical compound that always contains one or more a hydroxyl molecules (OH-) linked to a carbon atom.
Most alcohol is made by yeast organisms that convert sugar molecules into alcohol by the process of fermentation.
Alcohol is an important industrial chemical used as a solvent, a germ killer, a fuel for vehicles, and a base from which many other chemicals are made.
A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM
Alcohol is also a potent and addictive drug. Addiction to it is called alcoholism, an ancient and worldwide problem. Today it affects millions of people and touches the lives of most of earth’s people.
IMPORTANCE OF NUTRITION
deficiencies and toxic metal excess play a much greater role in alcohol use and
alcohol addiction than medical and psychological personnel acknowledge. This is one of the main themes of this article.
THE POPULARITY OF ALCOHOL
The immense popularity of alcohol as a beverage and drug for many people is due to a combination of interesting facts about alcohol:
- It is very easy and inexpensive to make. In fact, it occurs naturally if one just leaves apple juice, grape juice, cactus juice or other sugary liquids at room temperature for a few days. It is easy to make from all grains as well as from most fruit juices. One need not be a master chemist to make it.
- It will supply energy to the body, similar to eating sugar. In other words, it can be used as a food item. This is explained below.
- It relaxes people and temporarily helps overcome social anxieties. Many people like this interesting drug effect of alcohol.
- It also reduces people’s social, sexual and other inhibitions. Many people like this drug effect, as well.
- It is a powerful germ killer. For this reason, many societies throughout history have praised its use. In many nations, even today, one cannot drink the well or tap water because it is contaminated with harmful germs. Alcohol has been used for centuries as a substitute for drinking water, even though it causes dehydration and other problems.
- Alcohol kills you slowly. As a result, one can drink it for years and it can seem as though it is a harmless drug. All the time, however, one’s addiction to it can deepen as the body becomes more and more out of balance.
AN ENERGY SOURCE
Alcohol is a high-energy fuel. A fuel is any molecule that stores energy in a form that if it is lit on fire or if it is exposed to certain enzymes in the body, it releases a lot of calories or heat energy.
For example, one can run an automobile engine on alcohol (ethanol). In fact, with a little adjustment, most cars can run on 100% alcohol.
Most gasoline today has about 10% alcohol added to it because it burns cleaner than pure petroleum-derived gasoline and because it is a good source of energy.
Alcohol can also serve as ‘fuel’ for the human body. This is one reason people like alcohol. However, it is not a recommended ‘fuel’ food because it damages the liver, the brain and other organs. It also depletes many nutrients.
ACUTE TOXIC EFFECTS
Energizing effect. Drinking a small amount of alcohol can give a person instant energy, much like eating sugar.
Relaxation. Alcohol relaxes the nervous system and the muscles.
Happy hour. This is the name given to enjoying an alcoholic drink or two after a day’s or week’s work. It is primarily due to the combination of the two effects above.
Sedative action. In larger amounts, acute alcohol poisoning has a powerful depressive effect on the nervous system. Breathing slows, the heart rate slows and the body can go into a coma and die.
Reducing inhibitions. Acute alcohol poisoning reduces inhibitions, which some people like. For example, many people talk more when under the influence of alcohol.
Many also talk loudly, laugh a lot, and talk somewhat wildly or in silly or stupid ways. For example, they may reveal secrets that they would otherwise not reveal.
Dating and seduction. Alcohol also lessens sexual inhibitions in both men and women. It is a common drug used on dates by both men and women for the purpose of seduction.
Women are more affected by alcohol than men! This means that if a man and a woman both drink the same amount of alcohol, it will affect the woman more than the man. The man will remain more in control of his body than the woman. For this reason, in past generations and today, smart women avoid alcohol because it definitely endangers their virtue and their safety.
Violence. Alcohol reduces inhibitions against violence. This occurs, in part, due to zinc depletion. Zinc is associated with the higher emotions such as love and compassion. Depletion depresses the cortex or new brain and allows the old brain or emotional brain to take precedence. This brain is associated with simple emotions such as sexual desire and the use of physical force to get what one wants.
Iron toxicity. Beer often contains a lot of iron because it is brewed in iron pots. Iron toxicity is associated with anger and rage. A common occurrence is that a person goes into a bar and drinks a few beers. The alcohol depletes zinc and raises the person’s iron level. The result is bar fights or brawls.
Rape and incest. The combination of relaxing sexual inhibitions and increasing violence causes alcohol to be a major cause of rape and incest. This is unfortunately common in families where the father drinks alcohol.
Impaired judgment and slower reaction time. This is a very important consequence of ingesting even a small quantity of alcohol. It is the reason that acute alcohol poisoning causes up to 50% of automobile accidents in most nations. Combining alcohol and other drugs is even worse.
