What’s the harm in enjoying an occasional cocktail? Or having a nice glass of wine with dinner? The research shows that for most of us, moderate alcohol intake poses no health hazards and offers a number of health benefits.
One serving of alcohol per day is the limit for women, however, if you’ve had breast cancer it’s probably best to limit it to one alcoholic beverage 1-2 times per week. Men should limit their intake to no more than 2 servings per day. The reality is that many people drink 2 or more servings of alcohol on a regular basis.
Indulging in that third glass of “heart healthy” red wine may put you at risk for depletion of:
Zinc helps protect us against upper respiratory infections, maintain a healthy blood sugar, repair our DNA and helps wounds heal. Zinc may also offer some protection against depression, a benefit which alcohol, a depressant, wipes right out. Common signs of zinc deficiency: mental fatigue, hair loss, and impotence in men.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Thiamine plays a vital role in your body’s energy production and the health of your brain and nervous system. Up to 80% of heavy drinkers have some degree of thiamine deficiency, as alcohol impairs its absorption in the intestine. This water soluble vitamin is poorly stored in the body and depletion can happen in just 2 weeks! Early signs of deficiency include loss of appetite, constipation, irritability, and depression.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the production of fuel and energy, and is critical for optimal function of our brain, nervous and immune systems. Thirty million Americans are deficient in this important vitamin and alcohol can contribute to low levels.
Folate (Vitamin B9)
Beyond supporting growth and development from infancy, folate is essential for maintaining healthy brain function. In addition, folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are important regulators of the metabolism of homocysteine, an amino acid in our blood. When blood levels of these B-vitamins are low, homocysteine rises, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke—the second leading cause of death in the world.
Vitamins A, D, E and K. Alcohol impairs fat absorption, which decreases the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. These nutrients are necessary for promoting the health of our eyes, brain, bones and ensuring appropriate blood clotting.
If you regularly drink alcohol, even if it’s usually in moderation, I suggest you take a daily multivitamin-mineral to protect against potential nutrient depletion.
Learn more about the nutrients you need in Dr. Low Dog’s latest book, Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More.
Thank you Dr. Low Dog for your presentations at the NM Dental Convention. You are so knowledgeable and fun to listen to. You talked about fragrances. Can natural oils be used safely?
Hi Cathy, you can safely use natural essential oils but remember to use them diluted when applied to the skin (1% essential oil and 99% carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed).
Thank you so much for this info
Dear Dr Low Dog
I just end wanted to tell you that I so enjoyed you at the SWDC. You are a wonderful speaker and motivator! I am fired up to live my best life after hearing you! I am 51 years old and hope it’s not to late to become the healthiest I can be.
Thanks so much for your kind note, Lori. You are 51 years young – never too late! Good luck!
Hi Dr Low Dog. I live in Hollywood FL. and am looking for a primary doctor who follows your approach in medical practice. Is there someone in the South Florida area who you can recommend?
Thanks for all you do.
Thanks for your note, Dennis. If you would like to find a physician in your area who practices integrative medicine, please go the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine website: http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/alumni.html There you can fill in the state and the city closest to where you live to find a physician who practices Integrative Medicine.
My name was Mary Kay years ago when you, Ellen, and I were pals in Cruces! I took my Brasilian name after finding birth mom. I moved to Santa Fe in 2010. Hope your a well!!
Thanks for your kind note, Laurete. Sending wellness your way, too!
What do you think is the most easily absorbed multi vitamin and most effective?
In “Fortify Your Life,” I mention that most vitamins and mineral supplements are best taken with food to aid their dissolution and absorption. If you are shopping around for multivitamins, I am very proud of the work I did in collaborating with MegaFood on a line of Multivitamins that are made from whole foods.