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Practical info for the smarter drinker

Dude, Where’s My B12? (Vitamin B12 Deficiency & Alcohol)

Consuming alcohol does lots of things to a body besides loosening it up and turning it into a dancing machine.

It acts as both a stimulant and depressant by shutting down some brain functions and revving up others, it increases reaction time and so increases the chance of error, and it impairs judgment and reduces inhibitions. In other words, it can put you on a pretty wild rollercoaster.

In addition, it also has an impact on your body’s ability to process and absorb certain essential nutrients, such as Vitamin B12. It’s important for all kinds of important stuff like red blood cell formation and neurological function, and a deficiency can have dangerous consequences including anemia, gastritis, intestinal damage and dementia.

That’s no good.

So, how do you know if you have a deficiency and how do you treat it if you do?

Doctors can administer a B12 test as well as a test for anemia, which is a common result of a B12 deficiency. Other signs can include peripheral neuropathy (tingling and numbness in the arms or legs), a sore tongue, nervousness, depression and memory problems.

A deficiency can be treated by consuming more foods that contain Vitamin B12; taking a simple B12 supplement; and drinking less alcohol. Drinking less alcohol will help restore the body’s ability to absorb B12, and eating foods rich in B12 or taking a B12 supplement will deliver more to the body.

So, if you’re feeling a little forgetful and your extremities are tingling, you may want to settle down to a surf and turf meal of snapper and calf’s liver, and wash it all down with a glass of water.


Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).


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