Poor coordination, trouble walking, seizures, injuries and stupor. These are other nervous system effects of alcohol.
Vomiting and aspiration pneumonia. These are effects on the stomach and digestive system.
Low blood sugar. Alcohol has similar effects as eating sugar and can upset the blood sugar level.
LONG-TERM OR CHRONIC PHYSICAL EFFECTS
These are all due to nutrient depletion and toxic metal accumulation.
Dehydration. Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body. This is a very important and sometimes subtle toxic effect of alcohol that causes many symptoms. It is particularly important if one drinks alcohol instead of drinking water. We call eating sugar, ingesting caffeine and drinking alcohol the “dehydration diet”. For details, read Hydration.
Brain damage. This includes a shrinking brain, slurred speech, behavior changes, addiction, tremors, blackouts, hallucinations and lack of coordination.
Liver damage. This includes cirrhosis and death. Some of the liver damage is due to powerful toxic chemicals in some fermented foods and beverages called aldehydes. They are a major class of liver toxins in the world today. For details, read Aldehydes.
Other effects. These include pancreatitis, muscle cramps, digestive problems, diabetes, numbness and tingling, heart damage, lung damage, cancer, stomach distress, diarrhea, infertility, birth defects, sexual dysfunction, and thinning bones (osteoporosis).
NUTRIENT DEPLETION DUE TO ALCOHOL
There is plenty of research on the nutritional consequences of ingesting alcohol. Any alcohol use at all depletes calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, chromium, copper, iron and some B-complex vitamins.
Today most people’s bodies are already very deficient in calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Many people are also deficient in B-complex vitamins. Alcohol use just makes these serious problems much worse.
find that meeting our nutritional needs is already very difficult today due to
a mineral-depleted food supply and poor quality diets of refined food. Alcohol use is another factor that
worsens the overall nutrition of many people.
A vicious cycle. The result of these deficiencies is that the body’s energy system becomes crippled and lethargy develops. This can cause a craving for alcohol as the fuel of choice, since it uses a different metabolic pathway to produce energy in the body. Once one begins drinking alcohol the nutrient deficiencies worsen, and this further increases the cravings for alcohol or sugar.
A number of articles on this website discuss the abomination of modern mankind’s refined food diets. Here we will only say that modern diets make it more difficult to overcome alcohol addiction.
Whenever one becomes deficient in a vital minerals such as zinc and chromium, toxic metals replace the vital minerals. This is what occurs with every person who drinks a lot of alcohol.
who drink alcohol substitute it for food, which just worsens the problem of
nutritional deficiencies and toxic metal accumulation. Toxic metals contribute to or cause irritability, depression,
fatigue, mood swings and other problems associated with alcohol use.
In particular, many alcoholics develop copper and cadmium toxicity as a result of zinc deficiency. This can result in many serious conditions. Many alcoholics also smoke. Cigarettes not only further deplete nutrients. They contain cadmium, arsenic and other anti-nutrients that replace zinc in the body, worsening nutritional depletion and contributing to other illnesses.
THE ADRENAL/THYROID/FATIGUE CONNECTION
all alcoholics, as well as those with other addictions, are actually
tired. They use drugs to make life
more bearable. Drugs including
alcohol provide a lift for a while, but leave a person feeling worse when they
wear off. The desire for another
“hit” then becomes even stronger.
Recovery involves feeling the despair of having very low energy and taking the time to rest and relax, rather than just keeping going at all cost. This is very difficult for many people. Another article on this website entitled, Addiction discussed the theory of addictions and many other aspects of addiction.
FAST OXIDATION AND ALCOHOLISM
Acetates. An addition physiological mechanism comes into play with alcohol. Dr. Paul Eck found that people with a certain metabolic pattern called fast oxidation have two qualities that can cause a craving for alcohol:
1. People with a fast oxidation rate burn up a lot of calories. A crude analogy is that their engine is idling too fast most of the day, burning up a lot of fuel. As a result, they must replenish their supply of energy.
2. They tend to have a biochemical defect in their Krebs or carboxylic acid cycle caused by nutrient deficiencies and/or toxic metal excess. As a result, they need more acetyl coenzyme A.
For these people, using alcohol as a fuel works very well because the liver easily converts alcohol into acetates that are easily converted in the cell nuclei into coenzyme A.
The only other foods that provide acetates are fats and oils. If fast oxidizers do not eat enough fats and oils – a fairly common situation – they will have strong cravings for sugar and some will crave alcohol to supply acetates. An interesting medical article is at:
Calming for fast oxidizers. Fast oxidizers use alcohol to calm themselves down.
