Think Before You Sip

Alcohol and vitamin deficiencies…

4 min readOct 28, 2021


Disclaimer: This information is only for educational purposes and should not be substituted or taken as medical advice. If you have questions or concerns, it’s always best to notify a doctor or other health care professional.

Photo by Espolòn Tequila on Unsplash

It’s a Friday night, and you’re drinking and hanging out with friends, but before you drink that extra glass of wine, you might want to think again. Regarding chronic alcohol consumption, there are a few vitamin deficiencies that you should be aware of. Need a reason not to take that extra drink? Or maybe you’re just curious? Well, here are two vitamin deficiencies that excessive or long-term alcohol drinkers may experience.

Vitamin B1 Deficiency

Vitamin B1, commonly known as thiamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin B1 is deeply involved in the metabolism of pyruvate. This allows for oxidation-decarboxylation reactions and the transfer of keto groups. In other words, thiamin is responsible for converting carbohydrates into energy in which your body can use. With the help of thiamin, we can contract our muscles. Every time we exercise and produce movement, we contract our muscles. In addition to this, thiamine plays a role in the maintenance of the myelin sheath. Myelin covers nerves that act as an insulator and rapidly transmit electrical impulses along with nerve cells. Therefore thiamin enables the conduction of nerve signals. As you can imagine, a deficiency in vitamin B1 would negatively impact essential brain functions — one being memory.

A significantly high portion of thiamin can be found in unrefined grains and cereals. Brown rice would contain more vitamin B1 when compared to white rice. Enzymes contained in common drinks such as coffee and tea and sushi and raw fish can destroy thiamin. Vitamin B1 is also easily destroyed by heat.

Alcohol consumption decreases thiamin levels. One deficiency manifestation of thiamine is Beri Beri, which can be further divided into Wet Beri Beri and Dry Beri Beri.

In Dry Beri Beri, you may have signs of neuropathy and polyneuritis. This may include muscle wasting, decreased reflexes, and decreased sensations. In Wet Beri Beri, you may develop cardiomegaly, which may give rise to edema, palpitations…




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