ALCOHOLISM IN SLOW OXIDIZERS
These people often have a chronic low blood sugar. They may enjoy using alcohol to give them a lift. Alcohol can provide an easily-metabolized alternative fuel for their bodies.
CANDIDA ALBICANS INFECTION
all have some degree of infection in the intestines with Candida Albicans,
a common yeast organism. The infection may not produce any recognizable
symptoms, so it is often a hidden condition. Read about it by clicking on the link above.
A healthy body resists yeast overgrowth. However, if one eats sugar, excessive carbohydrates in the diet or alcohol, the yeast organisms survive and grow. Nutritional imbalances involving copper also impair the body’s natural ability to recognize and kill candida and other yeasts in the intestines.
Candida albicans overgrowth is a key to understanding alcoholism. The yeast itself produces a small quantity of alcohol as part of its metabolic processing of sugar. It is the same process that is used to make wine, beer and other fermented beverages.
However, for the alcoholic, extra alcohol production spells loads of trouble. It helps perpetuate strong cravings. It also produces chemicals that are highly toxic to the body, including alcohol and acetaldehyde. These further impair liver activity and further slow one’s healing process.
People with candida overgrowth are slightly inebriated all the time. They may stop drinking, but their internal alcohol production continues, especially if they eat a diet with any sugars in it, including fruit. Too much starch and other complex carbohydrates in the diet also predisposes one to yeast problems.
Thus, even if one does not drink, a person often continues to experience some of the effects of alcohol intoxication including fatigue, irritability and alcohol and sugar cravings. This can seriously interfere with recovery efforts.
Also, anyone with candida albicans overgrowth who temporarily stops eating sugar or carbohydrates can experience symptoms of alcoholic withdrawal, including strong cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, or alcohol. This can be extremely confusing until one recognizes the connection between diet, alcoholism and the overgrowth of candida and other yeasts in the body. Much more could be said about this connection, but I have covered the essential points.
HYPOGLYCEMIA AND ALCOHOL
The body should regulate the blood sugar level with a variety of mechanisms such as cortisol secretion by the adrenal glands, insulin secretion by the pancreas, and other mechanisms. However, nutrient deficiencies and toxic metal excess upset proper blood sugar regulation in up to 75% of people today.
As a result, most people today experience what medical personnel call hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
Their real problem, however, is not low sugar in the blood. It is low glucose in the brain. Symptoms of low brain glucose can be severe, including fatigue, mental confusion, fainting, memory loss, shaking or tremors and bizarre behavior.
To avoid hypoglycemia or brain starvation for fuel, many people crave sugary foods, carbohydrates such as bread, rice or potatoes, and some crave alcohol.
Hypoglycemia is one of the most common biochemical imbalances associated with alcoholism. This is often also true for other addictions as well.
Blood sugar testing. Over 70% of Americans have abnormal
glucose tolerance tests. However,
among alcoholics the percentage is between 85-95%. Dr. Larson notes in her excellent book about alcoholism that
many doctors still do not want to bother with a five or six-hour glucose
tolerance test to detect hypoglycemia.
Also, some doctors do not interpret the test correctly, thus missing the problem. Dr. Robert Atkins, MD, former director of the Atkins Center in New York City, found that 75% of his patients had abnormal glucose tolerance tests, especially if insulin is measured along with glucose. He found that for accurate results, one must measure insulin along with glucose.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia. Among the common symptoms are:
1. Irritability before meals that improves upon eating.
2. Extreme hunger that can come on fast.
3. Inability to skip meals or eat late.
4. Cravings for sugars, starches or alcohol.
5. Nervousness, irritability, exhaustion, dizziness, tremors, faintness, cold sweats, headaches, forgetfulness, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, and heart palpitations. These generally occur several hours after eating, or soon after eating a sugary snack.
Hypoglycemia in fast and slow oxidizers. The cause for hypoglycemia are different in fast and slow oxidizers. One can also have a combination of the two. Here is a brief summary of the causes:
Fast oxidizer or reactive hypoglycemia. The body must have fat with every meal to keep the blood sugar stable. Fat contains more calories and has a stabilizing, calming effect on those in fast oxidation.
Meanwhile, eating sugars, fruit,
starches or other carbohydrates or alcohol raises the blood sugar level. In response, the pancreas begins to
secrete insulin to lower the blood sugar.
Normally, this should return the blood sugar level to its original
However, in people with hypoglycemia, the pancreas overreacts and within several hours the blood sugar level declines too much. This can cause weakness, confusion, depression, irritability and intense cravings as the brain begins to starve for fuel.
At this point, the adrenal glands often kick in to raise the sugar level. The adrenalin reaction can cause extreme anxiety, nervousness, cold sweats and other symptoms. Drinking more alcohol or eating more sugar can alleviate some of the symptoms and becomes very attractive.
As this cycle continues over time, the pancreas and the adrenals become exhausted, which only makes the problem worse. Persistent fatigue and depression may set in. Even if one stops drinking, the cravings, irritability and fatigue continue.
Hypoglycemia in slow oxidizers. These people tend to have a low blood sugar level at all times due to weak adrenal and weak thyroid glands. They can crave sugars and even alcohol because having some raises the blood sugar, albeit temporarily, and makes them feel better. However, the effect can wear off in a few hours, and the cravings return.
Deficiencies of zinc, manganese, chromium, selenium, iodine and perhaps other vital minerals can also contribute to hypoglycemia. These minerals are needed for proper sugar metabolism and alcohol metabolism.
All alcoholics tend toward hypoglycemia to
some degree. While this is a
general statement, it is usually true.
It means most have difficulty regulating their blood sugar level. When it drops too low, it causes strong
cravings for sugar – and alcohol.
Alcohol can serve as a way to regulate the glucose level in the blood, although it is an unhealthy method. This is another fact not to be overlooked when one is to conquer an alcoholic habit or even just an alcoholic tendency.
Diet is important to overcome low blood sugar. The typical diets eaten by most people just do not provide enough nutrients today. This includes fast foods, most restaurant fare and even a lot of frozen meals or microwave meals. Refined grains such as white flour, white rice and white sugar as well should be totally avoided.
A proper diet is a key to overcoming and compensating for hypoglycemia. Everyone needs about 70% of the diet as cooked vegetables, in my experience. Everyone should also avoid all fruit, all fruit juices and all other sweets.
oxidizers need about two tablespoons of added fat or oil (besides that which is
in their food) with every meal, and rarely even more often. Slow oxidizers must have protein with
each meal, in many cases.
This must continue for perhaps a number of years until the body can regain the ability to regulate blood sugar normally. Deeper correction also requires a complete development program, or one will not really get well. This program includes more about the diet, supplementary nutrients, plenty of rest and sleep, and the detoxification procedures. Several years or more are required to fully restore proper blood sugar regulation. For more, read Introduction To Development on this site.
Click here for a much longer article on Hypoglycemia.
NEGATIVE THINKING AND ANGER
who suffers from alcoholism or other addictions has come to some negative
conclusions about life. These
beliefs may be very subtle, but they permeate and affect one’s activities and
habits at many levels.
Any method to help reverse this negative conclusion about the meaning and importance of one’s life is helpful. Reading inspiring books can be helpful. Uplifting biographies are excellent for some. Becoming interested in positive spiritual thinking can be extremely good. For example, see the article on this website entitled, The World Is Perfect. Counseling helps some, while recreational activities, good friends, healthy relationship, and meaningful work help others.
health professionals use the term ‘dry-drunk’ to describe a group of symptoms
with which recovering alcoholics often contend. These are usually very
similar to the symptoms of hypoglycemia (because they are due to hypoglycemia
in many cases).
They include irritability, depression, aggressiveness, insomnia, fatigue, restlessness, confusion, desire to drink, and nervousness. They even occur at AA meetings where participants often consume sugary soda pop or coffee with sugar, and smoke cigarettes as well.
One cannot recover from hypoglycemia overnight. However, one can feel better in a few short weeks. A key is changing the diet to eliminate sweets and refined carbohydrates.
This means letting go or at least greatly limiting candy, cookies, ice cream and colas. Replace these with cooked, not raw vegetables, some animal protein daily, and perhaps some complex carbohydrates such as rice or dried beans. Some people also require more fats and oils in the diet.
Most people also feel better eliminating ALL wheat and most commercial dairy products, as these are common allergic foods. Also, stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine make the problem worse and should be minimized.
GENETIC OR CONGENITAL
Studies indicate there are differences in the way alcoholics process sugars. However, familial aspects of alcoholism are not always genetic.
of the familial connection is congenital. This means present at
birth, but not in the genes.
For example, if one’s mother is deficient in zinc due to alcoholism or
any other cause, her child will be born deficient in zinc. This is not a genetic defect, but
simply a nutritional imbalance passed on from mother to child.
Similarly, if the mother’s body contains excessive copper, lead or cadmium, these toxins are passed directly through the placenta to the child. The child will then exhibit symptoms related to these nutritional imbalances. Fortunately, many congenital imbalances can be corrected.
This may seem unusual, but the father’s nutritional condition and biochemical balance also affects the unborn child. This occurs in several ways. Some imbalances are passed on in the sperm cells, which form the basis for all of the fetuses’ body cells. In addition, just the presence of the father in the home affects an unborn child.
Also, children brought up in alcoholic homes may develop nutritional deficiencies at an early age simply because they are not fed properly. These symptoms may appear to be genetically caused. In fact, they are due to the environment in which the children live.
Congenital and environmentally-caused imbalances are often ignored because they often cannot be measured by standard blood tests. However, tissue mineral analysis can sometimes identify these imbalances in young children or even in infants, when they can be corrected before problems arise.
Genetic testing for alcoholism is a research area at this time (2014). However, be wary of genetic testing because it does not just test genetics of DNA. Doctors often do not tell you that it also reflects RNA metabolism and protein synthesis. The latter are controlled largely by nutrients and inhibited by toxic metals. For more on this topic, please read Genetic Testing on this site.
We suggest a complete development program to help overcome cravings for alcohol and the biochemical imbalances that lead to alcoholism. In addition to the standard program, if a hair analysis reveals a four lows pattern or fast oxidation, one needs to take 1 Megapan tablet daily to supply extra B complex vitamins.
Components of the development program include a healthful lifestyle (discussed below), a diet of mainly cooked vegetables to replenish many minerals in the body, about 8 nutritional supplements, and 4 or 5 detoxification procedures that are not required, but will speed progress a lot. Quality chiropractic therapy is also often helpful.
Each program is individualized based on the results of a hair tissue mineral test. This gives us vital information that is not found on blood tests to help set up and monitor the development program.
On this program, food allergies and yeast or candida problems go away on their own, without needing special diets or supplements for them. For more details, read Introduction To Development Programs.
We do not bother with glucose tolerance testing because:
1. Symptoms are often a better guide to the presence of hypoglycemia than the glucose tolerance test. (The test can be normal and one can still have serious hypoglycemia because the test only measures the blood, whereas the hypoglycemia can be at a cellular level.)
2. We assume that all alcoholics have abnormal blood sugar regulation. A complete development program will correct this, and this is all that is needed.
A HEALTHFUL LIFESTYLE
A healthful lifestyle can make a great difference in the outcome of alcohol-related disorders. This includes:
Rest And Sleep. Plenty of rest and sleep are of great
importance, in all cases. This is
needed to rebuild the body. Naps
are also excellent.
Also, go to bed by 8-9 PM. The hours before midnight are very important for sleeping. No amount of nutrition or other methods will overcome a lack of rest and sleep. Use natural sleep remedies rather than drugs, if needed.
Deep Breathing, Sunshine, Some Light
Exercise and Positive Thoughts And Emotions. These are also important lifestyle factors. Do not take on more problems than you
can easily handle.
Extra support. With alcohol-related health conditions, we always suggest counseling and joining a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous along with a development program for extra support.
A.A. AND NUTRITION
Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is an excellent organization founded by Mr. Bill Wilson in the mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, this organization does not teach excellent nutrition, and many people suffer as a result.
Many people do not know that Bill Wilson learned about the role of nutrition in alcoholism near the end of his life. His wife, Lois, wrote about it in a pamphlet entitled, The Vitamin B3 Therapy: A Third Communication to AA’s physicians. Unfortunately, this knowledge has not yet been incorporated into most A.A. groups. She wrote:
“Aldous Huxley, a great admirer of A.A., introduced Bill to two psychiatrists who were researching the biochemistry of alcoholism. He was convinced of the truth of their findings and realized he could again help his beloved alcoholics by telling them about the physical (nutritional) component of alcoholism.”
HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS AND ALCOHOL USE
We have not found a particular hair analysis indicator for alcohol craving. However, alcohol use will reduce calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium and this may be revealed on hair mineral tests.
The exact imbalances depends on which alcoholic beverages one ingests, and how much.
Spiritual defensive pattern. Unless alcoholism is very severe, it does not tend to cause a spiritual defensive pattern on a hair mineral analysis. This is unusual because using other drugs, such as marijuana, usually does cause the pattern, even in mild cases.
1. Crook, W., The Yeast Connection, Professional Books, Jackson, TN, 1983.
2. Larson, J.M., Seven Weeks to Sobriety, Ballantine/Wellspring, New York, 1997.
3. Milam, J, Under the Influence, Madrona Press, Seattle, 1981.
4. Phelps, J., The Hidden Addiction, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1986.
5. Williams, R., Prevention of Alcoholism Through Nutrition, Bantam Books, New York, 1981.
6. Wilson, L., Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis, 2010, 2014, or 2016 editions.